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3 missionaries kidnapped in’93 focus of Jan. 31 day of prayer


SANFORD, Fla. (BP)–Three New Tribes Mission workers kidnapped from their homes in Panama on Jan. 31, 1993, will be the focus of a day of prayer Sunday, Jan. 31.
The missionaries, Dave Mankins, Mark Rich and Rick Tenenoff, were taken by guerrillas across the border into Colombia and have been missing ever since.
“NTM is calling for prayer that God would intervene in a way that will bring a positive end to this long and uncertain ordeal,” the evangelical missions agency stated on its Internet site, www.ntm.org.
New Tribes Mission refused to meet a $5 million demand for their release, but throughout ’93 dialog with the kidnappers continued until, mysteriously, the communications ended. Then, after two years of unrewarded efforts, NTM began to receive numerous reports, including actual sightings, indicating the missionaries were still alive.
Two separate reports within the last six months have been received indicating the three missionaries are alive, New Tribes Mission reported, noting one of the reports was from a guerrilla defector. NTM said it has investigated both reports and views them as credible and as consistent with similar reports received during the last 24 months indicating the missionaries remain alive.
The Associated Press in January 1999 has reported the release of three foreigners held hostage in Colombia, NTM noted. “These reports give renewed hope that kidnappers are becoming more sensitive about their image before the media, human rights groups and the international community,” the missions agency stated.
NTM noted recently-elected Colombian President Andres Pastrana, responding to appeals from the missionaries’ wives, has raised the issue of the NTM hostages in discussions with guerrilla leaders and has promised to continue to do so at every opportunity. Also officials within the Pastrana administration have recently made a public appeal for the release of all hostages, Colombian and foreign, NTM reported.
Congress also adopted a resolution last year affirming efforts for the missionaries’ release.
The missionaries’ wives, Nancy Mankins, Tania Rich and Patti Tenenoff, are scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Today” show Friday, Jan. 29, according to NTM’s Internet site.
The day of prayer has been noted in various media, including Focus on the Family’s weekly newsletter, The Pastor’s Weekly Briefing.
Suggestions from the missions agency for observing the day of prayer can be found on its Internet site.