Aid workers freed from Afghanistan jail return to Waco church
Sunday, December 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
WACO, Texas (AP) _ Two aid workers freed last month from an Afghanistan jail returned Saturday to their home church, thanking members who held nonstop prayer vigils during their 104-day imprisonment.
Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer, whom Taliban rulers accused of preaching Christianity in the devout Muslim nation, called themselves ``simple people'' used by God to show that prayers will be answered.
``I think this whole situation has brought people back to God,'' Curry said at a news conference at Antioch Community Church.
The women, who recently hired the Ambassador Agency in Nashville, Tenn., to represent their literary and film rights and speaking engagements, said they plan to write a book about their ordeal.
Mercer said Saturday they also want to take a vacation to process what's happened, then she wants to return to Afghanistan, despite her parents' opposition.
``My heart is in Afghanistan. My home is in Afghanistan,'' Mercer said. ``I belong there.''
Curry, 30, who was raised in Nashville, Tenn., was a social worker for Waco schools before going to Afghanistan in 1999. Mercer, 24, was a leader with Antioch Community Church's college ministry before going overseas in March.
They primarily worked for the German-based Shelter Now, which provides food, clothing and housing for street children.
After the women and other aid workers were jailed Aug. 3, Mercer said, she sometimes was immobilized by fear, especially after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Mercer said she was afraid that the Taliban would execute the pair and afraid a bomb would hit the jail. Curry said God gave them a ``supernatural peace'' that helped her believe the two would be freed unharmed.
That happened Nov. 14 when Northern alliance forces opened the jail doors and released Curry, Mercer and six other aid workers. All were whisked away by U.S. special forces helicopters.