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On August 3 last year, Shelter Now aid workers Dayna Curry, 30, and Heather Mercer, 25, were arrested by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Their situation was precarious—and then came September 11. Many people despaired of the pair's leaving Afghanistan alive, so their release on November 15 was a joyous answer to prayers worldwide.

Curry and Mercer talk about their work, imprisonment, and release in Prisoners of Hope: The Story of our Captivity and Freedom in Afghanistan (Doubleday). Christianity Today's associate news editor Stan Guthrie, who has covered missions for various publications, and CT senior writer Wendy Murray Zoba, a former missionary, recently spoke with Curry and Mercer about their experiences and their plans for the future.

When did you become friends?

Mercer: We met in November 1997 when we were both looking at going on our first short-term trip to Afghanistan in the summer of 1998. Dayna was working in social work. I was still a sophomore in college. We ended up being roommates on that trip. A year later, Dayna moved to Afghanistan. She had already been there almost two years before I showed up. We lived together there because we were both a part of the same team that had been sent out by our local church. We were the only two single girls on the team, so we ended up getting a house together and living in Kabul. Then we started tag-teaming on the ministry side of things as we interacted with Afghans.

Curry: I'd been there a year and five months. I came back to America for two months and I don't know if I would have come back if Heather wasn't coming. I had gone there originally with another single girl, but she got married and left. I hope I would still have decided to stay in Afghanistan, but I don't know. Heather's ...

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July 8, 2002

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