GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Members of a West Michigan family are among the 17 missionaries taken captive in Haiti.
The pastor at Hart Dunkard Brethren Church on N. 56th Avenue west of the city of Hart confirmed to News 8 the family members are part of his congregation. He said there are five family members: a parent and four children, the youngest of whom is not yet 10.
Hart Dunkard Brethren did not sponsor the mission and the pastor had not been in contact with the family since they left for Haiti. He said his congregation has prayed for their safe return.
The office of U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, did not provide News 8 with the names of anyone in the family.
“It’s a sad day for West Michigan. It appears that individuals from West Michigan have been kidnapped while serving on a mission trip in Haiti. My office is working in cooperation and consultation with the State Department and the Biden Administration to secure the safe return of the missionaries and their family members. I hope you will join me in praying for those who have been taken as well as those working to secure their safe release. Out of respect for the privacy and the safety of all involved, I will be limiting public comment until this very fluid and dangerous situation is resolved. ”Rep. Bill Huizenga
The 17 Christian missionaries were kidnapped Sunday by a gang called 400 Mawozo, which is known for kidnappings, extortion and killings, the Associated Press reports.
“We are entering the third day since seventeen of our workers were kidnapped by a gang in Haiti. The media has carried this situation across the globe. Civil authorities in Haiti and the United States are aware of what has happened and are offering assistance. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are in earnest prayer.
“We greatly appreciate the prayers of believers around the world, including our many Amish and Mennonite supporters. The Bible says, ‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much’ (James 5:16).
“Join us in prayer that God’s grace would sustain the men, women, and children who are being held hostage. In a world where violence and force are seen as the solution to problems, we believe in God’s call to Christians to ‘…not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21). Pray that those being held hostage could find strength to demonstrate God’s love. The kidnappers, like all people, are created in the image of God and can be changed if they turn to Him. While we desire the safe release of our workers, we also desire that the kidnappers be transformed by the love of Jesus, the only true source of peace, joy, and forgiveness.”Christian Aid Ministries, Oct. 18
The missionaries include 12 adults and five children. Most are American, but one is Canadian. They are from Christian Aid Ministries out of Ohio.
The AP says the U.S. government is working with authorities in Haiti to get the missionaries released.