August 13, 2013
The fight continues to bring Muna home from Mali. We are in the legal appeals process, a costly and lengthy procedure that is worth every moment and every penny. Thank you for your support. So far, more that $15,000 has been spent in legal, travel and lobbying expenses. We would not have been able to persist without generous contributions from so many. God bless you and may your gifts be returned to you in abundance.
Dr. Noelle Hunter
July 24, 2013
I'm nearly rested after a long journey home from Bamako, Mali. It was and is the most difficult decision I've ever made to leave Muna there and continue to fight for her from here. For several days after the July 8 ruling, when the judge decided not to uphold 2 US/Kentucky court orders, I was at a loss.
I thought back over the past 19 months to all of the prayers, love, financial support and outright miracles I'd witnessed. I thought of the $15,000+ and counting that has been spent on this fight (trips to Washington, attorney fees, lodging, relief supplies shipping,etc). I thought about how Muna's sister Rysa Lee, her granny and everyone must be so let down, we had such hope. But most of all, I thought about Muna and how, at least for now, she will continue to be without her mommie and sistee when she needs us as badly as we need her.
Why Lord? Was and is my question. I saw Muna seven times while in Bamako. The last two visits occurred after the verdict, and gave me a certain peace about the difficult decision to return home and also gave me a glimpse of why I need to regain my strength and refocus my prayers and energies (which I admit are both rather scattered right now).
Last Sunday, we went to the zoo in Bamako. It was the first time I'd seen Muna behaving like the little girl I knew. She was funny, chatted non stop like little girls do, she held my hand and we ran to see the baby Elephant, got creeped out in the reptile house and laughed and were excited about being together. Afterward, we went to a popular cafe, and on the way there she sang a silly long that I loved, and talked LOUDLY in the cafe. It was so precious. This visit let me know, like a few a my friends and family confirmed that while she's not great or in the ideal situation, that she is okay.
The last visit came the day that I was to leave. Her father brought her to the lodge where I was residing and for a few hours we played in my bed, she showed me shadow puppets on the wall, we colored and immensely enjoyed each other's company. She saw my suitcases and I explained to her that mommie had to go back to the USA to see her sister and to work for a little bit but that I would be back very soon. The reality didn't hit her until her father stood up and said it was time to go.
She just kept saying, in French, that she wanted to go with me, that she wanted to see her sister. She just kept repeating it. Her father wouldn't say anything, she was trying to be brave, but she just burst into tears. I picked her up and held her as tightly as I could and told her how much I loved her, how much sistee and granny and everyone loved her. I told her it was okay to cry. My own heart was wrenching. We walked to their van, and I held her, kissed her and reminded her that mommies loves her, Rysa loves her and Jesus loves her. That was it. They drove off. I cannot get the sound of her voice catching in her throat before she began to cry, out of my mind.
So why not stay in Bamako and fight for her there? I wanted to--- wrestled with myself as to whether I was betraying the promise to Muna not leave her----but the costs (emotionally, physically and financially) were too great to stay at this point. Emotionally, I was only holding on by faith, despite the encouragement prayers and support of so many. I kept feeling little tugs at my sanity, reeling at the injustice that everyone can see and no one was addressing. My prayers began to waver and I doubted my Sovereign God---human, but not cool for me. Also, I was out of money, and every day I remained I was spending money donated by loving friends and family, and I didn’t feel like I could continue to ask people for donations when the verdict was in and I still wasn’t seeing Muna all that much.
Then, my decision to return was guided by 4 sets of information that I found out in 24 hours. 1.There’s no further help coming from Washington DC in the short term. Senator McConnell made it clear that his office prefers to wait until a new government is installed in Mali, which may happen after the July 28 elections there, and to press a new government for Muna’s return rather than working with the governmental actors that will be out the door in a few weeks and don’t care about this case. 2. The State Department told me they prefer to assist me as I continue the appeals process, which my Bamako attorney and I are doing. 3. My amazing employer would have to temporarily find someone to replace me should I have tarried in Bamako, which is completely understandable, but that would have meant a loss of income, which would have affected my ability to pay my mortgage, auto loan, etcc…then what would I have to bring Muna home to? 4. Rysa’s dad had complications from a recent surgery which sent him back to the hospital (he’s much better now, thank you Jesus) and since she was with him, I could only imagine how she was feeling taking “hits” from so many directions.
