HART, Mich. — The father of four Christian missionaries from West Michigan who were among 12 who escaped from kidnappers in Haiti said everyone was doing well and spending time together on Tuesday.
Two additional family members were also kidnapped, but released a few weeks ago.
The family lives in Hart and attends Hart Dunkard Brethren Church in Oceana County.
A church elder, Ron Marks, read a written statement on behalf of Ray Noecker. Ray’s wife, Cheryl, and five of their children were among 17 people kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gang in October while in Haiti for a mission trip with Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.
“My family is all together and in good health,” Ray said. “We are rejoicing together over the many ways that God answered the prayers of his people from all around the world.”
In addition to Cheryl, Hart Dunkard Brethren Church identified the six hostages from Michigan as Brandyn Noecker, 15, Kasondra Noecker, 14, Courtney Noecker, 18, Sheldon Noecker, 6, and Cherilyn Noecker, 27.
According to the church, Cheryl and Sheldon were released on December 6. The four others made a daring escape last week, walking for miles until they came across help.
In his statement, Ray said the family hoped to return to Michigan before the end of the year.
The church said Ray was in Haiti at the time, but was not with his family at the orphanage where the kidnapping happened.
“We truly believe that God provided the deliverance, the freedom for those who escaped, and we thank God for that,” said Carleton Horst, a church member. “There could’ve been many other ways that the escaped and released could’ve happened, but God is the one who truly provided it.”
To watch the full interview with Church Elder Ron Marks and Carleton Horst, click the videos below.