Life after the Taliban for Christian aid workers Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry includes an agent, a book deal, press conferences, and autograph-seekers everywhere who want to take their pictures.
About 4,000 in Waco welcomed them back at a Saturday worship service at Baylor University's Ferrell Center. Each detailed their August 3 arrest by Taliban religion police for preaching Christianity, life in several Afghan prisons, the bombing of Kabul and U.S. Special Forces' liberation of them from the Afghan city of Ghazni. Curry asked the Baylor gathering to remember others still captive and led prayers for Philippines New Tribes Mission workers Martin and Gracia Burnham whom Islamic rebels took hostage in May. Mercer led a sinner's prayer.
Sunday the women spoke at their supporting church, Antioch Community, and sang songs they had written in prison. The women hope to release a recording of those and other songs that gave them strength while in jail.
Pastor Jimmy Siebert shared the church's plans to send a short-term team to Afghanistan in the spring. "I am praying for thousands and thousands to answer the call to the needy and oppressed," he said. "I think it will be a short window (of opportunity). Even as Heather and Dayna share, I am asking you to ask yourselves, what is my part to play?"
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Previous coverage of Mercer and Curry's release includes:
Weblog: Free at Last! | All 24 Shelter Now aid workers are going home. (Nov. 15, 2001)
Dayna Curry Will Celebrate Her 30th Birthday in a Taliban Prison | With trial indefinitely postponed, the future is murky for Shelter Now hostages. (Nov. 2, 2001)
Caught in the Crossfire | Family, churches press for release of American missionaries in Kabul. (Oct. 31, 2001)
In Perspective: The Friendliest Murderous Militants in the World | The Soviet Union, United States, and others helped create Afghanistan's ruling Taliban. Will the world's most Islamic state backfire? (August 30, 2001)
Aid Workers Held Captive | Taliban alleges housing group's staff engaged in evangelism. (August 30, 2001)
Diplomats Receive Visas Into Afghanistan, but Will Only Meet with Officials Over a week after raid on Shelter Germany, future for workers still unclear. (Aug. 13, 2001)