PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — 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.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Compiled by Michael Foust, an assistant editor of Baptist