American missionary kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria

A Seattle missionary has been kidnapped in Nigeria and the U.S. government is getting involved to help secure her release, the church she works for said Monday.

Church officials said Rev. Phyllis Sorter, of the First Free Methodist Church, was abducted Monday morning from the Hope Academy compound in Emiworo, Kogi State, according to KING 5.

“She was taken in front of her house by three guys with machine guns,” Richard Sorter, Rev. Sorter's stepson, told Q13 Fox outside of a prayer service Monday night.

“She is one of the most God-fearing people in the world and all she wants is for everybody to have a good life and to be happy — and equality,” Sorter added.

The kidnappers were wearing masks and "came into the school premises shooting sporadically to scare away people before taking [the hostage] away into the bush", Kogi state police spokesman Sola Collins Adebayo told AFP.

The stepson said Phyllis -- a graduate of Seattle Pacific University -- built schools in Nigeria and taught children there for nearly 15 years.

“The people that are doing this stuff, these guys have no backing — they’re just cowards,” Richard Sorter said.

First Free Methodist Church said in a statement Monday that it is “calling on the U.S. church to join together in prayer for Phyllis’ safety and speedy release.

“The U.S. Embassy has been notified, and the State Department and the FBI are working with local authorities to find and rescue her,” the statement added.

In one of Phyllis Sorter's last updates posted online, there was no sign of distress, reports.

"Just a little note to share the joy with you regarding the (long-awaited) opening of our brand-new (International Child Care Ministries) school in Enugu!" she wrote.