prayer vigil
People gather for a vigil in Hart, Mich., on Oct. 24, 2021, to pray for the return of 17 missionaries who were kidnapped by a gang in Haiti. Among those taken were four children and a parent from Hart. (AP Photo/Anna Liz Nichols)

Michigan Believers Gather in Prayer Vigil for Kidnapped Haiti Missionaries

By Associated Press

More than 100 people gathered Sunday in a small Michigan town to pray for the safe release of a local family among 17 members of a missionary group kidnapped by a gang in Haiti more than a week ago.

The vigil in the western Michigan community of Hart took place after a video was released Thursday showing the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang threatening to kill those abducted if his demands are not met. Haitian officials have said the gang is seeking $1 million ransom per person.

Those at Sunday’s vigil in a town park sang and prayed with pastors from several area churches for the safety of the missionaries.

Among those kidnapped were four children and one of their parents from a family in Hart, a town near Lake Michigan about 200 miles northwest of Detroit, their pastor said. The youngest from the family is under 10, said minister Ron Marks, who did not identify them. They arrived in Haiti earlier this month, he said.

Linda Dodge of nearby Hesperia, Michigan, said Sunday that her church congregation was shocked by the kidnapping.

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“The best thing we could hope for is that this family will shine so bright for Jesus among their captors, that they will terrify the captors out of doing anything to them at all,” Dodge said. “That that love will shine through so much, that they are just afraid to touch them in any way.”

A spokesman for Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries has said the families of those kidnapped are from Amish, Mennonite and other conservative Anabaptist communities in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Ontario, Canada.

The FBI is helping Haitian authorities recover the 16 Americans and one Canadian. A Haitian human rights group said their Haitian driver also was kidnapped.

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2 thoughts on “Michigan Believers Gather in Prayer Vigil for Kidnapped Haiti Missionaries”

  1. There were only 100 from various churches who came to pray. Unless this WAS a small town and everyone came to pray. This tells me how serious a problem we have in America where Christians do not join to pray to change the spiritual side of events. Then we wonder why nothing happens for the good.

    1. I lived in Hart Michigan which is in Oceana County Michigan for 36 years; raised all my children there through their college years; Oceana County has 1 stoplight in the entire county. The population of Hart itself runs around 2000 or so. It is small rural and their exports are Christmas Trees, asparagus, apples, peaches, cherries and some plums. The community is close knit and the Mennonite/Anabaptist families that live in the community are quiet souls who live gently in the area. 100 people at that prayer service would represent approximately 5% of the Hart population; It should be known that there is a HIGH probability all the churches in Oceana County are praying for the family . The vigil/prayer service occurred in downtown Hart 2 blocks from the courthouse . The people of Oceana County are very kind, warm and neighborly. They feel these events deeply and are likely to continue to pray for the family when the press and spotlight on this tragedy fade. I am a C12 Colson Fellow and very blessed my children were born and raised in Oceana County. It has given them deep roots and sense of community anywhere they live in the world.

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