Missionaries, 2 formerly of Woodbridge, trapped in Honduras in the wake of coronavirus

A group of eight missionaries - two formerly of Woodbridge -- are trapped in Honduras following the spread of coronavirus.

Two former Woodbridge residents, and six others on a humanitarian mission to Honduras, have no means of returning home to the U.S.

The two are members of an eight-person mission team was due to fly home Tuesday, March 17, 2020. But that flight was canceled after Houndoruan officials closed the country’s borders due to coronavirus.

The team was able to reschedule a flight for Tuesday, March 24, but it has been canceled, too.

Two members of the team are running low on medicine. One has a heart condition, and the other, Robert “Bob” Nelson, 67, has diabetes. Both need a quick return to the U.S., said Nelson’s wife, Betty.

Both Robert and Betty Nelson lived in Woodbridge from 2003 to 2005 while Robert was stationed at the Pentagon. They were members of Lake Ridge Baptist Church.

Today, they’re members of the Feed My Sheep Mission team at Christ View Church, which is near their home in Fairview Heights, Ill. The team flew from Illinois to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Thursday, March 12.

While there, they distributed to clothes to the mothers of newborn infants, to include hats and socks.

“Otherwise, these mothers take home their newborns wrapped in newspaper,” Betty Nelson told Potomac Local News.

They also distributed flip flops and toys to children and warm blankets to cancer wards in the town.

In their efforts to leave the country, Nelson said they tired contacting the U.S. Embassy in Honduras but has had little luck. Someone there asked her to go to the embassy website and fill out a newly updated form to help expedite the process.

“The form hasn’t been updated since 2019. We’re so disappointed,” said Nelson.

The Embassy is located about five hours away from San Pedro Sula, in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the team cannot travel that far, said Nelson.

The mood of the team is hopeful, for now. While the employees of the hotel they’ve been staying at in San Pedro Sula have been friendly, there is now talk of closing the hotel, said Nelson, leaving the humanitarian workers with nowhere to go.

The team is hopeful that Illinois Congressman Mike Bost, representing the state’s 11th Congressional District, might be able to help. Nelson told Potomac Local News that she received a phone call from Bost’s legislative aide during our telephone interview, which was temporarily cut short due to the incoming phone call from Washington, D.C.

We’ve also sent a message to Bost’s office, and we’ll update this story if we hear from the congressman.

The members of the mission team all range in age from their late 20s to their late 60s.

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