St, Louis, MO (KTRS) A St. Louis area veterinarian narrowly escaped Hurricane Irma while on a church mission in Cuba.
Dr. Daniel Wentz of Ferguson Animal Hospital had been in Havana since late August with his fellow church members from Gateway Church of the Nazarene, when they received word of the dangerous storm last week. Wentz said with limited communications and media coverage in Cuba, they had no information before that on the storm.
“Our minister’s wife’s brother is a weatherman in Dallas. He called up on the emergency phone for the church and was quite excited about the fact that it was coming toward us and he highly recommended that we get out. Up until that point we hadn’t heard anything from the media there or anyone.” Wentz explained.
The church group was there helping make repairs to a church in Havana. Due to restrictions in Cuba, they weren’t allowed to bring any communication devices, such as cell phones, laptops, or ipads.
The group was able to get a flight out of Cuba to Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday morning. However, the group encountered another obstacle as a result of the impending hurricane. All flights out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport were cancelled, further hampering the church group’s efforts to return home to St. Louis and ultimately running the risk of being stranded in Florida to face the wrath of Hurricane Irma.
Determined to escape Hurricane Irma, church members drove rental cars to Orlando to catch a flight home.
“The traffic driving up there was heavy because people were already starting to evacuate out of the state.” Wentz said.
Wentz shared that the most difficult aspect of this ordeal was leaving the people they helped in Cuba behind, “Hopefully, we will hear something soon. The problem there is communications.”
Members of Gateway Church of the Nazarene plan to return to Cuba to continue their mission work sometime in the near future.
Anyone wishing to make a donation for the next mission trip may do so by contacting the church:
Gateway Church Of The Nazarene
11703 Old Saint Charles Rd
Bridgeton, MO 63044
You can request that your donation go toward the Hurricane Irma relief efforts.