(WJBK) - A mission to help others has turned into a mission to get home. A mission group from Oakland County has found themselves stuck on the island of Haiti.
Forty-four people from Kensington Church, including Orion Township supervisor Chris Barnett, went to the island to help those still recovering from a 7.0 earthquake back in 2010. But now they're in the middle of civil unrest and, to make matters worse, a tropical storm is closing in on the island.
"We were down here for a service trip and teaching bible school for the kids, and we taught the villages how to have clean water; that's a big problem here still. So, everything was great; we had a great trip and we were gearing up to head home and kind of got stuck here," Barnett said.
The mission group was supposed to come home this Saturday but the plans changed when the people of the country started rebelling against the prime minister’s decision to raise fuel prices in order to balance a budget.
"They are not targeting us but they’re upset with their government. We can see it; we can hear it; we can see the fires,” Barnett said.
The fires and other unrest have kept the group on the move. Even while we were on the phone with Barnett things were changing. But all he's trying to do is ensure that he and his group are not in immediate danger.
"We're very safe. Our team is safe, there are other groups here from other churches in America, about 160 people at the compound where we are at and we feel very safe because the Haitian people know we are here to help."
Along with the civil unrest, the weather is another variable keeping them from leaving the island. Currently planes cannot land or take off.
"We understand that Hurricane Beryl has been downgraded to a tropical storm, which is good news because we're right on the water here."
Barnett says he along with others from the church are in contact with local Congress members and their staff, attempting to get a flight back home. At this point he’s asking for prayers not only for his group but for all of Haiti.
Barnett is a part of Missions of Hope, a national nonprofit which provides 90,000 meals to those in need every day.
He says despite all they've been through he's willing to bet they would all sign up to do it again.