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Missionaries kidnapped in Haiti, local bishop calls for their release

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PAINESVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – Efforts to secure the release of more than a dozen missionaries held hostage in Haiti are escalating at the local, state and federal levels.

Christian Aid Ministries, based in the heart of Amish country in northeastern Ohio, has confirmed that 17 people linked to the organization, including 5 children, were kidnapped after leaving an orphanage outside of Port-au -Prince Saturday.

Officials on Tuesday confirmed that a notorious Haitian gang was demanding $ 17 million for their safe release, or $ 1 million per hostage.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown responded by saying his office is now working with the US State Department to help save the missionaries.

“Fortunately, our diplomats know how to handle situations like this with minimal violence,” Brown said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also addressed the ransom demands, saying the United States was not paying a ransom because it only encouraged more kidnappings.

“We know these groups target US citizens who they believe have the resources and finances to pay ransoms even if they don’t,” Psaki said.

While the FBI and other agencies are also coordinating their efforts, in Painseville, Bishop Gerard Mirbel of the Miracle Revival Ministry, originally from Haiti, also issued his own call to action.

“I ask all the bishops to unite in prayer, asking that these people be released as soon as possible,” said Bishop Mirbel.

The bishop says he owes his life to the missionaries he met as a child in the island nation.

This is also how he met his wife, Lady Bishop Jacqueline Mirbel.

Together, they have traveled to Haiti more than a dozen times on similar mission trips. They describe the current tragedy as extremely painful.

“It is unbearable at the moment,” said Bishop Mirbel. “I am a missionary product. Because of the missionary, I’m here in the ministry. Thanks to the missionary, I became a pastor, believer and bishop.

The couple hope the gang members realize they have nothing to gain and free the hostages without harming them.

“A million a piece. If they had that kind of money, they wouldn’t be in Haiti right now, ”added his wife, Lady Bishop Jacqueline Mirbel.

“They have nothing. They give everything, they give everything they have “, said Bishop Mirbel,” Free the people before it is too late. “