A group of 10 Mission Viejo Christian Church missionaries who were airlifted from a Haitian orphanage Friday night are expected to arrive back home on Sunday, Jan. 17.
The group includes nine adults and a 15-year-old girl. They had gone to the orphanage to help care for 90 children and had planned a special effort to reach homeless children who come to the orphanage each day for food, according to the Orange County Register.
"The team has decided to leave," Paul Beltis, husband of Judy Beltis, one of the missionaries, told the Register while awaiting his wife arrival in Miami. "My wife has run out of medication, and all of them are totally exhausted. Help and supplies are arriving and additional medical professionals will take over. Though it breaks their hearts to leave the kids, they are comfortable they will be taken care of as best as possible."
Beltis, a partner in Deloitte, said his company coordinated a security team that rescued company employees and then evacuated Mission Viejo missionaries on a helicopter. Deloitte also contributed $100,000 to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts in Haiti, according to the newspaper.
The group, led by Jim Duggan of Mission Viejo, had left for Haiti on Jan. 8.
After Tuesday's magnitude-7 quake, there was no word from them. Only a Twitter message late that night offered a glimpse of hope.
On Wednesday, church officials got an email from Duggan saying that they were OK. Since then, they have gotten emails, and Beltis has had brief opportunities to talk with his wife via Skype.
Groups of church members have been volunteering at an orphanage for nearly six years, since church members Bill Manassero, his wife Suzette, and Duggan opened the center.
One member of the group that had been at the Maison de Lumiere orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Robert Taylor of Mission Viejo, stayed behind to continue to help.
Medical personnel will check out the group as soon as they arrive back into the states.