Church members on release of all U.S. missionaries: God is good

A sign stands outside the Christian Aid Ministries in Titanyen, Haiti, on October 22, 2021. - The leader of a Haitian gang who kidnapped a group of North Americans over the weekend has threatened to execute them, according to video seen by AFP. The footage shot October 20, 2021 but released Thursday on social media showed Wilson Joseph, wearing a suit and surrounded by armed men, in front of coffins containing the bodies of five members of his gang. (Photo by Ricardo ARDUENGO / AFP) (Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)

A sign stands outside the Christian Aid Ministries in Titanyen, Haiti, on October 22, 2021. (Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:07 PM PT – Friday, December 17, 2021

A group of Haitian kidnappers released the remaining hostages held captive for ransom money. On Thursday, Haitian Police and the Christian Aid Ministries both said all 17 missionaries that were being held hostage by the Haitian gang had now been freed.

Five missionaries had been released prior to Thursday, leaving 12 still captive.

“God is good. God has answered our prayers,” said Pastor Ron Marks of the Hart Dukard Brethren Church. “A great load has been lifted and we are ready for Christmas. Praise the Lord.”

Church members are rejoicing over the release.

Carlton Horst, a member of Hart Dunkard Brethren Church who knew several of those who were kidnapped, emphasized constant support and prayers from everyone helped lead to the release of the missionaries.

“Yes, we’re truly rejoicing that God has allowed the captives to be freed and we as a community have just come together over the past two months and just been praying together and receiving a lot of calls from around the world really, and also other community members,” said Horst.

Christian Aid Ministries said the 17 missionaries abducted on Oct. 16 included five children ranging from eight-months to 15-years-old. The 400 Mawozo Gang threatened to kill the hostages if they didn’t receive a $17 million ransom.

The 400 Mawozo, which loosely translates as the “400 Simpletons,” kidnapped the 16 American missionaries and one Canadian missionary while they were visiting an orphanage outside the capital Port Au Prince. The gang is responsible for a number of violent kidnappings and extortion plots throughout the impoverished nation over the last few years, including the kidnapping of five priests and two nuns earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Pastor Marks said although he can’t provide certain information concerning their release, he stressed they are in good health and above all, finally free.

“From what I gather, they were treated relatively well. I’m still waiting to hear the rest of their story,” said Marks. “I’m sure they weren’t treated supremely. Life in Haiti is hard, even at its best and I have not received any details. I’m assuming the last ones who had gained their freedom are doing relatively well. I think that if there had been any severe problems, any injuries or any illnesses that they had, we would have probably heard.”

It is unclear whether any ransom money was paid to the gang during hostage negotiations. Christian Aid Ministries said it hopes to provide more information soon.

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