By Mark Ellis
The son of missionaries in Honduras was kidnapped at gunpoint and ransom demands were made for his release. Within minutes, thousands were alerted through social media and began to pray.
Missionaries Allen and Trish Sowers have lived in Honduras since 2001, along with their six children, ranging from 12 to 23 years old. On August 12, as Trish and her youngest son, Ben, traveled down a road in Gracias, Honduras, they were accosted by two young men with handguns.
Both mom and son were abducted and taken to a remote area, but Trish was released. Then the kidnappers began to make ransom demands for Ben’s release.
“We negotiated for over 28 hours and varying amounts were demanded,” says Steve Beam, president of The Foundation, the interdenominational mission sending agency supporting the Sowers family.
But the kidnapper had no way of knowing an army of God’s prayer warriors had been released through the internet. “Through social media, within 12 hours there were over 100,000 people praying,” Beam notes. “After 20 hours there were over a quarter million praying. At the end, 300,000 people had logged in to our website and were praying around the globe.”
The negotiation – or lack of negotiation – was tense, because Beam flatly refused to pay a ransom. “We kept telling them we’re a mission organization, we don’t have any money, and we can’t pay a ransom,” he says. “As an agency, we can never negotiate or pay a ransom.”
“They kept lowering the price and finally came to the understanding we really are a mission organization,” Beam notes.
In response to prayer, God moved. “These two young men had a change of heart and finally released Ben and it was over,” he reports.
“They don’t often end this way,” Beam adds. “It was just an incredible move of God. We rejoice that Ben is back with his parents.”
Ben was released unharmed August 13th and taken to a local hospital for observation. He was dizzy and confused when released, and slightly bruised from his travel through the bush, according to Beam.
“God can use social media to activate His people around the globe to pray within a matter of minutes. I believe with all my heart that prayer was the important ingredient. To God be the glory absolutely!”