Antioch missionaries stranded in Niger return home to US in emotional reunion

"I'm overwhelmed with happiness my family's safe. It's been awful."

Tara Campbell Image
Sunday, August 6, 2023
Emotional reunion as Bay Area missionaries stranded in Niger return
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A group of Antioch missionaries who were stranded in Niger during a military coup are back home safe in the U.S.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A group of East Bay missionaries who were stranded in Niger during a military coup are back home safe in the U.S.

Church members, a majority of them from Antioch Cornerstone Christian Center, returned Saturday in an emotional reunion at Oakland International Airport.

Logan Heyer was watching, pacing and waiting for his family to appear through the doors.

His wife, daughter and father-in-law were among 15 people caught in a military coup while volunteering at bible schools in Niger. The majority of them from Cornerstone Christian Center and School in Antioch where Logan is the principal.

There were cheers as he walked toward his wife.

RELATED: Antioch church members stranded in Niger during military coup escape to France

And with family and friends by his side, the moment they've been praying for.

Logan walks to his wife...hugging and talking.

"I'm overwhelmed with happiness my family's safe. It's been awful," said Logan.

RELATED: 'Narrow opportunity' to restore democracy in Niger after attempted coup: US official

Logan and his wife, Holly, embrace each other.

"I was so excited to see everyone," Holly said. "We were sitting on a plane for a little bit and was like, just let us off."

Tara Campbell: "Was there a moment you thought you might not get out?"

Holly Heyer: "No. I knew we were going to make it back. Just because I knew the Lord had us in his hand the whole time. I knew our family and friends were working so hard, senators and congressmen. I knew they were going to do everything to help us."

RELATED: Niger's military announces ousting of President Bazoum in apparent coup

Scott Wells embraced his wife, Sheila.

"It's kind of surreal. We've been traveling for over 24 hours to get here and it's good to be here in the daylight . We were in Dallas and it was nice to be on USA soil and it's just wonderful to be here," said Scott Wells, Cornerstone Christian Center member.

RELATED: Biden calls for immediate release of Niger's president amid apparent coup

"It's a sense of relief. It's a relief. And you know we've been married a long time - a very long time actually," said Sheila Wells. "I just don't like being without him. He's like my other half."

"I'm grateful for Senator Feinstein, Congressman Garamendi. They helped us, they heard our need. The state department saved our people. They brought them home. I'm just so grateful to be an American today... my God just so grateful," said Logan.

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