Missionaries kidnapped in Haiti are from non-profit based in northeast Ohio

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:53 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Hostage negotiations are underway in Haiti involving the FBI after 17 Christian missionaries were abducted there over the weekend, including five children.

Christian Aid Ministries is based in Millersburg.

They released a statement requesting “urgent prayer” for the group kidnapped while on a trip to visit an orphanage.

The non-profit has a wide international reach, helping people in more than 130 countries and territories worldwide.

But 19 Investigates found it also has a recent history of controversy.

Christian Aid Ministries, also known as CAM, was founded in 1981, according to its website.

“CAM strives to be a trustworthy and efficient channel for Amish, Mennonite, and other conservative Anabaptist groups and individuals to minister to physical and spiritual needs around the world,” the non-profit says on its website.

CAM has made a name for itself, providing international relief, from programs like Adopt-a-Family” to “Project Good Samaritan.”

19 Investigates found the non-profit is well-funded.

CAM reported more than $130 million in revenue in 2019, according to the group’s 2020 annual report.

Most of that revenue came from donations and cash contributions.

But 19 Investigates discovered a recent case left a stain on CAM’s reputation.

Charity Navigator, which evaluates non-profits, flags Christian Aid Ministries on its website, saying it’s “ineligible for a rating due to having a high concern advisory.”

In 2019, a ministry worker was sentenced to prison for sexually abusing two boys in Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch reported he was accused of similar abuse in Haiti, too, and two managers were placed on leave for allowing him to work even after his confession.

CAM released an update online to the allegations in 2020.

Officials said it settled the civil case out of court in Haiti, paying victims $420,000 in restitution.

The non-profit said the money came from cash reserves and did not impact its programs.

They said they hope victims experience healing.

The U.S. State Department recently issued a “do not travel” advisory for Haiti, citing “kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and Covid-19.”

Christian Aid Ministries released an update on the kidnapping on its website Monday afternoon:

We are entering the third day since seventeen of our workers were kidnapped by a gang in Haiti. The media has carried this situation across the globe. Civil authorities in Haiti and the United States are aware of what has happened and are offering assistance. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are in earnest prayer.

We greatly appreciate the prayers of believers around the world, including our many Amish and Mennonite supporters. The Bible says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

Join us in prayer that God’s grace would sustain the men, women, and children who are being held, hostage. In a world where violence and force are seen as the solution to problems, we believe in God’s call to Christians to “…not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Pray that those being held hostage could find strength to demonstrate God’s love. The kidnappers, like all people, are created in the image of God and can be changed if they turn to Him. While we desire the safe release of our workers, we also desire that the kidnappers be transformed by the love of Jesus, the only true source of peace, joy, and forgiveness.

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