The conservative Anabaptist congregation meets in a rented fire station, and there was a luncheon at the church that day. Members prayed for Haiti over frogmore stew, a communal meal of shared potatoes, sausage, shrimp and corn.
Mr. Horst had committed to praying through the time slot for three days, but on Monday he found himself unexpectedly busy at the appointed time. He prayed for 15 minutes and then asked his wife to cover the next 15, to make sure the full half-hour was covered.
Night has fallen, and the families from the 80-person Fincastle Mennonite Church in Virginia begin.
Timothy Weaver, a 40-year-old bishop, thought of the couple he knew who led a discipleship program with Christian Aid Ministries in Lesbos, Greece, and how as a teenager he went with the ministry to Jarrell, Texas, to rebuild after a tornado. When Kenya has elections, he prays more fervently for the church’s missionaries there.
“We have died for our faith, particularly in the early days,” he said. “So we are willing to do that, but we certainly pray for life. We pray for deliverance.”
The suffering also feels like a warning about the future, he said. “I do believe the church will face more and more of this kind of thing, and not just abroad,” he said. “We are just going to face more and more oppression for what we believe.”
About 650 miles north, in Milverton, Ontario, Ezra Streicher, 73, has the same time slot as the believers in Fincastle.
Mr. Streicher and his wife, Marlene, were on their way to Zion Mennonite Fellowship Church when they found out about the crisis while listening to the radio. They do not watch television — more time to read, he said. For years they have supported Christian Aid Ministries financially, and for many winters took a bus to Pennsylvania for a mission project at a canning factory. They had heard that the one kidnapped Canadian lived within 20 miles of their home.
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