By DeAnn Winter – WISCONSIN CHRISTIAN NEWS
Jesse Boyd, his teenage daughter, Bethany and Eric Trent of North Carolina along with Carter Phillips of Missouri, are Christian missionaries who were assaulted in Madison County, Montana for carrying a cross and arrested for being Christians. They are all charged with “Felony Assault With A Weapon” and are being forced to stand trial for defending themselves with great restraint against an unprovoked attack and in complete accordance with Montana law.
Jesse is a Bible-believing, God-fearing man who loves his wife and three children. As a family, the Boyds have served the Lord for the past 20 years as Christian missionaries sent out by the local Baptist church in North Carolina. They have lived, traveled and labored in more than 40 countries, including some very remote and dangerous places like Nepal, India, Tibet, Bangladesh and Argentina in South America, as well they distributed Bibles in Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim areas without any violence or incident. In 2021, Jesse was led to pick up a cross and walk across the United States, from sea to shining sea, to pray for his country and encourage his fellow countrymen to humble themselves before God. Jesse’s teenage daughter Bethany, joined by another Bible-believing, God-fearing family man, Eric Trent who has served the Lord with his wife and small children in different places around the world since 2017, started out on March 1, 2021 walking with their cross and an American flag turned upside down to show the distress this nation is in (this writer’s husband is a Navy veteran and a flag is flown upside down to show something is in distress and our nation absolutely has been for numerous years) from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. At many points along the way, Jesse, Bethany and Eric were joined by other family members, fellow Christians and Bethany’s fiance (now her husband) Carter Phillips from Missouri.
On November 12, 2022, after 5,543 miles of walking across 17 states and 210 counties, #TheLongWalkUSA came to a grinding halt along a remote highway in Madison County, Montana. A complete stranger (it was determined after the incident, the name of the man is Brad Terrell) who saw the cross and flag pulled past them and began yelling and cussing that they were in his way and they needed to leave the public easement — even though he was able to access his driveway without them moving. He jumped out of his vehicle to confront Jesse, Josiah (Jesse’s 12-year-old son), Eric and Carter, screaming “We don’t want your kind around here” and “You people aren’t welcome in Montana,” while also using filthy language. Jesse replied to his outrage by telling him they were leaving and there was no need to use such language in front of children. The stranger yelled back, “I’ll show you,” and reached for something in his front seat and exited his vehicle very angrily. He charged the missionaries, including the 12-year-old child, as if to attack him.
Jesse simply did what any responsible father would do, who was in fear for his life and the lives around him: he drew his gun, a small two shot Derringer pistol which he carried on his hip for protection while walking in wild animal country and informed the attacker that they didn’t want any trouble, to get back into his truck and leave. The stranger stopped and seemed to calm down. In good faith, Jesse put the gun away when he determined Brad did not have a weapon in his hands. Brad then told Jesse “there’s probably a rifle on you right now and continued getting so close to his face he was spitting on Jesse as he screamed at him. Brad “chest bumped” Jesse as Jesse continued to try to reason with him as he had with many people along the highways and byways of this long walk.
But Brad attacked Jesse in the presence of his son and daughter, pinning him up against the team’s support vehicle, punching him in the face, breaking his sunglasses and tackling him to the ground. Jesse was repeatedly pummeled on the ground with his face buried in the snow as he fought back. Bethany, Eric and Carter acted frantically to pull the attacker off Jesse. Using great restraint, no discharge of the gun, no shots fired, they were eventually able to subdue their attacker.
As the missionary group searched for their keys to leave, two trucks pulled up, with individuals cussing at them and threatening to kill them if they didn’t leave. Once again they felt their lives were in danger, Jesse asked Carter for his small pistol and held it at his side, out of sight, until he was confident no one was coming to attack him again. He quickly put it away when he no longer feared for their safety.
Brad called 911 to report the incident and advise he did not need an ambulance, he just had a bloody nose and stated he was fine. As he walked away, he boasted to the group that he knew the county sheriff personally and would make sure that “you f&*@$n people go to jail!”
Jesse also called 911 as soon as he once again had cell reception to report he was attacked by some locals and had to draw his weapon while in fear for his and his children’s lives and he would wait on the side of the highway for a deputy to come.