The 24-hour prayer effort to save Haiti’s hostages


The conservative Anabaptist congregation meets at a rented fire station, and there was a church lunch that day. Members prayed for Haiti over a frog stew, a common meal of shared potatoes, sausage, shrimp and corn.

Mr Horst had pledged to pray during the time slot for three days, but on Monday he found himself unexpectedly busy at the agreed time. He prayed for 15 minutes, then asked his wife to cover the next 15 minutes, to make sure the whole half hour was covered.

Night has fallen and families at Fincastle Mennonite Church of 80 in Virginia begin.

Timothy Weaver, a 40-year-old bishop, thought about the couple he knew who ran a discipleship program with Christian Aid Ministries in Lesvos, Greece, and how as a teenager he went with the ministry in Jarrell, in Texas, to rebuild after a tornado. When Kenya has an election, it prays more fervently for the church missionaries there.

“We died for our faith, especially at the beginning,” he said. “So we are ready to do it, but we are certainly praying for life. We pray for deliverance.

The suffering also looks like a warning for the future, he said. “I believe the church will be confronted more and more with this sort of thing, and not just abroad,” he said. “We’re just going to face more and more oppression for what we believe.”

About 650 miles north in Milverton, Ont., Ezra Streicher, 73, has the same time slot as the Fincastle believers.

Mr Streicher and his wife, Marlene, were on their way to Zion Mennonite Fellowship when they learned about the crisis while listening to the radio. They don’t watch TV – more time to read, he said. For years they supported Christian Aid Ministries financially and for many winters they took a bus to Pennsylvania for a cannery mission project. They had heard that the kidnapped Canadian lived within 20 miles of their home.

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