A 2001 graduate of Bethany Christian Schools was among six people kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo earlier this week.
“MJ was a delightful young man,” Jim Buller, the guidance counselor at Bethany Christian said. “Very bright, intelligent. Sometimes mischievous with his intelligence.”
Buller said serving in the Congo was in character for Sharp. “He wanted to do things that made a difference. So for him to go into Mennonite Mission Network and then eventually to end up in the Congo with United Nations...it was clear that he was passionate about serving the underserved.”
According to a statement from the Congolese government Sharp was kidnapped Monday along with a Swedish UN worker, three Congolese drivers, and a translator.
Sharp was in the country working to persuade militias to stop using child soldiers.
Buller said Sharp knew the work was dangerous but felt strongly about helping others.
“MJ knew there were inherent risks but would not have seen this particular day as a day that he went down that road knowing that he was going to be stopped. It’s a very dangerous and volatile situation and yet they are people that desperately need our help.”
Sharp went to college in Virginia before starting work in the Congo. His parents have moved out of the area and now live in Kansas.
The UN and authorities in the region have launched a search. No militia group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.