Northland teens, mission trip leaders stranded in Guatemala after coronavirus cancels flights

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A group of teenagers on a church mission trip and their advisers are stranded in Guatemala after the country canceled all flights in the battle against coronavirus.

The 14 Northland teens were supposed to return home Friday, but now it’s unclear when the airport will reopen.

“It’s a little scary because we don’t know,” 17-year-old Park Hill student Mackenzie Albright told FOX4 via Facetime from her hotel in Guatemala City.

Albright said it was comforting to know that one of the five adult advisers joining them on the Platte Woods United Methodist Church mission trip is a doctor.

Coleman Reese, a 17-year-old from Park Hill South, said the students have been practicing their Spanish and putting together TikTok videos to pass the time.

Like much of the United States, restaurants, cultural sites and many businesses are closed in Guatemala City because of the virus.

Meanwhile, back in Missouri, people are working furiously to make sure they have what they need and are safe.

“We obviously are recommending that they stay close to the hotel so that they are reachable,” said Jennifer Simms, communication director for the church. “They all seem to be in good spirits.”

Church leaders as well as parents have been calling their members of Congress trying to get help bringing the group home.

Susan Mason said her 16-year-old son David Mason seemed to be doing well, but she said it’s unnerving to have him so far away during a pandemic.

“It’s the ‘what if,'” Mason said. “There are so many things we don’t know.”

She can only pray that none of them get sick during their now extended stay.

“We are beholden to that medical community to help them,” she said. “I know they will do their best, but I would like to have them home. “

Both U.S. Rep. Sam Graves’ office and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt have been in touch with the families and said they’re working to evacuate them along with other Americans stranded there.

But there’s no exact time as to when that will happen.



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