Frontlines of Ministry: Heather Mercer & Dayna Curry
- Friday, August 30, 2002
This month people everywhere will remember the events of September 11, 2001. Christians will join with the rest of the world in reflection and reverence as we grieve again and search for some meaning in the midst of the tragedy.
The search for meaning should remind us that the terrorist attacks of one year ago are only a part of a larger picture. The struggle between good and evil, between life and death, between God and Satan is bigger than even the global political, religious, and economic context.
We as believers are part of this struggle. We are in the battle every day wherever we live. Some of us, however, will find ourselves on occasion at the front lines of the battle. Such was the case for Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry one year ago.
Many are familiar with their story. The two were serving as missionary aid workers in Afghanistan until their arrest by the Taliban on Aug. 3, 2001. They were still imprisoned on September 11 and during the initial phase of the war against the Taliban in that country. They were finally rescued and released from prison on November 15 and subsequently returned to the United States.
Heather and Dayna’s story has pulled them into the media spotlight. In some cases, however, the “light” has left some questions. NBC’s “Dateline” ran the story June 11, 2002. Over the course of an hour, the reporter questioned Mercer and her pastor, Rev. Jimmy Siebert of Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, about why Mercer went to work as an evangelist in a country with strict laws against proselytizing. T he reporter further questioned their integrity by implying that the women were sent under false pretenses to get into the country, and also raised suspicions about the effectiveness of Curry and Mercer’s ministry by showing footage of the women’s Afghani home containing Christian literature that could have potentially put Afghanis in danger if caught with the religious material.
While the “Dateline” editors gave ample response time to Mercer and her pastor, their rebuttals to the reporter’s queries were disappointing. Certainly, they communicated a sincere desire to serve the Afghani people; but, to some, their ministry motivation was still unclear. Were they mindful of the culture and sensitive to the Taliban laws that would put the Afghanis in a precarious position, or did they just want to see results?
Revealing the Truth
What I discovered after talking to Mercer and Curry was another side of the story. According to Mercer and Curry, and contrary to popular opinion, most Afghani people love Americans.
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