Family members of the 17 missionaries abducted in Haiti earlier this month continue to hold out hope — and to grant incredible grace to the captors — as the potentially deadly situation stretches into its tenth day.
Christian Aid Ministries, the nonprofit organization with whom the missionaries are affiliated, said the days since the October 16 abduction have been filled with “many tears and thousands — if not millions — of prayers.”
Amid those prayers and emotions, the missionaries’ families have expressed an abundance of grace and forgiveness.
“We are interested in the salvation of these men and we love them,” one father of one of the hostages said in reference to the kidnappers who took his child.
Another parent added, “As a family we are giving forgiveness to these men. We are not holding anything against them.”
In the midst of those compassionate proclamations is a continued hope for the missionaries’ safety and survival. But as hopes for a safe return remain high, so do worries over the captors’ demand for $1 million ransom per missionary.
Police believe the 400 Mawozo gang is behind the abductions. The group, which started out as a collective of petty thieves, has become one of Haiti’s most feared and diabolical gangs.
Abductions aren’t new to these militants, as they allegedly captured nuns and priests in April and received a ransom before the religious leaders were released. Now, gang members have purportedly upped the ante on their diabolical antics.
A man identified as Wilson Joseph — believed to be the leader of the 400 Mawozo — was seen last week in a video circulating on social media during which he said the gang will kill the missionaries if the payment isn’t made.
“I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans,” he proclaimed.
These deadly threats add to the intense concern surrounding this ever-sensitive situation.
Weston Showalter, a spokesman for Christian Aid Ministries, addressed the press and shared letters on Thursday from the missionaries’ family members.
Showalter said the families involved are from Mennonite, Amish and other Anabaptist communities and that they are relying on one another as they navigate the intensely emotional scenario, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
“They continue to band together and support each other with prayers and encouragement during this difficult time,” he said. “It’s amazing how times of difficulty have a way of bringing people together.”
He also encouraged the public to pray for these families.
As CBN News previously reported, the missionary group — which includes five children, seven women, and five men — was taken from a vehicle on October 16 while visiting an orphanage.
Abductions in Haiti are reportedly on the increase this year, with 71 women and 30 children being held captive thus far, according to UNICEF. These numbers for the entirety of 2020 were 59 and 37, respectively.
Let’s continue to pray for these missionaries and their families.
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