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18 London student missionaries and leaders now home from Peru and self-isolating
LONDON, ONT. -- When their plane from Lima, Peru touched down at Toronto's Pearson International Airport around 1 a.m. Saturday, a cheer went up.
"There was a round of applause," says Dave De Smith, a leader of Mission Peru 2020. "The plane was completely full, and you could feel a sense of Canadian pride and relief."
The group from London and Tillsonburg Alliance Church left for South America on March 11th before there were travel restrictions in place.
However days after arrival, the missionaries were informed the country would be locked down due to covid19.
"The hardest part was not knowing what our days would look like, or when we were coming home," says Madelyn Rutledge, a student at Banting Secondary School.
She says finding out the country was on lockdown was stressful, and they were forced to spend their remaining 11 days in a compound. However they made the most of it, by doing some construction work on site.
"We repainted playground equipment, painted some buildings, and built a volleyball court," says Dami Lola Adejuwon, a Banting student.
"We also spent a lot of time doing bible study and getting to know each other."
Stranded for an extra four days, they needed help from the Canadian embassy, and their local member of parliament to get home.
Thursday the group boarded a bus for a 12-hour trip from Trujillo, Peru to a military base in Lima where planes were flying Canadians home.
The last of three planes to leave this week arrived in Toronto, and by 4 a.m. Saturday morning they were back in London and self-isolating.
"Day one I'm sitting here in my house," says De Smit.
"However I'm blessed with a food supply from members of my church community and wondering what the next 13 days are going to hold."
Adejuwon is happy to be home, and plans on spending a lot of time on Facetime conversing with friends. However she was missing one thing upon arrival.
'"I couldn't get a hug from my mom," says Adejuwon, "But in two weeks i can hug her and my brother so I’ll be ok."
Rutledge says she has a new appreciation for life as a Canadian.
"I learned how fortunate we are here," says Rutledge.
"We're very blessed to get home and get home safely. As of now, everyone who went to Peru came back healthy, which is amazing."