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12 missionary captives staged 'daring escape' from dangerous Haitian gang, praised God for the amazing 'miracle'

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Last week, news spread rapidly about a group of Christian missionary captives in Haiti who had been miraculously freed by their gang member captors. But on Monday, news broke that the group of 12 had actually won their freedom by staging a "daring escape," silently evading guards and traveling under the cover of darkness through gang-controlled territory, relying on nothing but moonlight — and persistent prayer.

For two months, the Christian Aid Ministries missionaries had been held hostage by members of the 400 Mawozo gang, kidnapped while traveling home from Ganthier, Haiti, where they had been building an orphanage. But determined not to die in captivity, the group hatched a fearless escape plan.

What are the details?

“Over the time of their captivity, God gave various hostages a desire to attempt an escape, but it took them a while to all agree on when or how this should take place. To attempt such a thing would be dangerous! They sought God in prayer over and over again, seeking direction from Him,” a spokesman for the missions group, Weston Showalter, revealed during a press conference Monday, according to the Christian Post.

“It took time and God’s work, but after much discussion and prayer, they became solidly united and decided God was leading them this way," Showalter continued.

The spokesman noted that the group — which included a 10-month-old baby, a 3-year-old child, a 14-year-old girl, and a 15-year-old boy, in addition to eight adults — waited for the exact right moment before launching their escape plan.

“On several occasions, they planned to escape, but they had decided if specific things didn’t happen, they would accept that as God’s direction to wait," he continued, adding that “twice when they planned to escape, God gave clear signs that this was not the right time."

"On both occasions, on the very minute they had discussed, the exact thing took place they had requested as a sign. God was at work, but the timing was not right," he said.

Finally, on the night of Dec. 15, the group decided it was time to go. They put on their shoes, packed pouches of water in their clothes, and stacked their mattresses in a corner in preparation for the escape.

“When they sensed the timing was right, they found a way to open the door that was closed and blocked, filed silently to the path they had chosen to follow, and quickly left the place they were held, despite the fact that numerous guards were close by," Showalter said.

Once they left the hostage camp, the group reportedly trekked for 10 long miles under moonlight toward a mountain landmark. Nearly the entire way was covered by thick woods, and the group constantly feared that gang members might find them.

"One of the hostages said, ‘Two hours were through fierce brambles. We were in gang territory the whole hike,’” Showalter noted. “The moon provided light for their path. During times they weren’t sure which way to go, they stopped and prayed, asking God to show them.”

Eventually, the group encountered someone who helped them make a phone call. Hours later, they were on a U.S. Coast Guard flight to safety in Florida.

What else?

The missionaries were not physically harmed during captivity, the Associated Press reported. Their greatest difficulties came in the form of heat, mosquitoes, and contaminated water. Some developed sores and several battled illnesses, though upon escape, all were found in good health.

Prior to the miraculous escape, five other members of the group had been released by the 400 Mawozo gang, all of whom were classified as sick adults. The group in its entirety consisted of 16 Americans and one Canadian.

The purpose of their detainment appears to have been the demand for ransom payments. According to CNN, the gang initially demanded $1 million per hostage.

In a statement to the Christian Post, the missions group's general director, David Troyer, acknowledged that his organization intends to improve security protocols in light of the hostage situation. The group were reportedly traveling by bus when gang members intercepted them.

“We appreciate the desire of our staff to minister, even in dangerous places. However, this event has given us a heightened awareness of the need to strengthen our safety protocols and better instruct our people about the dangers involved,” Troyer said.

Haitian hostages describe daring escape to freedom l GMA www.youtube.com

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