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Alabamians stay safe during Honduras coupcomment (0)

August 20, 2009

As news that Honduras had removed President Manuel Zelaya in what many were calling a military coup traveled fast June 28, family members, friends and fellow church members of a few Alabama Baptists waited anxiously.

They were waiting to hear from Mary Tidwell and the 20-member missions team she was leading in Honduras. Rumors had already circulated that the team — composed of members of First Baptist Church, Haleyville, in Winston Baptist Association and Grace Life Church of the Shoals, Muscle Shoals, in Colbert-Lauderdale Baptist Association — had been kidnapped and had been near a bombing. And with a lack of electricity, functioning cell phone towers and airport access, discounting those rumors was unlikely.

Just three days after their June 23 arrival, team members learned of the political unrest in the nation’s capital, Tegucigalpa, from Baptist Medical & Dental Mission International missionaries John and Tina Woods, whom they were working with in El Rodeo.

On June 27, it appeared the president’s removal would be peaceful. However, peace soon turned to disorder when Zelaya was ousted June 28 and blockades were set up around the capital’s center. Interim President Roberto Micheletti also imposed a 10 p.m.–7 a.m. curfew June 28. The curfew was later extended to 6:30 p.m.–6 a.m.

Connections with cellular towers were eventually restored, and Tidwell and some members of her team were able to call the United States. Word spread by phone, e-mail and Facebook, asking for prayer for the team’s safety. Tidwell said not only were their home churches in Alabama praying but also people from across the United States.

“We could feel the prayers of the people back home,” said Tidwell, a member of First, Haleyville. “I had a peace that passed all understanding.”

On June 30, the team arrived at the airport early enough to miss protesters and by evening, arrived home safely.
“It was not an anxious or fearful time. We were able to carry out our schedule,” said Jennifer Simpson, a team member from Grace Life. “The grace of God was there with us, and people were praying for us.”

Despite the unrest at the end of the week, Tidwell said the trip went smoothly and was very successful. The team saw 1,541 people in the medical clinics and filled 9,447 prescriptions. In the dental clinics, it saw 147 people and pulled 247 teeth. The most exciting part of the trip, however, was seeing 37 people make professions of faith, Tidwell said. (TAB)

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