Thursday, August 16, 2007

Korean Hostages of the Taliban -- Day 27

The wait continues.

I cannot imagine how the families of these dedicated Christians must feel. At some level it may be very much like the feeling one has when a child leaves home to be on his or her own. Mine has always been a prayer of thanks and a plea for safekeeping. My thanks are that they were in my care for the first season of their earthly life. During that time I did all I could to prepare them for the time when I was no longer able to keep them out of danger. When they leave home they are in the hands of God, His to use in whatever manner seems best to suit His divine plan. A sketch by Keirkegaard gives me comfort.

Eugene Cho's blog is the most timely source of information about this terrible situation. Today he links to two good articles.

For God’s sake, let those Koreans go, from Yemen Times...

This observer, along with millions of devout, faithful and sincere Moslems throughout the world, are somewhat puzzled and are often outraged by the tactics adopted by some of the self-declared Jihadists of the world. More than that, many knowledgeable Moslems are at a loss in finding jurisdictional, dogmatic and textual reference relied upon by the latter in Islamic literature, which reveal that such tactics emanate from or even fit in with conceptually. Furthermore, any true faithful Moslem would find many of the tactics employed by those who profess to be carrying the banner of Islam as actually being contrary to the interest of Islam or providing any hint of short-term or long-term support to any Islamic cause. In short, such tactics as senseless suicide bombings against non-Moslem civilians, not to mention the ones against members of the Islamic community, even if under sectarian pretexts; kidnappings of unarmed “foreigners”, who have entered Moslem countries legitimately or with good and peaceful intentions; hijackings of civilian aircraft, the projection of a crude or uncivilized image and the rejection of any Moslems, who may differ in the interpretation of dogma on minor secondary issues and matters of religious doctrine all tend to reflect a serious effort to corrupt the real civilized nature of Islam and to render it unattractive to any misinformed witness or observer in these modern times. When such actions emanate from misguided Moslems, who profess to work for the restoration of an “Islamic State”, which is actually viewed as having been a total failure, even if viewed outside of a Moslem context, is really problematic. Surely the failure of the Taliban regime could undoubtedly be attributed to its poor comprehension of the real essence of Islam as truly being a powerful social reform doctrine, with reason, logic and compatibility with human nature as essential elements of any application of Moslem dogma. On the other hand, any applications of Islamic dogma that fails to encompass, mercy, tolerance, respect for all people, who do not display any animosity towards Moslems is for all practical purposes absolutely incongruent with Islamic fundamental principles and render the followers of such incongruities as heretical to Moslem doctrine.

Much more at the link...

And from the Baptist Press...

Back home, families unite, pray for Korean hostages

"Those of us with sons are more anxious than those with daughters," Lee said, her voice breaking. "It seems that when the Taliban chooses to execute a hostage, they choose a man rather than a woman."

Throughout the three-week ordeal, Lee has spent many sleepless nights and has lost nearly 15 pounds. She and other family members of the remaining hostages meet daily in a small room set aside especially for them at Saemmul Presbyterian Church. Lee sits on the floor and leans against a wall, her knees covered with a quilt.

The atmosphere in the room is quiet and subdued. This day, the families have just learned that the release of two sick female hostages has been delayed yet again by their Taliban captors for unknown reasons. Some pray. Others read Scripture. Many watch the TV screen that has been installed to provide up-to-the-minute news. Thankfully, the two women, Ji Na Kim, 32, and Kyung Ja Kim, 37, were released to the Red Cross a few hours later. After a medical examination at a Korean air base near Kabul, the two are scheduled to return to Seoul as soon as possible.

Conversations with those close to the situation reveal that the team members were fully aware of the risk they faced. This was the second trip to Afghanistan for 39-year-old Jung Hwa Yu. Last year, she accompanied a group from Saemmul to Afghanistan to teach English. Her mother, Ok Kang Kwak, said, "Her heart was so touched by the needs she saw that she returned again this year."

Daniel Lee, senior pastor of the Global Mission Church, a Baptist congregation one hour south of Seoul in Suwon, is a good friend of Park. Lee recounted a sermon that Hyung Kyu Bae preached just two weeks before the group departed. "Dying for Christ is a glorious thing," Bae said. "Don't cry for me if I die in service to my Lord. Put on my tombstone, 'He died training young people to make a difference in the world.'"

"Where in the Bible," Daniel Lee asked, "does it say that we should not go to difficult places? We must be willing to share the love of God wherever He compels us to go."

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