Christian Aid Ministries called for more prayers for its 17 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti more than 30 days ago as officials declared Thursday another “special day of prayer and fasting.”
“This is the 33rd day since our workers were kidnapped in Haiti. Tomorrow (November 18) we plan to have another special day of prayer and fasting,” the Ohio-based international ministry announced in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“We invite believers around the world to join us in seeking God for His mighty hand to work. We request ongoing prayer for those being held, the families of the hostages, government officials who are assisting, and the kidnappers themselves. ‘Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite,’” the statement ended, quoting from Psalm 147:5.
The call for continued prayers comes a week after the U.S. State Department urged Americans to “depart Haiti now” before not even the government is able to help them leave as widespread fuel shortages triggered by growing violence in the Caribbean nation continued while the 17 missionaries, which include 16 Americans and one Canadian, were still being held hostage by the 400 Mawozo gang which is demanding a $17 million ransom for their release.
“The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to make plans to depart Haiti now via commercial means. U.S. citizens should carefully consider the risks of traveling to or remaining in Haiti in light of the current security situation and infrastructure challenges,” a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti said Wednesday.
Leader of the G9 Family and Allies federation of nine gangs that control parts of Port-au-Prince, Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, recently lifted blockades of fuel terminals in the Caribbean nation after causing fuel shortages which forced hospitals, businesses and schools to limit operations, Al Jazeera, the Qatari-government run news outlet, reported.
“The doors of the Varreux plant are wide open so that the trucks can get their supplies without fear,” Cherizier said in the report. Hospitals, schools, universities, embassies must reopen and be able to supply themselves without any problem.”
An unnamed official told Reuters earlier this month that the U.S. government had seen proof that at least some of the missionaries are still alive, but very little has been said publicly about any rescue efforts since then.
Since the kidnapping of the missionaries, Wilson Joseph, leader of the 400 Mawozo gang, has threatened to “put a bullet in their heads” if his $17 million ransom demand for their release isn’t met.
“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,” he said in a video that has been circulating on social media.
The missionaries who were kidnapped on Oct. 16 while they were working with Christian Aid Ministries include six men, six women and five children. They range in age from an 8-month-old baby to a 48 year old.
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan previously said President Joe Biden continues to be briefed daily about the kidnapping of the missionaries and noted that he was particularly concerned about the five children in the group.
“I personally give an update on this issue every single day to the president, who is taking a deep interest in making sure we get every single one of those people home safely,” Sullivan said.