Breaking News: 17 Christian Aid Ministries Missionaries Kidnapped by Gang in Haiti

NOTE: I temporarily pulled a blog due to the ‘information link’ between Jeriah Mast’s crimes, CAM leadership’s knowledge and handling of those crimes, and the current tragic situation. This morning I searched online and found it that link had already been made by a much more powerful new source than my blog (Read here). I am therefore reposting my blog. That connection is inevitable due to how the case was handled, which drew far more attention and criticism than it would have if there has been a healthier response. I’ve seen criticism of people who bring that up now. While I understand that criticism when the JM case becomes the focus and the kidnapping victims are forgotten, it is pretentious to think people don’t remember. Both can be remembered at the same time. There is no need for denial. But there is a need to prioritize the victims of the kidnapping, first and foremost.

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Seventeen Christian Aid Ministries Missionaries have been kidnapped in Haiti, along with some children, by a gang. The News article contains very few details, as very little is known at this time.

17 Missionaries Kidnapped by Gang in Haiti

EDIT: Canadian citizen among 17 people kidnapped in Haiti, missionary group says

There is a request that people would pray for the gang members to repent. I would add that we pray that Christian aid ministries as an organization repents as well. (Forgive me… Why was there never a public request for people to pray that Jeriah Mast and those hiding his crimes would repent? Why is there only concern now when it isn’t “our people” committing the crimes?) It is always tragic when people pay the price for the sins of others. That is true in the case of this gang kidnapping. And it is true in the case of the victims of Jerish Mast. While I have no reason to believe that the missionaries were targeted because of Jeriah Mast’s crimes, spiritually I believe there is a very significant link.

Pray for those kidnapped. Especially the children. They should not have to pay for gang activities.

As always… Love, ~T~

In Loving Memory of my Brother, John Martens Harder


Saturday evening, August 29, 2020, two nieces, Sarah Hoover and Linda Vandervliet both contacted me to let me know their father, my brother John (aka: Johannes) was killed earlier in a hit and run accident, in Mexico. Loss is always hard, no matter the circumstances. But it is especially shocking to hear of a sudden death such as this.

Details of the accident as relayed by John’s wife, Marjorie:
Late morning, August 29, 2020, John and Marj Harder were traveling by van from Bucerias to Mezcales Mexico. Once out of the van they had to cross the highway to go to the Walmart mall. They noticed vehicles had stopped both ways, so John said, “let’s go now..”. They started to cross, and all of a sudden noticed a vehicle coming. John started to run and the car hit him head on and pushed him quite a ways down the highway. Marj was not injured but witnessed the crash. Police and ambulance arrived within 10-15 min. They said John was killed on impact.

John married Marj Penner September 4, 1999. At the time of their marriage, John had two daughters, Linda (Mike) Vandervliet and Sarah (Chris) Hoover, and Marj had one son, Aaron Penner (fiancee’ Alicia Szucs). Together they have one daughter, Tonya Harder.

We are thankful that Marj was not injured, and our hearts go out to her as she processes the trauma of witnessing John’s death, and goes through the grieving process. She and their daughter Tonya, who lived with them in Mexico, plan to fly home with John’s remains as soon as they are able to make arrangements to do so. Tonya’s passport is expired, so they need to get that renewed first. Please pray for them, that things come together and they remain strong.

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Loving husband to Marjorie (Penner) Harder, Father to Linda (Mike) Vandervliet, Sarah (Chris) Hoover, Aaron Penner (fiancee’ Alicia Szucs), and Tonya Harder, Grandfather to Nadia and Luke Vandervliet, Evelyn, Nolan, Alice and Stella Hoover, and Natalie Marie Penner. Brother to Mary (Abram) Schmidt, Peter (Nancy) Harder, Jacob (Susie) Harder, Henry Harder, Anna (Leonard) Hursh, Tina Harder, Margaret (Jim) Verwer, Nancy (Lloyd) Kuepfer, Wilhelm (Connie) Harder, Trudy (Tim) Metzger, Eva Harder, Martha Harder, David (Shannon) Harder, and Abe Harder, and sister-in-law Susan (the late Cornelius) Harder. Brother-in-law to Laura (Don) Larochelle, Florence (Gregg) Klassen, and Fred Penner. Uncle to many nieces and nephews.

John was predeceased by his parents Peter and Anna Harder, his step-mother Katharina Harder, brother Cornelius, one infant brother, and his parents-in-law, John and Martha Penner.

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Our family extends appreciation to John’s wife Marj for her loyal support and love for our brother throughout their marriage, and for caring for him after death. To witness such a horrific event so far from most of her family, and then tend to these matters takes great courage. Thanks to Tonya Harder for supporting her mom in Mexico in this difficult time, and each of their children in the capacity of support they were able to offer.

Aaron Penner set up a GoFundMe to help with expenses and for Marj and Tonya to get established upon their return to Canada. Should family and friends wish to donate, visit GoFundMe: Bringing Family Together.

A personal thanks to the many who have sent words of condolences to our family, and offered prayers on our behalf. Your kindness and encouragement are much appreciated.


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For those able to read Spanish, here is a news article on the accident: Conductor mata a peatón por Lago Real y huye del lugar. (WARNING: Semi-Graphic photo included in news article).  The following is my best attempt to translate to English. Anything I could not translate, I excluded. (I welcome corrections).

Being dragged at least 40 meters after being struck by a vehicle, a man died at the scene of the accident, while the person responsible fled the scene.

This accident occurred Saturday morning [August 29, 2020], on Highway 200 [...]. Police were called and verified the accident.

It was after ten o'clock in the morning of this Saturday [August 29, 2020], when Municipal Police received the report of the accident. After confirming the accident, they called for paramedics support.

