Local group seeks way home after being stranded in Honduras

Posted at 4:50 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 18:41:11-04

(FOX 17) — Pastors Gabriel and Shannon Garber are two of six from the White Cloud area now stranded in Honduras after a recent missionary trip.

"It's been a whirlwind of excitement and tears of sorrow, all at the same time," Gabriel said via FaceTime.

The group left West Michigan on March 10, when the threat of COVID-19 wasn't quite front and center in the United States.

"We never thought in a million years any of this would happen." he added.

But two days prior to heading back home, the Honduran government shut down, leaving the group stranded in their hotel.

"We are locked in so we have to stay, we can't go outside, we have to stay inside the hotel."

The worst part for the Garbers is being away from their two children, who they can FaceTime but those conversations aren't easy.

"Every time our 8-year-old daughter questions, 'mommy, daddy, when are you coming home?' It's so heartbreaking to tell your kids, 'I don't know,'" Shannon said emotionally.

And there's no confirmed date on when they'll be reunited.

"First it was going to be April 1 or 2, then it changed to mid-April then it changed to May, then early June," said Gabriel.

The group has reached out to the American Embassy every day but so far, there hasn't been much of an answer.

"They're having to work with another government, things change," Gabriel explained. "America might be saying one thing but the government here is saying another. I don't blame them, I think they are truly trying to do what they can do for people."

And the group says once they're home, they will do everything they can to keep others safe.

"As long as we're back on United States soil, quarantine us," Shannon said explaining the precautions they're ready to take.

And the group has been unbelievably productive on the trip, installing 40 water filters for residents so that they may have healthy drinking water but the trip has certainly been overwhelming.

"We have great joy knowing what we did here will change everything," added Gabriel, "but now we realize that we're stuck here and can't see our kids, so you balance both of those things."