PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — An Ohio missionary group is asking for continued prayers one week after 17 members were kidnapped in Haiti.
Christian Aid Ministries said the missionaries were on their way home from building an orphanage when a gang took them hostage.
The gang is demanding a $1 million ransom per person.
The group seized includes five children aged from 8 months to 15 years, although authorities are not clear whether the ransom demand included them.
Christian Aid Ministries released the following statement on the kidnapping Saturday night:
"Today marks one week since our workers and loved ones were kidnapped in Haiti. This group is still being held hostage. It has been a week of many tears and thousands—if not millions—of prayers.
As the families of the hostages stated earlier this week, “God invites us to call upon His name in the day of trouble…We thank Him that He is God, and ask Him to hear our prayers and bring our families home.”
One father of a hostage shared about the kidnappers, “We are interested in the salvation of these men and we love them.” Another father said, “As a family we are giving forgiveness to these men. We are not holding anything against them.”
Though the past week has been difficult, the families are united in their desire to follow Jesus’ teaching of forgiveness. “As a group of Christians, our King [Jesus] said that He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” a family member shared. “That is our desire for the men who are part of the gang.”
Yesterday we invited people to share encouragement for the families of the hostages. As of this writing, we have received messages from Haiti, the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Eswatini, Nigeria, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Ukraine, Australia, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and other places. The families have found courage in your words of blessing, written prayers, and stories of God’s faithfulness. You can continue to send these to email@example.com. Family members appreciate knowing the state or country of the person writing.
One supporter wrote the following note to the families of the hostages: “I have a beautiful mind picture—that of thousands, likely millions of believers joining hands around the globe, their prayers ascending as a sweet incense to the Father of mercies. It matters not so much what denomination, or race, or culture...we are all joined in one common heart-rending plea...Lord, have mercy. Show yourself mighty and strong…We plead that all involved in this situation may remain faithful to the cause of Christ and that ultimately your most high name may be glorified. Amen.”
Many children are praying for the people who have been kidnapped. One three-year-old child prayed that “the naughty people would become good.” Another five-year-old child prayed that “the baby could have milk and the moms and dads and children could have food” and “that there would be an angel sent that could maybe help them.”
The Department of State said on Sunday that the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens is "the highest priority" and the U.S. government has sent additional personnel and resources to support the effort to rescue the hostages.
"Our Embassy team in Haiti is in frequent contact with the Haitian National Police, Christian Aid Ministries, and family members of the victims. We will continue to work with them, the Canadian government, and our interagency partners in this ongoing investigation," a spokesperson for the State Department said. "We will provide additional information as we are able, within the constraints of an active investigation and privacy considerations."