When personnel from the Civil Protection and Firefighters of Bahía de Banderas arrived, they pronounced the man dead at the scene of the accident.

State Police and SEMEFO arrived at the scene to undertake the task of recording reports surrounding the event, and taking the body to rest.

The identity of the person is still unknown. It is only known that it is an older male.

Reported by: Lupillo Arce

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© Trudy Metzger 2020

Why was Linda Stoltzfoos’s black head covering a source of confusion? And are Wayfair & Amazon disguising sex trafficking in overpriced item sales?

AMISH PRACTICES OF BLACK COVERINGS & WHITE COVERINGS

Someone from PA, who lives near the community where Linda Stoltzfoos was kidnapped, asked if I would be interested in clearing up the confusion surrounding her black head covering on the afternoon of her kidnapping, when she was seen in the car of the kidnapper. My understanding of intricate Amish practices is limited. So instead of 
In some church districts in Lancaster the unmarried girls wear black coverings to church Sundays. And that is only when they go to their own church district. When the girl gets married she wears a black covering to the ceremony. After she is married she wears a white covering for the rest of the day. Other church districts do not practice this.

Linda’s district would practice this so she was walking home from church wearing a black covering. She was going to change out of her church clothes into a white covering for youth group. In the Gap area all Amish wear white coverings to church. That’s why it was so odd for bypasses to see Linda driving Sunday afternoon in a black covering. Especially in the Gap area where the young girls do not wear black coverings and even if she was from another area she would have changed to a white covering by the afternoon.”

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TRUSTING GOD IN UNKNOWNS

Over the years in ministry, I have learned that when something is meant to be, and it is God’s time, it will be. There’s no stopping the hand of God. There is also no forcing it. In my previous blog I shared how I’ve dreamed of having my memoir translated into Low German. I will always have a heart for my people — the Old Colony, later the Kleine Gemeinde, and the the conservative Mennonite groups — and when there is opportunity to serve them, I will do it. What God knows better than me, is what they are ready for, and what their needs are. So, while I pray for the funds to come together, and watch as the response is slow to none, I recognize that God knows what is best for them, in this season.

We will run the GoFundMe for a time, and see if things come together. If so, then I believe the time is right and the book will bring hope and encourage healing among survivors in the Low German culture. We ask you to consider sponsoring the project. If 300 people give $10, we have enough funds for the first phase. It isn’t about breaking the bank, to help with something like this.

Books don’t make a lot of money. I invested around $2000 in the initial editing of Between 2 Gods, and five years later the royalty checks have covered almost half of that. Unless you are a big name, books are ministry, not income. If you are able to support the cause, it would be much appreciated. If enough funds do not come in to move ahead, we will refund all GoFundMe contributions to donors. (Those who prefer PayPal will also be refunded in that case).

GOFUNDME (Canada): Translate Between 2 Gods to Plautdeutsch (Low German)

GOFUNDME USA: Translate Between 2 Gods to Low German

If you wish to give but prefer PayPal to GoFundMe, you May donate via: trudy.metzger@rogers.com.

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WAYFAIR & AMAZON SEX TRAFFICKING ALLEGATIONS

After people sent me links to allegations of sex trafficking by Wayfair and Amazon, I did some reading. I have to say that I believe it’s a theory, at best, at this point. The allegations are that they sell lines of product inspired by or named after ‘celebrities’ — for a lack of better word — like Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Epstein is the sex trafficker with a net worth of over 500 million at the time of his suicide while in prison awaiting trial, August 2019. Maxwell is one of his victims who later became his accomplice.

Wayfair carries a line of high priced (according to some, overpriced) furniture. (One example is Ghislaine solid wood dining table, and another the Epstein 6 – Light Pool Table Lights Square/Rectangle Pendant). Amazon allegedly carries (or carried) Epstein inspired merchandise as well.

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Would such a thing be possible? I’m sure it would. That said, naming a product line after a celebrity is common.  (And, yes, Ghishlane Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein have a certain ‘celebrity’ status, albeit a negative one. Celebrity merely means, “well known”). It is strange to have these two names in particular as product lines, given their connections to sex trafficking, and frankly I find it warped, but an assumption of trafficking based on that alone is weak. To my knowledge there has been zero victims. Zero strange activity reported. Zero reports of trafficking beyond these assumptions and speculations, started by someone who saw the names linked to overpriced items and produced a theory.

My concern about these theories being spread, as fact, without more to substantiate them is that it weakens the fight against trafficking and sexual violence. It makes advocacy look gullible (or undiscerning) and increases the likelihood that people will tune out legitimate cases with evidence.

This has been my biggest struggle and frustration in advocacy over the years, and it is not getting better. The assumption that all advocates should, if not must, jump on the bandwagon of assumptions, no matter what. This is not something I can do, or want to do. I am a firm believer in supporting victims of sexual violence, no matter what, and paying attention to credible allegations. Speculation that is based on assumptions and based on nothing more than speculation, do not fall in that category. If and when more evidence is produced, that changes, but at this stage I find it premature and irresponsible to pass on the allegations.

This should not be misinterpreted as me saying the allegations are not true. Simply that they should not be presented as fact until more evidence is available.

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PhD & COURSEWORK PROGRESS

I am days away from completing my final paper for the coursework portion of my PhD program. By mid August, it will be fully edited and submitted to my supervisor for review and grading. The next phase is to prepare for my first comprehensive exam, which is a 7 hour exam that will likely take place later this fall. While my short-term memory has made incredible progress, which was lost following a concussion August 2019 when I was rear-ended at 120 km/hr, and due to medication side effects in spring 2019, I still have some symptoms. This makes me a bit nervous, but thankfully University of Waterloo has been incredibly supportive and understanding in the recovering process.  Nonetheless, I welcome your prayers during this time.

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2020