MORGANTOWN — Richard Moore, an elder with the Morgantown Church of Christ, said he and 15 others stranded in Honduras due to COVID-19 travel restrictions are keeping the faith, and burning up their cell phones.
“We have been in constant contact with David McKinley’s office, with Joe Manchin’s office and with Shelly Moore Capito’s office. I will sing nothing but high praise of those offices because they’ve been extremely helpful,” Moore said.
“I feel like their hands are tied for a couple reasons. One, the Honduran government, I don’t think, has been as responsive as some of the other governments. We’re trying not to say anything negative, but the U.S. Embassy here in Honduras has not been very cooperative. We cannot get somebody to call us back. We can’t get anybody to answer our emails.”
The missions group, whose members range in age from 13 to 73, arrived in Honduras on March 14, after meeting the previous evening and deciding to push ahead with the annual trip due to the country’s low COVID-19 threat level. Within hours of arrival, they were advised to get back on a plane and return home.
But travel restrictions implemented within Honduras and the country’s decision to close its borders — preventing flights in or out of the country — quickly made that impossible.
Moore said the group is “bored to tears,” but safe with plenty of food in the missions compound where they’re being housed.
Most frustrating, he explained, have been the numerous false alarms, and the lack of response from the Embassy.
“So we’ll get a phone call and they’ll say, ‘OK, a plane is on it’s way,’ and then we don’t hear anything. So we’ve had our hopes up and dashed three or four times,” Moore said, explaining the group was told two planes of U.S. citizens were flown out of neighboring Guatemala on Monday.
“That was all because the U.S. Embassy there made it happen,” he said.
Representatives of Sens. Manchin and Capito said they have been in contact with the group and are working with the State Department to try to get them back to West Virginia.
“Sen. Manchin’s office has been in contact with the mission group from Morgantown and his staff is working around the clock to find a way to bring them home,” Sam Runyon, Manchin spokesperson, said.
While Moore said the different members of the group need to return home for varying reasons — work, health, family — he knows they’re in good hands.
“At this point in time, we’ve just put all of this in God’s hands. We know he’s going to take care of us. We know he’s going to protect us and we know that he’s going to get us home. Whenever that happens, we’ll be happy with that.”