By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 29, 2021: It’s been 14 days already since 17 Christian missionaries were kidnapped by a gang in Haiti and authorities seem no closer to finding them.
Yesterday, Christian Aid Ministries, the organization with which they volunteered, and which has a tradition of helping the less fortunate in other countries that dates back 40 years, said members “continue to pray that God would protect the hostages and give them grace to respond with Christ-like love in the face of evil.”
The 12 adults and five children, including an 8-month-old, were kidnapped Oct. 16 near the capital of Port-au-Prince. Some of the kidnapped are reportedly from Wisconsin and Michigan as well as from Canada.
“We pray for the kidnappers, that God would soften their hearts and draw them to Himself,” the group said in a statement on its website. “Our prayers are also with the families as they wait day after day for the release of their loved ones. As we continue this difficult journey, we claim God’s promises and depend on Him to carry us through. “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).”
The organization began its work in 1981, distributing Christian literature to children in communist Romania. Its efforts later grew to other impoverished nations like Haiti, where 17 of the group’s missionaries, including children, were kidnapped by a gang and remain captive.
“This might shed some clarity on why our staff chose to move to Haiti, despite the apparent risks involved,” spokesman Weston Showalter told The Daily Record on Tuesday. “These workers, for the most part, were long-term staff members in Haiti and were not on a short-term mission trip … Most of them actually have been living in Haiti for some time.”
Nothing has been heard from the gang leader of the 400 Mawozo gang since his October 22nd video threatening to kill those abducted if demands seeking $1 million ransom per person, or USD 17 million, were not met.
U.S. officials have reiterated that the government issued a warning in August about the risk of kidnapping for ransom in Haiti. On Tuesday, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the situation will be a topic of conversation at the upcoming G20 meeting, adding that the U.S. and other countries need to step up and give Haiti the kind of investment and international aid it requires.
He said he personally gives U.S. President Joe Biden an update daily on the situation, noting that several law enforcement and hostage recovery specialists are working with the religious organization, the families of the victims and the Haitian government “to try to coordinate and organize a recovery.”
“We are looking at every possible option for how to go about doing that,” Sullivan said. “But these things operate and have operated in Haiti historically on different timetables, under different circumstances. And so we need to manage this situation as carefully as possible so that at the end of the day, we achieve our objective, which is the safe return of every single one of those (abducted).”
FBI tactical teams are in Port-au-Prince negotiating for the release of the missionaries.
However, while the 17 remain kidnapped, an elderly pastor who was kidnapped earlier this month by armed men dressed as Haitian National Police officers has reportedly been released. The 79-year-old pastor’s ransom had been paid, but then his captors refused to release him.
Pastor Jean Pierre Ferrer Michel, a founding member of the church Jesus Center, was abducted on Oct. 3 by the same 400 Mawozo gang. His release was announced Tuesday in a video posted on Facebook by his daughter.