Heartland missionary speaks on Haiti kidnappings
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A Heartland missionary that spent years in Haiti, shares his thoughts on the recent kidnappings of 17 missionaries, 16 Americans and 1 Canadian.
He shared what other missionaries can do to stay as safe as possible.
“Kidnapping has been going on Haiti for a very long time,” said Jeff Peters, Executive Director for La Croix United Methodist Church.
In reference to the 16 Americans and 1 Canadian held for $17 mill ransom in Haiti, the same place Peters lived for 2 years on missionary work.
“Safety was never a big concern but it’s one of those things where you have to be careful and you just need to be aware,” said Peters.
He said kidnapping by gangs in Haiti is not new.
Peters and the group he traveled with hired translators and traveled in big groups.
As for future missionaries he urges others to find people you trust.
“I think you have to go with the recommendations of people that you do know,” said Peters.
That includes the State Department and listening to experienced leaders like Former Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.
“It would be very unfortunate for the $17 million to be paid because that would only reinforce the gang and only finance further kidnappings,” said Lamothe.
Peters still encourages missionary groups but urges others to take the advice of locals and know the area you are in.
“If the area is known to be dangerous, if the area is known to have problems, if you have to go through there try to go in a large group, go there in daylight. Don’t go through at night or early in the morning but go when its busy and lots of people around,” said Peters.
The U.S. is currently working with the FBI in efforts to brings the 17 missionaries back home.
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