By Marisa Orbele
January 3, 2022
The family were among 17 people abducted by the 400 Mawozo gang in October while in Haiti on a mission trip with Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.
Hart, Michigan, hosted a family of Christian missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti. A luncheon and prayer service was held Sunday afternoon for the family who attend Dunkard Brethren Church in Oceana County.
In October, members of the 400 Mawozo gang in Haiti abducted Cheryl Noecker her five children – Brandyn, Kasondra, Courtney, Sheldon and Cherilyn, aged 6 to 27 – along with 11 others after visiting an orphanage in Port-au -Prince on a mission trip with Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.
In an interview at Sunday’s event, Cheryl’s husband, Ray Noecker, said a negotiated ransom was paid on December 5 to free all the hostages, but a split within the gang led to the release of only three people, including his wife and youngest son. the next day. Ray said he did not know who paid the ransom or how much was given.
According to the church, Cheryl and Sheldon were released on December 6. The other four made a daring escape a few weeks later, walking for miles until they found help.
The Noecker family returned to West Michigan on Thursday after spending time with their family over the holidays. Ray said the family plans to rely on their faith to navigate the weeks and months ahead.
“We feel like God is in control of our lives and we want to do His will,” Ray said. “One of the things that reassured me when my family was in captivity was that I knew that God had called us and wanted us to be in Haiti. I originally intended to go doing discipleship teaching with Christian Aid Ministries teaching Haitian pastors I was supposed to do this for six weeks but was only able to do it for two I realized God had a greater purpose than my teaching, he had a job to do for my family.
Ray said it was his family’s first trip to Haiti, but they had previously served as missionaries in Kenya for seven years. Ray says he thinks the family will eventually return to service work, but for now they continue to adapt, while focusing on their faith.
“We live with a level of risk every day,” Noecker said. “Things can happen wherever we are. We also have to consider the needs of the world around us.”