KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — When a man in East Tennessee heard about the kidnapping of 17 missionaries in Haiti on Sunday, he immediately picked up the phone to call his own missionaries in Haiti and make sure they were safe.

Founder and President of Air Mobile Ministries Joe Hurston is no stranger to Haiti. Over the last 43 years, he has made several trips to the country in an effort to bring clean water and prayer.

“I go to Haiti like some people go to Walmart.”

In fact, Hurston was in Haiti just last August after the devastating earthquake the small country experienced. While he’s no stranger to the country, Hurston is also no stranger to the violence that can come when you’re a missionary in a foreign country.

“I too was attacked, robbed, beaten, attempted kidnapping and escaped. And I — it was a miracle that we were able to escape — but I have some ideas to what they’re going through.”

A family with Hurston’s nonprofit were in Haiti as of Sunday and when he called to check on them, he found out they were close to where the 17 missionaries went missing, but they were safe and accounted for.

Despite the dangers and the hardships, Hurston has plans to return to Haiti soon. But, like always, he plans to do so as safely as possible.

In the meantime, Hurston feels the best thing those at home can do for the missing missionaries, is to pray.

“And that’s why my prayer is that anyone watching this will just take a moment and pray and pray for these, that God will indeed set them free.”

Air Mobile Ministries is based out of Sneedville, Tenn. Their mission is to help disaster victims after hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and war.