Geiser, 65, and his wife, Gladys, reside in Kabul where he worked as an independent businessman. Gladys teaches in an Afghan school. They have two adult children and one grandchild living in the United States.
The Geisers belong to the Kidron Mennonite Church in Kidron. The news has shocked and saddened the community.
“Al Geiser was a follower of Jesus and felt a call to work in Afghanistan and serve and love the people there,” said Carl Wiebe, pastor of the Kidron Mennonite Church.
Geiser and his wife went to Afghanistan before it was a country receiving so much public and military awareness. The Geisers, according to a statement from the family, responded to a call on their lives in February 2000 to go to Afghanistan with “a joy and a purpose” and have grown to love the people and have considered their Afghan friends as family. They were there to help in a “practical way” by helping to provide sustainable energy in micro hydro-electric.
They were aware of and accepted the risks involved with the work they were doing. The Geisers did their work for peace and lived an exemplified lifestyle of Christian service. Both have served internationally, nationally and locally for many years.
In accordance to Geiser’s wish and that of his family, he will be buried in Afghanistan in a Christian cemetery following a Christian service. The family is planning to hold a memorial service in Kidron at a later date.
The family is still in the process of finding out details of the shooting, many of which are not yet known. According to a report from Mennonite World Review, the Associated Press reported a killing of an American that “fits the circumstances of Geiser’s death,” and that the killing occurred in northern Parwan Province. A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, reportedly took responsibility for the killing.
In 2008, Geiser spent 56 days in captivity in Afghanistan. He reportedly spent most of his time in prayer and thinking while lying blindfolded and living in a jumble of rocks high in the mountains. Geiser and his Afghan business partner were stopped by armed men August 20, 2008 after attending a funeral of a brother of a friend. Both men were moved from place to place before the Afghan businessman was released. Geiser would be held until rescued by U.S. Special Forces.
According to a report from Mennonite World Review, Nov. 10, 2008, the Geisers returned home to speak of the kidnapping and rescue at their church with family and friends. Geiser was quoted as saying, “I’ve faced death and that’s OK. It’s the unknown and the waiting that’s hard.”
Published: July 25, 2012