Religion Unplugged

Ransom demands and prayers: The kidnapping of a mission group in Haiti

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged

Editor’s note: Every Friday, “Weekend Plug-in” features analysis, fact checking and top headlines from the world of faith. Subscribe now to get this newsletter delivered straight to your inbox. Got feedback or ideas? Email Bobby Ross Jr. at

As a journalist who covers religion, I’ve been blessed to report firsthand from countries such as Israel, Mexico, Nicaragua and South Africa.

As a result, when violence and war flare in those places, the news doesn’t seem a million miles away. Instead, I envision real people and places.

The same is true of Haiti, where I reported on a well-drilling ministry in 2018. We took safety precautions, but I never felt unsafe as I traveled with a U.S. mission team in the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Three years later, circumstances have changed in that impoverished Caribbean nation, rocked in recent months by a presidential assassination and natural disasters.

The latest: a gang’s kidnapping of six men, six women and five children working with Christian Aid Ministries, a global missionary organization based in Millersburg, Ohio. A gang leader has threatened to kill the hostages if a ransom of $1 million per head is not paid.

Coverage of the mission group by the New York Times’ Ruth Graham and Elizabeth Dias resonates with me.

”Christian missionary workers typically labor in obscurity, running medical clinics, building wells and delivering Bibles without fanfare — until crisis erupts,” Graham and Dias write.

Here at, Michael Ray Smith talks to missions leaders about the surging number of kidnappings in Haiti, where gangs have gained control of roughly half the capital.

Read the full column.

This column appears in the online magazine Religion Unplugged.

%d bloggers like this: