Prayers Answered as 17 Kidnapped Missionaries Including a Baby Returned Safely from Haiti

CAM Release: It is with great joy and deep thankfulness to God that I, David Troyer, General Director of Christian Aid Ministries, confirm the safe return of all 17 staff members of Christian Aid Ministries who were held hostage in Haiti by the 400 Mawozo gang. A U.S.-flagged plane left Haiti with the remaining freed hostages yesterday afternoon.

Everyone, including the 10-month-old baby, the 3-year-old boy, and the 6-year-old boy, seem to be doing reasonably well.

On behalf of the hostages and all of us at Christian Aid Ministries, we express our deepest thanks to the following:

  • First, we thank Almighty God, who so wonderfully answered our prayers! As it is written in the Bible, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Revelation 4:11 NKJV).
  • We thank the families of the hostages, who were so gracious, patient, and easy to work with during this very difficult time in their lives. Their trust in God was remarkable and a challenge to all of us.
  • 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!
  • We thank the U.S. government and all others who assisted in the safe return of our hostages. Thank you for understanding our desire to pursue non-violent approaches.
  • We thank the news media. You were courteous, patient, and understanding of the fact that we could not share much information during this ordeal. You spread the news of this difficult situation far and wide, which in turn resulted in untold numbers of prayers to our great God by His people all over the world!
  • Here is a message to the Haitian people. We say thank you to the many people of Haiti who have expressed their regret for this incident and offered their prayers and words of encouragement to us. While this time has been very difficult for all involved, Christian Aid Ministries desires to continue to walk with you in the future as best we can. You have resiliently responded to crisis after crisis, and our sincere hope is that your country will flourish both economically and spiritually.
  • To our supporters: YOU make our work in Haiti and in many other countries possible. By the grace of God, and with your generous support, we desire that together we may continue to “be the hands and feet of Jesus,” to help care for the widows and the orphans, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to minister to the sick, and to bring the glorious message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as we can.  Thank you for all your prayers, your patience, and your words of comfort during the past 60 difficult days.
  • To all staff members and associates of Christian Aid Ministries: THANK YOU for standing with us, and for your many words of encouragement and kind deeds during this trying time. Thank you for continuing to faithfully carry out your duties and responsibilities during these days of high stress.

A word to the kidnappers: 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. 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. Jesus died for all so that all can be saved.

What were the former hostages doing in a country like Haiti? Christian Aid Ministries operates various programs in Haiti that minister to physical and spiritual needs. We have been on the ground in Haiti for 30 years. These people (the former hostages and our other staff) were there to:

  • Enable thousands of poor children, often in remote parts of Haiti, to go to school.
  • Provide help and hope to widows, the elderly, and the handicapped.
  • Deliver medicines for the sick and nutritional products for malnourished children all over the country.
  • Provide teaching for pastors.
  • Supply Bibles, Bible story books, and other Christian literature.
  • Oversee the rebuilding of homes destroyed or damaged by the recent earthquake.
  • Organize our “work-for-wages” program, which includes projects such as building roads and installing water systems. (These projects give unemployed people an opportunity to do meaningful work to support their families, while at the same time providing crucial infrastructure to needy communities.)

Didn’t these people know it is dangerous in Haiti? Yes, they knew that, but we go to dangerous places in many parts of the world. Why? Because that is usually where the biggest needs are. That’s what Christian Aid Ministries has been doing for decades. If we’d go only where it is safe, we’d stay put in our own communities.

We do, though, try to take proper security precautions. We appreciate the desire of our staff to minister, even in dangerous places. However, this event has given us a heightened awareness of the need to strengthen our safety protocols and better instruct our people about the dangers involved.

And now a few words about the hostages’ experiences that we know at this point:

They were kidnapped a short time after leaving an orphanage where they had verified aid received from Christian Aid Ministries. They had an enjoyable time playing with the children there.

As they became aware of what was happening at the time of capture, the group began singing the chorus, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them,” based on Psalm 34:7. This song became a favorite of theirs, and they sang it many times throughout their days of captivity.

The hostages were able to spend their captivity together as a group. They spent many hours of each day praying, singing, and encouraging each other. Unfortunately, they did not have a Bible, but they recited Bible verses by memory among themselves. They prayed for their captors and told them about God’s love and their need to repent.

Although we are deeply relieved and rejoice greatly that the hostages are free at last, we realize their journey back to normal life has only begun. They and their families need your continued prayers, support, and encouragement.

We respectfully ask the news media, well-meaning friends and acquaintances, and all others to please allow the freed hostages and their families the space and privacy they need as they recover from their two-month ordeal and resume their lives.

We plan to hold a press conference at the headquarters of Christian Aid Ministries in Berlin, Ohio, at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 20, at which time we hope to share more information with you.

Again, we thank God and all involved in gaining the safe return of our friends. Thank you and God bless all of you!

David N. Troyer, General Director

Christian Aid Ministries