UPDATE: SC mission team stuck in Haiti returns home

Chapin mission team returns home
A team from Chapin United Methodist Church is stuck in Haiti after protests have gripped the capital city and other areas. (Source: Steve Wheaton)
A team from Chapin United Methodist Church is stuck in Haiti after protests have gripped the capital city and other areas. (Source: Steve Wheaton)

CHAPIN, SC (WIS) - Good news from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Chapin United Methodist Church team that was stuck in Haiti due to protests in the country's capital city has returned home.

The team arrived at Columbia Metropolitan Airport Monday night.

The Chapin United Methodist Church group was stuck in Haiti after protests gripped the capital city and other areas, causing major carriers to cancel flights in and out of the country's busiest airport in Port Au Prince.

The team first stopped in Atlanta before heading to CAE.

"Some great news! @theChapinUMC team has arrived safely at the airport in Port-au-Prince. They're scheduled to arrive in ATL at 701p. Once they're on the ground we will post an ETA for Chapin. Praising God for His goodness and for His mercies! May the Prince of Peace reign," lead pastor Jody Flowers said.

CNN reported the protests are in response to a sharp rise in fuel prices ordered by the government.

WIS spoke with Emily Wheaton through a video chat from their location in Haiti on Sunday. Wheaton led the team on the annual trip to Haiti from Chapin United Methodist Church.

Related: US church groups stranded by Haiti disturbances

"Friday, we caught wind that things had started winding up outside and so we were supposed to leave campus and go to our main campus for church service and we did not. We stayed here to do the church service here," Wheaton said.

The group of 13, which is composed of high school teens, college students, and adult leaders was supposed to return Saturday, but Wheaton says those plans changed.

"We just really played the waiting game all day yesterday. I think tensions were a little high around here yesterday. We've got a lot of teenagers here. Just a lot of not knowing when am I going to get home, they're ready to get home to their families," said Wheaton.

Wheaton and her husband Steve Wheaton, who did not go on the trip this year, added that a lot of the activity is focused on the capital, Port-au-Prince and they are about half an hour outside of that location. She says they are keeping their spirits high and are in good hands.

"We are locked up safe and secure here. The world as we know it, it's really calm and beautiful here," Wheaton said.

Steve Wheaton, says his daughter and niece are also in Haiti. They are staying at a campus run by Mission of Hope. They say the trip includes sharing the gospel, providing resources, and educational opportunities.

"Their mission, like they have a school on campus, they are teaching the kids so they have an education," said Steve Wheaton.

Steve Wheaton also added some perspective as to why the protests may be occurring: "Most of the gas stations I saw, these are families with gallon jugs on the side of the road selling fuel. That's how they put food on the table. They're selling gas and so this is going to hit them hard."

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