We thank God that Phyllis Sortor, Free Methodist missionary to Nigeria, was safely released March 6, early evening Nigeria time, into the care of authorities and Free Methodist Church leaders. She had been abducted Feb. 23. We are deeply grateful to all who prayed for Sortor’s safe return.
Sortor, age 71, has devoted many years to the people of Africa, a land she deeply loves. Born to Free Methodist missionaries Victor and Susan Macy, she spent her childhood in Mozambique. After living many of her adult years in Seattle, Phyllis Sortor and her husband, Jim, relocated to Rwanda where they ministered for nearly six years. They returned to Africa in 2005, this time serving in Nigeria.
After Jim Sortor’s death in October 2008, Phyllis Sortor remained in Nigeria, where her main focus has been leadership development and International Child Care Ministries, the Free Methodist Church’s child sponsorship program. She has also been instrumental in establishing schools in Kogi State for the children of Fulani herdsmen and in instituting grazing projects as one solution to long-term conflicts between Nigerian farmers and Fulani herdsmen.
Phyllis Sortor was aware there were risks associated with her ministry, but also knew there are very few places in the world without risks and dangers. She recently said, “Heaven is for real! There is no guarantee in life; no safe place — other than that place we find ourselves when our full faith and trust is in God!”
As a matter of sound policy, and to help protect the many people who helped secure her freedom, we will have no comment concerning the efforts that were undertaken to secure her release.
Please continue to pray for Phyllis Sortor. Also pray for her family members who have been profoundly affected by this experience.
Phyllis Sortor released a statement March 23 through Free Methodist World Missions. Portions of the statement are reprinted below.
I’m writing from Seattle, Washington — well, happy and thanking God for His miraculous protection and rescue from the hands of the enemy.
Men meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, as evidenced in the renewed faith of thousands whose prayers have been answered, and in the testimony of God’s presence and power to many more thousands who have witnessed and will hear of what God can and will do to save His own.
I’m well and happy. I’m unharmed, both physically and mentally. Spiritually, I am stronger than before, having spent 12 days in the presence of Jesus. The time we spent together was very precious; He filled my mind and heart with hymns, psalms and assurances of His love and care, His power to save. And He saved me! I’m alive and I’m free! All glory be to God.
My plans for now are to rest up with family and friends here in Seattle. I’ll let you know of future plans when they are available!1