GOLDEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A prayer vigil was held Sunday for the Hart-area family captured by an armed gang in Haiti.

The local family, including a mother and several of her children, are among the 17 missionaries being held hostage in the Caribbean country. The father of the family was also on the mission trip but wasn’t abducted.

News 8 is not using the names of anyone in the family because the situation is ongoing and for security reasons.

Pastor Ron Marks of Hart Dunkard Brethren Church said he talked to the father over the phone on Saturday. He said the conversation was like one between a father and son, adding that he’s known the father since he was born.

“He’s very strong,” Marks said when asked about how the father is doing. “He’s probably feeling stronger than I am.”

A friend and fellow church member of the family talked about the devastating impact the kidnapping has had on the community.

“It’s been challenging. It’s been tough, we are good friends with them,” Jeremiah Johnson said. “They’re good people they’re very friendly they have a real love for people.”

Community leaders and people of all faiths attended the vigil, praying for the family’s safe return. Friends of the family were comforted by the show of support.

“The support of the community has been overwhelming,” Johnson said. “Whether it’s been at the hardware store or the auto parts store, people are asking how we are doing and that’s what’s been very helpful and encouraging to know that people are praying.”

City leaders who helped organize the event are hopeful their prayers will be heard. 

“Hopefully, it’ll make a difference in the kidnappers’ hearts, and they’ll release these people,” city of Hart Mayor Vicki Platt said.