In a letter from captivity to her family, deceased 26-year-old ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller said she had realized that “in the end the only one you really have is God,” and that she had “come to see that there is good in every situation.”
Her family received the letter in May 2014, the first time they heard from her since she disappeared. They provided the text of the letter to reporters on Tuesday after confirming rumors of her death. (RELATED: US Hostage Kayla Mueller Confirmed Dead In ISIS Territory)
In the letter, apparently scribbled on a spare sheet of notebook paper, Mueller indicates that “I am in a safe location, completely unharmed” and “treated w/ the utmost respect + kindness,” joking that she had “put on weight in fact.”
In a bold assertion, perhaps acting on ISIS’ orders, she writes that “I DO NOT want the negotiations for my release to be your duty, if there is another option take it, even if it takes more time.” She may have felt guilty for putting herself in danger, writing, “I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve forgiveness.”
And of her time imprisoned by the jihadi extremists, Mueller reflected that “I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free.” She had apparently not lost her resilience, saying that “I have a lot of fight left inside of me” and urged her family to “give your pain to God.”
It is unclear how the letter reached her family. The letter states that “If you are receiving this letter it means I am still detained but my cell mates… have been released.” French journalist Nicolas Henin previously confirmed that he had been detained alongside Mueller, and he or another hostage may have carried the letter to safety. But there are also clues that ISIS may have been in direct online communication with the Muellers.
Mueller, who had been in southern Turkey assisting refugees displaced by the Syrian civil war, disappeared in December 2013. She had previously worked in the humanitarian sector in India and Israel. Before traveling to the Middle East, she had been in France honing her language skills in preparation for a planned deployment to Africa.
Below is a full transcript of the letter:
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 cellmates 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
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