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WA Salvos major dies after Malawi bashing

AAP logoAAP 22/09/2016 Greg Roberts

A Perth Salvation Army major bashed to death in Malawi has been remembered as a man who believed his life's purpose was to help the world's most disadvantaged people.Geoff Freind, a 59-year-old grandfather, died on Wednesday night from injuries suffered when he was attacked while out walking in the evening in the southeast African nation.He was in Malawi to help train Christian pastors as part of a preaching tour in several African countries.Details about what happened are still unclear.Malawi is one of Africa's least economically developed countries with a population estimated at about 68 per cent Christian and 25 per cent Muslim.Major Freind died in a hospital in Johannesburg in South Africa in the presence of his wife Lyn and four sons who had rushed there.Distraught family members, including his elderly father Allan and three sisters and their partners, wept while talking to reporters on Thursday at the Salvation Army church in suburban Morley that he used to run."Yesterday was probably the worst day of our lives. There was a lot of hugging and a lot of tears," his brother-in-law Peter Walker said."He was the most enthusiastic person, absolutely passionate, he believed he could do anything and God could do anything."People told him he couldn't write a book so he wrote a book, he wrote a great book then he wrote more."A fourth book was currently with the printers, he said, with all four containing stories of "encouragement and hope" often sent to him from around the world over 34 years with the Salvation Army.From establishing a school in Sierra Leone with his wife to making friends with lonely men in Perth pubs, Major Freind was certain of his purpose in life, Mr Walker said."Geoff was passionate about sharing the gospel, he strongly believed that was what God wanted from him and he risked his life doing it, as we now know," he said.Divisional commander Neil Venables said Major Freind represented the essence of the Salvation Army and was a strong advocated for the disadvantaged in the community."He wanted everyone to know life in its fullness in the best that it could be," he said.

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