Diaspora

Prayer vigil set to support West Michigan family kidnapped in Haiti – MLive.com

This Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021 photo shows the logo for Christian Aid Ministries in Berlin, Ohio, on a vehicle. A group of 17 missionaries including children has been kidnapped by a gang in Haiti. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar) APAP
HART, MI – A local prayer vigil is being organized in support of the 17 missionaries, including a family from West Michigan, who were kidnapped this weekend during a mission trip to Haiti.
Five of the kidnapped missionaries – one parent and four children – are from Oceana County and are members of Hart Dunkard Brethren Church. The missionary group was reportedly kidnapped on Saturday, Oct. 16, during a trip to an orphanage near Port-au-Prince.
Church leaders from the Hart area have planned a prayer vigil in support of those who were kidnapped at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 24, at Hart Commons park, 206 E Main St. in Hart, Mayor Vicki Platt told MLive.
“There will be prayers for all of the kidnapped victims,” Platt said in an email. “Everyone who would like to support this missionary group in prayer is welcome to attend.”
The mayor said the kidnapping incident has been devastating for the “family-oriented community” of Hart.
RELATED: West Michigan family, including four kids, among 17 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti
The local family has not been identified yet, but the youngest from the family is reportedly under age 10, Ron Marks, minister of Hart Dunkard Brethren, told The Detroit News.
The mission trip to Haiti was organized by Christian Aid Ministries, a Ohio-based nonprofit supported by Amish, Mennonite and other conservative Anabaptist groups, according to the group’s website.
Hart Dunkard Brethren Church did not sponsor the mission trip to Haiti, but Marks said it is common for members to go on mission trips with other groups like Christian Aid Ministries.
The group of missionaries reportedly arrived in Haiti earlier this month. Haitian police told The Associated Press that the abduction of the 16 Americans and one Canadian was carried out by the 400 Mawozo gang, a group with a long record of killings, kidnappings and extortion.
The gang is reportedly demanding a $1 million ransom per person, AP reported.
The group of kidnapped missionaries includes five children ranging from ages 8 months to 15 years, and adults ranging from 18 to 48, according to a statement from Christian Aid Ministries. The ministry group said it is holding a “special day of fasting and prayer” on Thursday, Oct. 21, in support of everyone involved in the kidnapping.
U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, released a statement on Monday that said his office is working with the State Department and Biden Administration to ensure the safe return of the missionaries.
“It’s a sad day for West Michigan,” Huizenga said in the prepared statement. “It appears that individuals from West Michigan have been kidnapped while serving on a mission trip in Haiti. I hope you will join me in praying for those who have been taken as well as those working to secure their safe release.”
The congressman said he will not provide further public comment until the situation is resolved, out of respect for the privacy and safety of everyone involved.
AP reported White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the FBI was “part of a coordinated U.S. government effort” to free the missionaries. The American Embassy in Port-au-Prince was coordinating with local officials and the hostages’ families.
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