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Christian Aid Ministries shares Haiti kidnapping living conditions

Missionary group says most of the hostages will have been reunited with their families in their home communities.

BERLIN, Ohio — Leaders with Christian Aid Ministries, the group responsible for organizing the mission trip to Haiti in October, says the hostages have forgiven their captors.

The 17 people taken by the 400 Mawozo Gang have all been released, including five from Hart Dunkard Brethren Church in West Michigan.

David Troyer, General Director of Christian Aid Ministries, says while conditions were not ideal, the group's kidnappers did provide basic needs over the course of their captivity. 

“Everyone, including the 10-month-old baby, the 3-year-old boy, and the 6-year-old boy, seem to be doing reasonably well,” Troyer said.

Credit: Christian Aid Ministries
This 10-month-old baby who was taken captive appears to be in good health and spirits.

Adults were fed hard-boiled eggs, and sometimes small portions of corn mush for breakfast. For dinner, the hostages were often fed some assortment of rice and beans. This spread often left them hungry. 

They did have access to drinking water. At one location, the hostages only had fresh coconuts for sustenance.

On Thanksgiving, the kidnappers served the hostages a traditional Haitian stew. 

Christian Aid Ministries Public Relations Coordinator Weston Showalter said one of the hostages spent Thanksgiving day writing a letter to his family, as he didn't know if he would ever see them again.

Credit: Christian Aid Ministries
Christian Aid Ministries shares a photo of the 3-year-old taken hostage and then released from Haiti kidnappers.

The kidnappers provided large amounts of baby food for the children, Showalter said. He also indicated the sleeping situation was tight and uncomfortable. 

The hostages received basic hygiene items like toothbrushes and toilet paper, but numerous members of the group developed sores due to unclean bathing water. 

To spend the time, the hostages often sang songs, prayed and did devotionals.

Credit: Christian Aid Ministries
One of the hostages held captive in Haiti is reunited with his brothers.

The group was threatened on multiple occasions. 

"Although we are deeply relieved and rejoice greatly that the hostages are free at last, we realize their journey back to normal life has only begun. They and their families need your continued prayers, support, and encouragement," Troyer said.

By Tuesday, all of the missionaries who were taken captive in Haiti will be reunited with their families ahead of Christmas.

The Haitian gang had previously threatened harm to the hostages unless they paid the ransom. It was not immediately clear if any ransom was paid to secure their freedom. 

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