COLUMBUS (WCMH) – One month after being kidnapped, 17 missionaries from central Ohio are still be held hostage in Haiti.
The hostages are part of Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.
One missionary who recently traveled to the island nation has returned, saying he took a lot of precautions before traveling and didn’t run into any problems.
Rick Alford, president of Destiny Village, did cut his trip short a few days just to be safe, and is continuing to worry about the hostages every day.
“I’ve been to Haiti over 200 times and this was one of the worst times as far as the overall environment of the country,” he said.
Haiti is a special place for Alford. He’s been going there for more than two decades on mission trips, serving as president for the Potter’s House Church of God’s orphanage – Destiny Village – in Haiti.
Alford’s latest trip was for the wedding of someone he saw grow up in the orphanage.
“I would not have missed that,” he said.
While completely unrelated, Alford’s trip came just days after 17 missionaries were kidnapped. He said he traveled with armed guards, which he usually does on trips, and left two days before originally planned.
“We’re very cautious about where we go and how we get to where we go and we never take the same road twice,” Alford said.
Now he’s hoping and praying for the release of the hostages – six men, six women, and five children.
“It was a level 4 when they traveled there; level 4 is do not travel,” Alford said. “So they understood the risk involved. But you have women and children and babies, the United States government needs to do something to help.”
The FBI is working to get the missionaries released, but Ohio State Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus said more needs to be done, introducing a resolution in the statehouse urging leaders in Washington to get the hostages freed.
“I am urging them to act, do whatever is necessary to bring these missionaries home,” Stoltzfus (R-50th) said.
An update posted Monday on the Christian Aid Ministries website said management and government officials are working diligently to bring the hostages home.