C: Christian Aid Ministries

Christmas Miracle: 12 Christian Missionaries abducted by gang in Haiti escape 

Twelve hostages kidnapped by a Haitian gang have walked to freedom in a moonlit escape, according to Christian Aid Ministries. As reported by Gript, the hostages from the US and Canada were kidnapped back on 16 October by the 400 Mawozo gang, in an abduction that sent shockwaves around the world.

The gang initially demanded a $1 million ransom for each of the missionaries who were from the Ohio-based missionary group and had travelled to the afflicted country to help build an orphanage. Since the terrifying kidnap, Christian Aid Missionaries has implored people to pray for the safe return of hostages with daily prayer vigils being held by employees at the organisation over the last two months.

C: Letter from an 11-year-old girl in Alberta, Canada via Christian Aid Ministries


Last month, two of the members of the missionary group were freed. At the time of their release in late November, only limited information could be provided for safeguarding reasons but Christian Aid Ministries said that those released were reportedly “safe, in good spirits, and being cared for”. At the time, the organisation also encouraged people to “continue to pray for the full resolution of this situation […] Continue to lift up the remaining hostages before the Lord”. 

Two weeks later on 5 December, three more of the hostages were let go but concerns remained about what would happen to the remaining hostages.

Offering an insight into the astonishing escape which took place last week, officials from Christian Aid Ministries outlined the missionaries’ escape plot during a press conference yesterday. 

“The hostages were sensing God nudging them to attempt an escape,” said the ministry’s spokesman Weston Showalter. “Over the time of their captivity, God gave various hostages a desire to attempt an escape.”

“To attempt such a thing would be dangerous,” he continued. “They sought God over and over again seeking direction from Him.” They banded together and put their plans in God’s hands despite the danger, Showalter said.

“After much discussion and prayer, they became solidly united that God seemed to be leading them this way.” Showalter said they sought specific signs from God.

The group prepared for the escape attempt by putting on their shoes and packing water in their clothes. When the night of Wednesday, December 15 arrived, they were able to find a way to slip out of the room where they were being held by the gang despite the door being blocked.

“When they sensed the timing was right, they found a way to open the door that was closed and blocked, filed silently to the path that they had chosen to follow, and quickly left the place that they were held despite the fact that numerous guards were close by,” Showalter said.

With guards all around, the group got out quickly and headed towards a mountain they could see in the distance. They walked for hours through bushes and brambles, after which they eventually came upon a person who helped them to call for help as dawn approached.

“After a number of hours of walking, day began to dawn and they eventually found someone who helped to make a phone call for help,” Showalter told the press conference, his voice beginning to choke. “They were finally free.”

During the press conference, Christian Aid Ministries shared photos of the 17 missionaries who all survived the ordeal. The group, including 12 adults and five children, can be seen smiling in the images. Other photos capture a smiling 10-month-old and a three-year-old boy reading a book following the miraculous escape. Showalter, the spokesperson for the organisation, said the children appeared to have been well cared for by their captors.

Showalter said he had spent time with the group over the weekend following their escape, saying it was nice to see the children playing and reading books after the harrowing two-month-long ordeal, during which their captors had threatened to execute the group in chilling messages.

Despite the terror they endured, the group remained strong and relied on one another to keep their spirits up, praying and singing. Showalter commended their resilience, saying: “They are very resilient. They faced a lot. It hasn’t been easy.”

He said that their Christian faith and prayers had “carried them” during their captivity.

“Their faith – and the prayers of their loved ones and people around the world – carried them through the ordeal,” he said.

In a statement on their website, Christian Aid Ministries stated: “The hostages are free! Praise God for answered prayers. “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” – Jesus. John 8:36”.

The joy-filled statement read: “It is with great joy and deep thankfulness to God that I, David Troyer, General Director of Christian Aid Ministries, confirm the safe return of all 17 staff members of Christian Aid Ministries who were held hostage in Haiti by the 400 Mawozo gang. A U.S.-flagged plane left Haiti with the remaining freed hostages yesterday afternoon.”

The organisation also said that the missionaries are all doing “reasonably well”: “Everyone, including the 10-month-old baby, the 3-year-old boy, and the 6-year-old boy, seem to be doing reasonably well.”

 They thanked God, the families of the hostages, those worldwide who had prayed for their release, the US government, their supporters, staff members, and the news media for spreading the news of the kidnap which “in turn resulted in untold numbers of prayers to our great God by His people all over the world”.

In an address to the kidnappers, the organisation said that they were forgiven despite the immense suffering they had caused.

 “A word to the kidnappers: We do not know all of the challenges you face. We do believe that violence and oppression of others can never be justified. You caused our hostages and their families a lot of suffering. However, Jesus taught us by word and by His own example that the power of forgiving love is stronger than the hate of violent force. Therefore, we extend forgiveness to you,” the statement read.

Explaining why they were in  Haiti to begin with, Christian Aid Ministries said their volunteers knew the county was dangerous, but added: “we go to dangerous places in many parts of the world” because that is “usually where the biggest needs are”. They added that “If we’d only go where it is safe, we’d stay put in our own communities,” also stating that they do try to take proper security precautions.

The organisation added: “Again, we thank God and all involved in gaining the safe return of our friends. Thank you and God bless all of you!”

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