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Statement Regarding Panama Mission Trip

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UPDATE July 16, 2022 – 8:00 a.m.

The mission group was able to make it through the protest blockade during a brief window early this morning and are now safe at a secure location where they are making flight arrangements to travel home.

July 15, 2022—A mission trip including teens and adults from four Chesapeake Conference congregations is temporarily stranded in Panama because of social and economic protests that have paralyzed ground transportation in the Central American country.

Nearly 30 students and chaperones from four Maryland churches, New Hope (Fulton); Spencerville (Silver Spring); Atholton (Columbia) and Frederick, have been unable to travel to the site where they were to assist in doing construction at a school during the 12-day trip. Despite some initial media reports that speculated about danger, all participants are safe and away from active protest sites.

Mission trip organizer Keith Blair of the New Hope church, an attorney who is a member of the conference executive committee, has led numerous summer mission trips to Central America, and reports that all participants are doing well and eagerly waiting for a window to return to Maryland. Conference leaders and trip organizers have concluded that it is unwise to travel to the construction site to complete the project given the uncertain situation created by halted transportation on major thoroughfares. Plans are in progress to keep teens and adults in secure sites while air transportation back to Maryland is arranged.

Please pray for the participants and their families as organizers work to safely return all those involved to their homes and congregations.

The conference continues to monitor the situation and work closely with Blair and the team in Panama. We will continue to keep parents and families informed.

Media inquiries should be directed to Evan Knott at eknott@ccosda.org.

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