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Two weeks ago today, Ben was returned to our family after his 30 hour ordeal of being kidnapped and held for ransom. With his return, our family entered a new season: healing. 

After all of the adrenaline and stress we had the rejoicing . . . and then what? 

I (Trish) crashed the hardest. In “therapy” terms, I hadn’t had a chance to deal with the emotions of my own kidnapping experience, because I’d had to immediately press forward at that time, as Ben’s life was in danger. The first week after Ben’s return my sleep was disrupted and I didn’t want to eat. When I was alert enough, I worked on writing up the story for the blog – I just felt that it was very important to get it all down before I forgot anything. Since finishing the story, I’ve been gradually improving in my eating and sleeping; last night, for instance, I slept 3.5 straight hours, which is a new post-kidnapping record for me (I slept more than that, in total, but the rest was interrupted with frequent awakenings). 

In the past few days, I’ve had several opportunities to drive to town, sometimes with some of the children and sometimes by myself. I have, in the past, found great joy in this drive – the mountains and the farming villages are so beautiful, and the people so friendly, waving and smiling greetings to me as I pass. I enjoy dodging small herds of cattle, ox carts, and the occasional pig. I was concerned that fears produced by my kidnapping experience might steal this joy from me, but I’m happy to report that it has not! I am a bit more alert for signs of trouble – which is probably a good thing – but the joy is still there!

I see small improvements in my ability to get up and get things done every day. I could use prayers, though, as I have a trip to MD scheduled in a few weeks, to attend my brother’s wedding, and I have a lot to do before I go!

Ben, on the other hand, is doing amazingly well. He hasn’t experienced any trouble with sleeping or eating – you might even say that his activities have increased in both of those areas since the kidnapping! There haven’t been nightmares or other moments of flashback fears. He’s gradually increasing in his ability to get back into the groove of his normal schoolwork and chore schedule. A significant decrease in his ability to concentrate and stay on task have been the only real signs that he was disturbed by any of this – until yesterday, out of the blue, he told me that when he’d awakened that morning, he’d felt normal for the first time since the kidnapping. I asked him how he’d felt prior to that, and he replied, “Cold, dark, and scared inside.” In true manly fashion, he hadn’t mentioned that to anyone until he felt he had it under control!

 Allen and Russell started back into construction work almost as soon as the kidnapping was behind us. Hard physical work seems to be their therapy. The rest of the family members are finding their footing again, gradually. We talk about the kidnapping frequently and freely, and we have dozens of new “family jokes” revolving around these incidents. It’s dark humor, but it seems to be helpful that we feel free to address all of this openly, with emotions or with humor – however it wants to come out!

We are so grateful to God, not only to have Ben physically back with us, but to have the same goofy, loving, forgetful, mischievous, happy child that he was before! And, I’ve said it before but you might as well get used to me saying it again and again – we are so thankful for the prayers that surrounded us during our dark hours, and which continue to lift us up through this entire experience.