Christian Aid Ministries is revealing the stunning details of how their missionaries finally escaped captivity in Haiti, and it sounds like something straight out of a movie.
The remaining group of 12 missionaries made a daring overnight escape last week, eluding their kidnappers and walking for miles over difficult, moonlit terrain with an infant and other children in tow.
The group used the stars as their guide to reach freedom after a two-month kidnapping ordeal, officials with the Ohio-based agency said Monday at a press conference.
"The hostages were sensing God nudging them to attempt an escape," said the ministry's spokesman Weston Showalter. "Over the time of their captivity, God gave various hostages a desire to attempt an escape."
"To attempt such a thing would be dangerous," he continued. "They sought God over and over again seeking direction from Him."
"After much discussion and prayer, they became solidly united that God seemed to be leading them this way." He said they sought specific signs from God, and He confirmed over and over that the timing wasn't right yet. Then, the night of Wednesday, December 15 arrived.
"When they sensed the timing was right, they found a way to open the door that was closed and blocked, filed silently to the path that they had chosen to follow, and quickly left the place that they were held despite the fact that numerous guards were close by," Showalter said. "In the distance, they could see a mountain feature that they had recognized and identified in the previous days. They identified this landmark before and they knew that this was the direction they needed to go. They also followed the sure guidance of the stars as they journeyed through the night, traveling toward safety."
“After a number of hours of walking, day began to dawn and they eventually found someone who helped to make a phone call for help,” he said, his voice beginning to choke. “They were finally free.”
The ministry had revealed on Thursday that the missionaries were finally free but it wasn't clear if they were freed by ransom since their captors had demanded $1 million for each of the 17 hostage missionaries.
All the members of the group are reportedly in good shape and are now back home with their families.
David Troyer, general director of the ministry, also gave a special message for the kidnappers, offering forgiveness from the ministry and salvation through Jesus Christ.
"We do not know all of the challenges you face. We do believe that violence and oppression of others can never be justified. You caused our hostages and their families a lot of suffering. However, Jesus taught us by word and by His own example that the power of forgiving love is stronger than the hate of violent force. Therefore, we extend forgiveness to you," Troyer said in a statement.
"The hostages told you plainly how you can also be forgiven by God, if you repent. Our desire is that you and all who hear or read this statement may come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Savior, the Son of God, and the Prince of Peace," the statement concluded.
As CBN News reported last week, Christian Aid Ministries announced the 12 remaining hostages were free but offered few details about their release.
The nightmare began on Oct. 16 when the 17 missionaries were kidnapped while traveling to a Haitian orphanage in Ganthier, in the Croix-des-Bouquets area. The group included 16 Americans and one Canadian. Among those abducted were five children, including an 8-month-old.
In November, the 400 Mawozo gang released two hostages, and then freed three more in early December.
Christian Aid Ministries offered thanks to the U.S. government for helping get their members safely home and offered thanks to everyone who upheld them in prayer. "We say THANK YOU to the multitudes of people worldwide who prayed, who cared, who wept with us, and who sent notes of encouragement to the families of the hostages. You cannot know how big a blessing you all were and are!"