Wife of American missionary held hostage in Niger pleads with US to honor promise of help

Monday, November 22, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - The wife of Jeff Woodke, an American missionary who has been held hostage in Niger for five years, on Wednesday appealed to the US government to honor its promise to keep all options on the table in seeking her husband’s release, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. Making her appeal at a press conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Els Woodke also called on the international church for help to finance the rescue effort.

In her remarks to Wednesday’s National Press Club conference on Wednesday, Mrs. Woodke explained that her husband had gone to Niger to dig wells, build schools and organize grain banks, the Christian Post reports. Her husband, Mrs. Woodke added, is “dedicated to God, dedicated to his family and dedicated to doing work he felt God has called him to — minister to the nomads of Niger.”

Mrs. Woodke said she believes her husband was kidnapped by the West African affiliate of ISIS, and that he has been held captive by ISIS GS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the Greater Sahara) for most of his captivity, the Christian Post reports. “Some men drove to his house in the early evening in a small pick-up truck, got out, killed both of Jeff's guards and forced Jeff into the truck at gunpoint,” Mrs. Woodke explained. “Now more than 5 years later he remains hostage, held by jihadists somewhere in the Sahel.”

Mrs. Woodke went on to make a specific appeal to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “to honor the promise you made to me and to the families for other American hostages when you met with us,” that you would “not take any options off the table in Jeff’s case,” ICC reports.

Moreover, Mrs. Woodke appealed to the Church: “We are reaching out to my brothers and sisters in Christ … to help finance Jeff’s release. I am now asking for help from my brothers and sisters in Christ.”