PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (BP)–The last remaining Baptist volunteer still in a Haiti prison spent Easter Sunday in jail but remains confident she will be released.
Laura Silsby, in prison for more than nine weeks after she and nine others were arrested in late January on charges of child kidnapping, told NBC News her faith has sustained her. The nine other Americans have been released and are back in the United States. Silsby was considered the group leader.
“God will release me. I’m confident that God will overcome all of this and ultimately enable me to be released,” Silsby said during the interview that was taped several days before Easter.
Silsby faces a new charge — “organizing irregular travel” — that the other nine Baptists did not face. It is not known how much longer she will be in jail. The 10 originally were charged with child kidnapping and allegedly did not have the proper documents to take kids from the earthquake-ravaged country to an orphanage Silsby was starting in the Dominican Republic. Silsby and the others say they simply were trying to help children.
“It was one week after the earthquake when we left home,” Silsby said. “The news at that point was absolute devastation. People dying everywhere in this country. Our desire was to help, was to go into those tent communities, into those collapsed orphanages and bring children out.”
She added, “We were lied to by people who brought children to us and claimed to be either a neighbor, a distant family member. They did not honestly tell us who they were.”
Members of Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho, say they are standing behind Silsby.
“We all still stand right beside Laura and support her in everything that she did and everything that’s happening now,” Corinna Lankford, a member of the church who was one of the 10 team members arrested, told KTVB-TV in Idaho. “We’re all right with you, Laura.”
Nine of the 10 team members are members of Southern Baptist churches.
Compiled by Michael Foust, an assistant editor of Baptist Press.