There is renewed hope for families of the Christian missionaries who were kidnapped last month outside Port-au-Prince.
The U.S. government has been made privy to some sort of evidence (though they have not elaborated on what kind) that points to the likelihood that at least some of the 17 missionaries are still alive, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network.
The group, kidnapped in Haiti on Oct. 16, is associated with Christian Aid Ministries, which is based in Ohio and predominantly made up of Amish, Mennonite and other Anabaptist Christians.
The missionaries hailed from both the U.S. and Canada, and were on their way back from a trip to an orphanage when they were taken. Five of the 17 were children, aged 15, 14, 6, 3 and 8 months.
Authorities say the kidnapping was executed by the 400 Mawozo gang that is well known for killing, kidnapping and extortion, according to NPR.
The gang eventually made their conditions known: They asked for a ransom of $17 million for the return of the 17 missionaries.
“The demand was made to the country chief of the Christian Aid Ministries — they asked for $1 million per person,” Justice Minister Liszt Quitel told The New York Times.
“Often these gangs know these demands cannot be met and they will consider a counteroffer from the families, and the negotiations can take a couple of days sometimes, or a couple of weeks.”
Wilson Joseph, who is believed to be the leader of the gang, also issued a stern threat: “I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the state of their family and loved ones, the group is holding strong, remaining vigilant and asking for intercession.
“It is now the 24th day of this crisis, and our workers and loved ones are still being held hostage in Haiti,” CAM posted on its website.
“We, along with government authorities, continue to work hard to bring them home safely. This is our heartfelt desire, but we want to surrender to God’s plan and timing.
“The families of the hostages continue to face long days of waiting for news about their loved ones. The hostages no doubt face long days as well, wondering when they might be released.”
“Your prayers have been a lifeline of hope and encouragement for the families, for us at CAM, and no doubt for the hostages during the past several weeks. Keep praying!”
CAM continues to ask for prayer and has also requested encouraging messages for the families of those who have been kidnapped as they continue to wait with hope.
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