It was all too much; too many indications that I needed to come home and continue to press from here. Rysa and I will return to Morehead today. I can admit that my faith is worn and I’m tired, but I can also say that I know what God has promised me and shown me clearly. I’m with Job and I say that “yea though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” because I know--- and none of what has happened can convince me otherwise---- that He loves me, He loves my children and He knows the good plans he has for us.
I’d like to thank everyone for the devotion that you’ve poured over us during this long time. It’s not over and we still need your love and prayers. I’m going to now be seeking support from a few foundations and organizations to pay for my continuing legal expenses, as I will now have to retain my Morehead attorney again as well as the Bamako attorney to properly appeal. Rysa and I plan to return together in December to see Muna so I’ll soon start to save for those tickets. I’m still believing for an outrageous miracle too.
It's Monday, July 1, 2013. I spent the weekend working on a new campaign for Mission4Muna to raise more attention. Last night some very good friends advised me to just be still and see what July 8's ruling will bring. I know they are right, and today I can listen when people who love Muna and me share wisdom. So, I will spend this week waiting patiently (even as my fantastic attorney in Mali said is should do). If you've never read the full story on Muna's abduction, I invite you to go to mission4muna.com. Thank you for your love, support and encouragement.
Today is June 29, 2013. In the past two days, people have given $718.57. This is an amazing and rapid flow of generosity at the time I needed it most. For the first time last week, I was down to $40 USD, which I withdrew from my account to pay partial fees to my interpreter, who was absolutely necessary for my court dates on June 17, 24, and 25. The judge will rule on our motions to uphold US court orders for custody and immediate return on July 8. When I found out that delay, I didn't know how I would pay for my lodging and accumulating legal expenses. The amounts previously given were spent to ship medical supplies with me, which I delievered to the Mali Health Organizing Project and to pay for my room and board through June 24. I had no more money. But thanks to this tremndous new contribution, I am sustained a while longer to STAY, STAND, and FIGHT for Muna. May the Lord return your giving to you beyond measure.
With deep gratitude,
Noelle Hunter (Muna's mommie)
I arrived in Bamako on May 30. Thanks to generous contributions of medical supplies, personal hygiene items and school supplies from supports in Kentucky, Alabama and Washington DC, I flew with 200 lbs of donations, which are now in the hands of the Mali Health Organizing Project (www.malihealth.org). The school supplies will soon be delievered to Bamako Christian Academy. It cost $800 to ship the donations with me on Air France, and I thank everyone who donated.
I will be in Bamako as long as I need to bring Muna home. There are court proceedings and cultural influences coming to bear. I don't know where I will be staying after Sunday, June 2, because the hotel I am staying at now is beyond what I can afford after that date. I know God will provide, and I believe He will use the people reading this report to do it. Thank you for caring for Muna and for Mali!
The last time I saw Muna, my precious 5-year old daughter, was Christmas Day 2011. Two days later, her father took her on a one-way flight to Bamako, Mali, in West Africa. He has refused to return her and refused all attemps to even let me talk to her by telephone.
Over the past 16 months I've staged protests in Washington, met with US and Mali Ambassadors, worked closely with the U.S. State Department and my Kentucky Congressional delegation, and taken every available action to bring Muna home.
I believe with all my heart that this is almost the end, and that Muna's return is near. I will soon travel Bamako for a June 17, 2013 preliminary hearing, to petition the court there to uphold the sole custody ruling and immediate return order issued in a Kentucky Circuit Judge.
This has already been a very expensive fight, and the upcoming trip will be even more so. I would greatly appreciate donations of any amount to help with travel expenses and legal expenses (I have retained an attorney in Bamako and all U.S. court documents must be translated into French, requiring additional fees.)
The trip has another purpose, too. I, along with friends in my Morehead community and in other states are gathering medical relief and personal care items that I will take with me for distribution to a settlement near Bamako that is in dire need. We are seeking contributions to cover the cost of shipping medical supplies and personal care items.
My airline ticket has been generously paid for, leaving only costs for shipping relief supplies and for my hotel.
I will take 150 lbs of supplies with me on my flight, requiring 4 additional check bags @$200/bag.
My hotel accomodations for 30 days, my anticipated length of stay, is 870,000 francs, or $1,707.07 US dollars.
Thank you for caring to visit our site. We are grateful for your contribution of any size and believe that Muna will be home on the strength and kindness of so many like you!
For more information, go to www.mission4muna.com.
We know that Muna is coming HOME!