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Missionaries react to Haitian kidnapping case with prayer, possible solutions

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 11:41 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Missionaries in Mississippi, heartbroken over Americans kidnapped in Haiti, are holding onto hope the group of missionaries will be released.

The leader of the 400 Mawozo gang that police say is holding 17 members of a kidnapped missionary group is seen in a video released Thursday saying he will kill them if he doesn’t get what he’s demanding.

“It’s heartbreaking.”

Former missionary Abby Winstead spent two years in Haiti before the pandemic hit but left because of upheaval.

“I left because of these gangs. Two years later, and it’s steadily increasing, and it’s heartbreaking.”

She works with But God Ministries, a local nonprofit that builds sustainable communities worldwide, and it has a strong presence in Haiti.

Stan Buckley, founder and executive director of the organization, describes the tone from the group’s Haitian friends.

“We talked with our Haitian Employees and friends daily, and what they tell us there is a lot of people out who are nervous, a lot of people who are scared, and there are people who don’t want to travel,” he said.

Phil Reed of New Horizon Church also traveled to Haiti right before the pandemic.

“The kidnappings have been going on for a couple of years now, and they are getting worse,” Reed said. “I talked to one of my sources last night, and they said the gangs are getting better equipped, better weapons, so somebody is behind it.”

Reed believes it’s going to take new leadership and political structure, and stability to curb crime and stop gang activity.

“That is one way our country can help is along with the aid that we provide, help to make the country stable politically,” Reed added.

Buckley and Winstead also believe support and prayers are needed, but their ministries will not abandon Haiti.

“We weren’t called to do this to help the healthy, wealthy, and comfortable. We are there to help those who are hurting, and we are there to help those who are suffering,” Buckley said.

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