“We’re praying for them:’ Tallahassee-based missionaries react to Haiti kidnappings

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 9:11 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The prevalence of kidnappings, crime and COVID-19 are why the U.S. State Department advises Americans not to travel to Haiti.

Still, mission trips to the country have not stopped.

Even as 17 American and Canadian missionaries were kidnapped in Haiti, that hasn’t discouraged local churches from future travel plans

Tom Fackender has been to Haiti for four different mission trips and said he’s well aware of the dangers of traveling to the country.

But in his mind, the impact of the work they’re doing outweighs the risks.

Even as kidnappings in Haiti have risen nearly 300% since July, Fackender says he and other members of Good Shepherd Catholic church plan to return to Haiti as early as this winter.

When the group last visited the country in February of 2020, they took extra safety precautions, opting to charter a plane rather than traveling by land within Haiti to avoid gang activity.

“You just have to do all you can to mitigate risk while you’re there,” Fackender said.

Steve Dow, a pastor at All Nations Church, said the kidnappings haven’t changed his mind about future mission trips either.

“It really doesn’t change my perspective,” Dow said. “It just makes you more aware and alert and trying to make sure when you go places that you will be safe.”

Although Dow hasn’t traveled to Haiti, he’s been on more than 60 mission trips over the last 25 years.

He said his thoughts are with the Americans and Canadians being held in Haiti.

“It’s a very tragic situation,” Dow said. “We’re praying for them, and just hoping and praying that there’ll be safe and be released very very soon.”

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