Christian Aid Ministries have released more details about the kidnapping of its 17 missionaries in Haiti by the 400 Mawozo gang.
In a statement, general director David Troyer confirmed a US plane left Haiti on Friday with the remaining 12 hostages and said that everyone "seemed to be doing reasonably well".
Five of the 17 had already been released earlier this month. The gang kidnapped the group in October who were returning from a visit to an orphanage that receives support from Christian Aid Ministries. The kidnappers demanded $1 million per person as ransom.
The pastor to the missionaries also revealed more details of the missionaries’ moment of kidnap and their time in captivity.
“They were kidnapped a short time after leaving an orphanage where they had verified aid received from Christian Aid Ministries.
“As they became aware of what was happening at the time of capture, the group began singing the chorus, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them,” based on Psalm 34:7. This song became a favourite of theirs, and they sang it many times throughout their days of captivity,” he continued.
He added that the 17 were kept together as a group and spent “many hours of each day praying, singing, and encouraging each other”.
“Unfortunately, they did not have a Bible, but they recited Bible verses by memory among themselves. They prayed for their captors and told them about God’s love and their need to repent,” he continued.
A message for the captors was also said: “You caused our hostages and their families a lot of suffering. However, Jesus taught us by word and by His own example that the power of forgiving love is stronger than the hate of violent force. Therefore, we extend forgiveness to you.
“The hostages told you plainly how you can also be forgiven by God, if you repent. Our desire is that you and all who hear or read this statement may come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Savior, the Son of God, and the Prince of Peace. Jesus died for all so that all can be saved.”
Troyer also expressed his "deepest" thanks to God, the family of the hostages and to everyone around the world who had been praying for the missionaries’ safe return home.
You can watch the full statement here.