Church group stuck in Haiti is back home in Bradenton

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BRADENTON – A local church group stuck in Haiti over the weekend is back home in Bradenton.

Jacob Wesley who is an 18 year old and served as a worship leader on the trip says the group was not in fear….

“Honestly we were pretty stoked and pretty happy to have a few more days in Neply,” said Wesley.

Bradenton’s Woodland Community Church sent 28 people on a mission trip to Haiti on June 30 the group was scheduled to leave Saturday, but their route to the Port-au-Prince airport was blocked by protests in the street.

Wesley says the group prayed before entering Port-au-Prince and leaving Neply because they were aware of the activity going on in Port-au-Prince.

“I wasn’t really scared as much I was just comforted in knowing that we were headed back into the safety of Neply. & I’m praying for the people in Port-a-Prince for their safety and everything.”

Evan Knighting says his 17 year old daughter was on the trip.

He says he was surprised to get a phone call from his daughter at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning telling him what was going on in Port-Au-Prince.

“We hadn’t heard of anything. We didn’t know anything about it. It hadn’t quite reached up here that some of the stuff was going on starting on Friday so we were kind of surprised not only because it was 5 a.m. so we were kind of woken up, but also because we were trying to figure out what was going on,” said Knighting.

Knighting says he was most amazed that his daughter and others from the church were calm about the situation.

“Even though all of this was going on and they were kind of trying to figure out what was happening at the same time there was really just a sense of peace with them and that was really reassuring to us to know that they were comforted and they felt that they were safe,” said Knighting.

CNN reports protesters began demonstrating in Port-Au-Prince because of a sharp rise in fuel prices ordered by the government.

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Jessika Ward
Jessika Ward is a Sarasota native and an award-winning multimedia journalist. She joined the Suncoast News Network in February of 2018 and is happy to be back in her hometown. Jessika won three Florida Associated Press Awards while a student at Florida A&M University. Prior to coming to SNN, Jessika interned with WWSB ABC7 and worked as a videographer/editor at WTXL ABC27 in Tallahassee. ​​Jessika Ward is a proud rattler and Historically Black College and University (HBCU) advocate. She shares her HBCU experience in "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” a documentary about the history and future of HBCU's that was presented in the Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS. Jessika's hobbies include photography, watching independent films, watching sports, and reading a good book.