Gracepointe Church members reunite with families after being stuck in Haiti

DOUGLAS, GA (WALB) - A mission group from a church in Douglas has reunited with their families.

They were stuck in Haiti several days after their scheduled return after riots broke out over drastic increases in oil prices.

International flights were canceled and roads were blockaded, trapping the South Georgians.

It was a trip that lasted longer than a South Georgia mission group imagined it would because of riots on the island.

"There were roadblocks and things like that that made it impossible for them to get back on the Saturday they were planning to or scheduled to fly," said Chris Watson, the senior pastor at Gracepointe Church.

Archie Rish who led the team of 36 in Haiti said that when they learned of their canceled flight, they were only worried about one thing.

"There was no panic. There was very little fear. There was just people who were very concerned, what are their families going to think," said Rish.

As for the families back home, they came together and prayed.

"When they weren't able to leave, we decided to have a prayer, a church wide prayer vigil here for them that night. So everybody gathered here at 8 o'clock. We prayed for the team, the nation of Haiti and asked that God would do work in that situation," explained Watson.

Rish said they didn't waste their extra days in Haiti. He said they were simply given more time to spend with the people of Haiti.

"Their nation was falling down around them. And they were more concerned with us. To make sure we were okay. To make sure we were cared for. They never left our sides," Rish said.

What many would consider to be a traumatic experience, brought two different groups of people together.

"It was an incredible moment to watch Americans and Haitians come together, pray together and worship God together through really the unknown," said Rish.

Rish said they will never regret those extra days in Haiti. He hopes this experience can shed light on the situation there, and the group of people he wishes the world could know.

"We've watched them take a slice of bread and share it with thirty or more people to eat. We've watched them allow others to go before themselves and it breaks our hearts to know the world watches from the outside and they never experience the love these people have," Rish said.

Watson said they received help from people all over the world, getting that flight back home.

Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved.