Kayla Mueller: ‘Even in prison, one can be free’

20150215T040402Z_1_LYNXMPEB1E01E_RTROPTP_4_CNEWSUSMIDEASTCRISISHOSTAGEFriends and colleagues of Kayla Mueller, the aid worker who died while a captive of militants of the Islamic State group in Syria, remembered her on Saturday as someone who was trying to give back in gratitude for a life of freedom.

About 150 people gathered for a candlelight vigil in Mueller’s honour Saturday evening at the United Christian Ministry at Northern Arizona University in a tearful and joyous celebration of her life.

“She was in a volatile part of the world because she knew there were things that needed to be addressed there,” said Peggy Sheldon-Scurlock, who met Mueller at the New Day Peace Centre in Flagstaff, a non-profit peace organisation. “She was all about action.”

Mueller, 26, was confirmed to have died under circumstances that remain unclear about 18 months after she was abducted while leaving a hospital in northern Syria.

In Flagstaff on Saturday, the Rev. Kathleen Day, head of the United Christian Ministry at Northern Arizona University, said Mueller wanted to help people and she felt a responsibility to maximize the privileges she had as a resident of the United States.

“When she saw what was happening in Syria, that situation was so overwhelming, it was just crushing,” Day said. “For her, it was a calling.”

Her friend Emily Waldron said Mueller was humble and unselfish.

“Even though there’s this cause that she lost her life in that’s so big, I think it is important to know that she did little acts of kindness every single day,” Waldron said.

Last Wednesday, a day after Mueller was reported dead, the family of Kayla Mueller has confirmed that the 26-year-old aid worker held hostage by Isis since August 2013, has been killed.

Along with a statement in which they confirmed that she had died, the family released a letter from Kayla which her family said was written in the spring of 2014.

“Everyone, If you are receiving this letter it means I am still detained but my cell mates (starting from 11/2/2014) have been released.

I have asked them to contact you + send you this letter. It’s hard to know what to say. Please know that I am in a safe location, completely unharmed + healthy (put on weight in fact); I have been treated w/ the utmost respect + kindness.

I wanted to write you all a well thought out letter (but I didn’t know if my cell mates would be leaving in the coming days or the coming months restricting my time but primarily) I could only but write the letter a paragraph at a time, just the thought of you all sends me into a fit of tears.

If you could say I have “suffered” at all throughout this whole experience it is only in knowing how much suffering I have put you all through; I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve forgiveness.

I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else … + by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall.

I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it.

I pray each each day that if nothing else, you have felt a certain closeness + surrender to God as well + have formed a bond of love + support amongst one another … I miss you all as if it has been a decade of forced separation.

I have had many a long hour to think, to think of all the things I will do w/ Lex, our first family camping trip, the first meeting @ the airport. I have had many hours to think how only in your absence have I finally @ 25 years old come to realize your place in my life.

The gift that is each one of you + the person I could + could not be if you were not a part of my life, my family, my support.

I DO NOT want the negotiations for my release to be your duty, if there is any other option take it, even if it takes more time. This should never have become your burden.

I have asked these women to support you; please seek their advice. If you have not done so already, [REDACTED] can contact [REDACTED] who may have a certain level of experience with these people.

None of us could have known it would be this long but know I am also fighting from my side in the ways I am able + I have a lot of fight left inside of me.

I am not breaking down + I will not give in no matter how long it takes. I wrote a song some months ago that says, “The part of me that pains the most also gets me out of bed, w/out your hope there would be nothing left …”

aka-The thought of your pain is the source of my own, simultaneously the hope of our reunion is the source of my strength.

Please be patient, give your pain to God. I know you would want me to remain strong. That is exactly what I am doing. Do not fear for me, continue to pray as will I + by God’s will we will be together soon.

All my everything, Kayla”

Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/World/2015/02/15/Friends-remember-Arizona-aid-worker-who-died-in-Islamic-State-captivity/

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