Buchanan Sold Her Belongings to Become Missionary

Jessica Buchanan was kidnapped three months ago in Somalia.

January 25, 2012, 11:49 AM

Jan. 25, 2012 — -- Jessica Buchanan, the woman rescued from Somalia bandits by U.S. special forces, is so dedicated to helping others that she sold all of her belongings to become a missionary in Somalia.

Buchanan, 32, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from Valley Forge University, a Christian college in Phoenixville, Pa., in 2007. She was a student teacher in Africa before graduating and her romance with the continent began.

"She fell in love with Africa," Rev. Don Meyer, dean of Valley Forge University told the Associated Press. "She could hardly talk about Africa without tears in her eyes."

Her home church, the York Cavalry Temple Assembly of God, put out a message during her captivity that combined her devotion and determination.

"Please pray for Jessica and her family. She is a former student at Valley Forge Christian college and she sold all she owned to become a missionary in Somalia. Pray for her safe keeping and safe return," the church said.

Buchanan's family also appears to be deeply devoted to their religion. In a statement of gratitude today to the SEALs, the State Department and President Obama, they said, "We knew that God would set our sister free."

Madeline Mathe, Buchanan's sister's mother-in-law, told ABC affiliate WSYR Buchanan is "a wonderful Christian girl."

Others attested to Buchanan's grit.

"She's up for a challenge, and it didn't surprise me that she would do something like this," John Hravatic, who worked as a teacher with Buchanan at the Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi, Kenya, told ABC News. He called Buchanan "adventurous" and vivacious."

Jessica Buchanan Is a Missionary Who Loves Africa

Buchanan started as a student teacher at Nairobi's Rosslyn Academy in 2007 because of "God's call on her life to teach overseas," according to her biography on the school's web site. She student taught first and sixth graders before being hired as a fourth grade teacher in 2008.

"She was an awesome teacher. Kids loved her," Hravatic said. "[The] kids are excited she is free."

Buchanan left the school in 2009. She moved to Hargeisa, Somalia with her Swedish husband, Erik Landemalm, who she met in Africa.

Landemalm did aid work for the Association of European Parliamentarians With Africa and served as a Project Officer in the group's Somalia office, according to its annual report.

Buchanan, 32, was kidnapped on Oct. 25, 2011, along with her Danish co-worker Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, in Galkayo, Somalia. The two worked together for the Danish Demining Group, a division of the Danish Regugee Council, Buchanan served as a regional education adviser, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Over the three months of her captivity, concern grew about Buchanan's deteriorating health, which was described as possibly "life-threatening" and a "window of opportunity for mission success" presented itself, according to Pentagon spokesperson George Little.

Meyer told ABC News he heard something was wrong with Buchanan's liver, but that she seems to be in good health now.

The two were rescued today by the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6, the same covert group that successfully carried out the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

Buchanan is doing "as well as you would expect given what she has gone through," a military official told ABC News.

Buchanan is currently at U.S. Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

According to her family, she will be reunited with her father in Italy.

ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Luis Martinez, and Erin McLaughlin contributed to this report

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