Eight of the ten American volunteers detained in Haiti for the past three weeks on suspicion of child abduction were finally released and arrived in Miami early Thursday morning.
The Baptist volunteers, mostly from two Idaho churches, arrived at Miami International Airport on a U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo plane shortly after midnight. After they cleared U.S. Customs, at about 1:25 a.m., seven of the group members went into an elevator at Miami International Airport Hotel, according to The Miami Herald.
None of the volunteers spoke to reporters at the airport about their ordeal in Haiti. more >>
A Haitian judge on Wednesday freed eight American volunteers, who attempted to take children out of the country, and said they can leave the country immediately. Two, however, remain in jail.
The Americans were freed on bail but they will not be required to post bond to leave, a lawyer involved in the case told CNN. Authorities will continue to investigate the case after the church volunteers return to the United States.
In late January, a group of ten American Christians were arrested while trying to transport a bus with 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic. The group says it was taking the children to an orphanage in the neighboring country where the children would be cared for and educated. Members said they were motivated by love and concern for the children after a massive earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince. more >>
A former missionary to Haiti has launched a marketing company that will donate a large portion of its profits to help support worthy causes.
G5 Marketing, founded by former missionary Terry W. Bryant, stands for “Giving to 5 Worthy Causes” and plans to donate 40 to 45 percent of its profits to causes that help children, rescue teens, aid the elderly, support wounded veterans and care for the sick.
Bryant, who before becoming a missionary was the pastor of Sweetwater Fellowship Church in Huntsville, Ala., said he witnessed the effects of extreme poverty while serving in Haiti for six years. more >>
While the star-studded cast of “Valentine’s Day” was helping the romance flick snag the box office’s No. 1 spot with its $52.4 million debut, another star-studded crew released its highly anticipated project over the same weekend but with a different aim.
Two weeks after Christian music star Michael W. Smith gathered a who's-who list from the Christian and Country music communities to record "Come Together Now," the song was released on iTunes and Amazon for purchase along with the mission to support quake-devastated Haiti by having all proceeds from the song's sales benefit relief efforts there.
In total, over 100 artists were brought on board for the project, including Aaron Shust, Brandon Heath, Chris Sligh, Everlife, Francesca Battistelli, The Katinas, Mandisa, Mark Hall, Matthew West, Melinda Doolittle, Natalie Grant, Nicole C. Mullen, Phil Stacey, Point of Grace, PureNRG, Rachael Lampa, Steven Curtis Chapman, and TobyMac. more >>
The Dominican legal adviser to the ten American Baptist volunteers facing charges of child kidnapping in Haiti is himself wanted in El Salvador on charges of human trafficking and in the United States for human smuggling.
Jorge Torres Puello, who was hired by the families of the Americans for legal advice, is accused of operating an international sex trafficking ring using women and girls from the Caribbean and Central America. He allegedly lured girls by promising modeling contracts but instead made them work as prostitutes.
An international arrest warrant was issued Saturday for Puello on sex-trafficking charges. more >>
American charities have contributed more than $709 million to aid quake-stricken Haiti.
Some of the largest gifts from the U.S. came through the American Red Cross ($271 million), Catholic Relief Services ($37.3 million), the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund ($40 million), Doctors Without Borders ($43.5 million), U.S. Fund for UNICEF ($44.7 million), and World Vision ($24.7 million), the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported.
It's been one month since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake turned much of the Caribbean nation into rubble. Amid the chaos and grief, Haitians stopped on Friday to mourn the losses, including the deaths of more than 200,000 people. The nation observed a moment of silence at 4:53 p.m., the time the earthquake struck on Jan. 12. more >>