Former Taliban Captives Tell How They Survived Imprisonment

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Prayer Helped Them Cope

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (ANS) -- Former Taliban prisoners Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry told more than 1,800 attendees at the 42nd annual Minnesota Prayer Breakfast how they coped with their three-month incarceration in an Afghan jail.

According to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper, for 90 days Mercer said she had the "fire of fear in my bones." She finally said to God, "Just let me die."

That's when she remembered the Bible verse in which Jesus says, "Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it."

She chose to trust in God, and that was her turning point. She said she knew if she just trusted in God that she would find all the emotional and spiritual freedom she needed to survive the physical hardships of being held by the Taliban.

Despite the Taliban law against proselytizing any faith other than Islam, the two women said it was easy to speak about their faith.

Curry said both of them had briefly visited Afghanistan in 1998 and felt drawn to return. "People would ask us, 'Why would you leave your great America to come here?' It was so natural to tell them about God's love for them," she said.

The women said the Taliban arrested them for meeting with a family and talking about Jesus. They said they assumed that someone had turned them in, although they didn't know why Taliban members were waiting for them when they came out of the family's home.

"They put us in prison with 30 Afghani women," Mercer said. "I mean, hello! We had an incredible opportunity to learn about their culture, to get to know them. We spent a lot of time praying for the freedom of the Afghani women. They are the most amazing people. Their spirits were not broken despite all they had gone through."

Curry said that when she prayed in prison, "I heard God tell me to trust. He said, 'I have such plans for your life.' "