Finally, finally, there is some good news coming from Afghanistan regarding the South Korean hostages who have been held captive for six weeks. According to Yonhap News, twelve of the remaining nineteen hostages have been freed by the Taliban. The remaining seven are scheduled to be released soon. Let’s hope and pray that the rest of the group makes it home safely as well. Eugene Cho has been faithfully keeping many of us up to date on this situation; DJ Chuang and Laurence Tom have also been updating.

What a terrible ordeal these people have endured at the hands of terrorists. And, as if they have not suffered enough already, it appears that they might face criticism and controversy when they return home.

Details of the deal struck between the Taliban and the South Korean government are being disclosed. From the Yonhap News article:

Seoul, instead, has promised to pull its troops out of the war-torn country before the end of the year, as well as prohibit any South Korean Christian missionaries from entering the country, Cheon Ho-seon, a spokesman for the presidential office, said in a press briefing late Tuesday.

Many could speak with more passion and insight regarding the political reasons and ramifications of South Korea’s military withdrawal, but my concern today is the prohibition of missionaries. Understandably, because of the intensely tragic events that took place in Afghanistan, the South Korean government would want to do whatever they could to ensure the future safety of its citizens. However, I can’t help but wonder about the consequences of such a decision. I’ll save my thoughts about mission work (and my disappointment with the Western media) for another time.

For now, it is enough to celebrate the good news at hand. Today, perhaps, the released hostages and their families can begin to live and breathe once again. We can stand together in joy and relief with them. At the same time, this is also a time to persevere in prayer for those who are still being held captive.