Two missionaries are stunned after their bikes - and main mode of transport - were stolen while sharing their gospel during a teaching appointment.
Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Sister Matekeua and Sister Gibbons, both 19, were at an hour-long teaching appointment on Milton Rd in Napier earlier this week.
Their car, with the two bikes padlocked on to the back of it, was parked outside.
They got into the car to drop a friend home in Onekawa, not realising the two bikes had been taken.
"We realised they were gone when we came back home," Sister Matekeua said.
They did a lap of the hill area hoping they may be able to spot the thief.
"We called the police straight away."
The Sisters are currently on a biking mission. They are encouraged to either bike or walk everywhere and only have 1000km rationed each month for use of the car.
They bike or go on foot so they can easily stop and speak with people.
The two women are required to undertake their missionaries for 18 months, during which time they adopt the name of Sister.
Sister Matekeua, who is from further north, is six months into her mission.
Her companion, Sister Gibbons, who is from Idaho, in America, is just two months in.
Sister Gibbons said she had heard of many missionaries having their bikes tampered with and stolen but did not think it would happen to her.
Her bishop at home in America had offered to buy her a new bike, she said, but she would prefer the original to be returned.
"When I first heard my bike had been stolen I didn't think anything of it," but then she realised she would be on foot from now on. Despite the theft Sister Gibbons said she was enjoying Hawke's Bay.
She said she believed people could change and hoped those responsible for the theft would wake up to what they had done.
Napier resident Desiree Flynn, who is a member of the same church, made a public post on Facebook appealing to those who took the bikes to have a change of heart and return them.
"I wanted to help them recover their bikes because they are here in another country away from their families, they don't have their support, they're not working."
She said it was making their love of what they're doing, sharing the gospel, more difficult.
"These people need to realise that they've taken the bikes off people who really need them."
Ms Flynn urged the bike bandits to do the right thing and give the bicycles back.
"They're not out taking money off people - they're just sharing the gospel. It's just a little bit of a pickle."
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