HAITI — All of the missionaries who had been kidnapped in Haiti have now been freed, Christian Aid Ministries announced Thursday.
Twelve hostages were still being held before Thursday.
“Join us in praising God that all 17 of our loved ones are now safe,” Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement. “Thank you for your fervent prayers throughout the past two months. We hope to provide more information as we are able.”
Pastor Ron Marks of Hart Dunkard Brethren Church
held a news conference over Zoom commemorating the missionaries' release:
The 17 missionaries were kidnapped back on Saturday, October 16, while returning from a visit to an orphanage in Haiti.
The group was made up of six men, six women and five children. One of those women, and her five children, are from Hart.
The kidnapping is believed to have been orchestrated by a gang called 400 Mawoso. The group was initially making requests of $1,000,000 ransom for each of the 17 people taken.
”I got a call early this morning around 9:00, and my first reaction was just being elated. It's been a tough couple of months,” explained Hart City Manager Rob Splane on Thursday afternoon.
“I think in this instance, there was a lot of frustration, because it's a community of action-type people, and in this case there really wasn’t a lot of action, other than some prayers and kind words.”
Congressman Bill Huizenga was able to speak to a relative of some of the missionaries from Hart after news of their release broke.
“I said, you know, 'How is everybody doing? Physically, emotionally, spiritually?' And he said, 'Physically... everybody's okay.' They're gonna have to do some healing, but he said, emotionally and spiritually... God's been good in this, and everybody in the family, and the rest of the hostages seem to be coming out, at least from his perspective, doing okay.”
Rep. Huizenga says a lot of behind-the-scenes work happened to make this possible.
“We tried to help out as best we could, you know, facilitated some paperwork for some family members, and those kinds of things... obviously it was kept quiet; they were trying to keep some of those details quiet.”
While almost no information is yet available regarding how negotiations happened, all of the missionaries are now safe and in the process of heading home to spend the holiday season with their families.