A missionary organisation whose personnel have been imprisoned in an horrific conflict zone are appealing for Christians across the world to pray and fast for their safe release.
An American and two South Africans who were trying to reach people in Mozambique on behalf of a partner of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), were arrested and unlawfully detained 104 days ago.
American pilot Ryan Koher, 31, and South African NGO workers Willem du Plessis, 77, and Eric Day, 69, are being held on charges of insurrection and helping terrorism, which MAF strongly contests. Last week Koher’s bail was denied.
MAF called on its partners and supporters across the globe to take part in a 24 hour period of prayer and fasting for the men’s swift and safe release.
Dave Fyock, MAF International’s CEO, explained how the men, who were transporting aid for orphans in the country which is being devastated by violent rebel forces, were the first of MAF’s partner missionaries he knew of to be held for this long.
He said: “It’s almost incomprehensible because we have made this same flight many times and this time as some of those medical supplies were going through the airport the authorities got a little bit interested in them and decided they were going for illicit purposes.”
The US government, and a lawyer are working towards his release but Koher’s wife Annabel and young children have been flown back to their US missionary base for protection.
Koher has been seen twice by MAF personnel and appears to be in good health and “doing well spiritually”, Fyock said.
However MAF’s fear is that the Mozambique prosecutor could ask for two more months of investigative time before charges are brought.
Fyock said that even if people do not fast from food, he would encourage them to fast from using their mobile phone or watching television for 24 hours. “Something that says ‘I’m taking things that I do day to day and I’m going to set them aside in order to concentrate on who our God is and bring the requests to His throne room for Ryan, for Annabel and for their two small boys’,” he said.