We thank God Phyllis Sortor, Free Methodist missionary to Nigeria, was safely released today, Friday, March 6, early evening Nigeria time, into the care of authorities and Free Methodist Church leaders. She had been abducted February 23. We are deeply grateful to all who prayed for Phyllis’ safe return.
Phyllis, age 71, has devoted many years to the people of Africa, a land she deeply loves. She spent her childhood in Mozambique, born to Free Methodist missionaries Victor and Susan Macy. After living many of her adult years in Seattle, WA, Phyllis and her husband, Jim, relocated to Rwanda where they ministered for nearly six years. Phyllis and Jim returned to Africa in 2005, this time serving in Nigeria. After Jim’s death in October 2008, Phyllis 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 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, many people who helped secure Phyllis’ freedom, we will have no comment concerning the efforts that were undertaken to secure her release.
Please continue to pray for Phyllis as she processes the ordeal she has faced. Also pray for Phyllis’ family members who have been profoundly affected by this experience. We are reaching out to them and will continue to minister to them in the days ahead.
David W. Kendall, for the Board of Bishops