Hudson pastor held in Philippines addresses his congregation - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Hudson pastor held in Philippines addresses his congregation

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HUDSON, OH (WOIO) -

Services went on as scheduled at Christ Community Chapel in Hudson, but something was different this week.  The Rev. Joe Coffey spent most of his sermon asking for prayers for one the church's leaders.

Pastor Tom Randall was just hired by the church in September as Pastor at large.  He's being held in a jail in the Philippines where he's been doing missionary work for close to two decades.

Recently, while visiting his orphanage, he was accused of being involved in a human trafficking case - a claim that people like Rev. Coffey says just can't be true.

"Tom is one of the best people I know, most loving. I've been with him to the Philippines seven times, I've watched how he interacts with their culture, their people with the kids. It's unthinkable."

A cell phone message from Pastor Randall from inside the jail was played for everyone in the congregation to hear during Sunday services.

"I just want to say thank you for all of your prayers I've been hearing about. The first couple of days, I couldn't hear everything from the outside, and I was kind of starting to think, 'does anyone know that I'm here?'" said Randall.

Pastor Randall doesn't talk about the charges against him on his message.  Rev. Coffey has said Randall became involved in the human trafficking case when a staff member at his orphanage was falsely accused of kissing a young girl.  Coffey says he's hopeful Randall will be released.

"The Lord has given me a joy, and I feel like Jesus has wrapped his arms around me and kept me well," says Randall at the end of his cell phone message.

Pastor Randall is expected to have a court hearing this Wednesday.

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