SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A local couple and their church group made it home to Hampton Roads after being stuck in Israel during the country’s war with Hamas.
This comes three days after Rita and Brian Larson contacted 10 On Your Side, who connected them with American Kinetix. American Kinetix reached out to WAVY after seeing the Larsons story on the news and will bring them home.
“We definitely feel there was some divine intervention there with the connection that we made and we really, really appreciate that,” Rita Larson said.
“We’re never going to be the same after that trip,” said Rita.
On Tuesday, 10 On Your Side’s KaMaria Braye exclusively spoke with the Larsons. They are members of Relate Church in Suffolk, which brought a group of 12 people to Jerusalem, Israel for a mission trip. As soon as the group landed the war with Hamas started, and the group was stuck in the country.
“Where we are in Jerusalem, we feel safe,” Brian Larson said.
However, the couple heard missiles and had to take shelter and stock up on food and water in preparation for a Hamas attack.
The couple even used a phone app that shows where missile strikes are happening.
“11 o’clock last night. We got an alert that a community had been infiltrated by terrorists that was within a 30-minute drive away. Yeah, and when you think about that, and you put it in perspective, I mean, that’s from Chesapeake to the Oceanfront from where we’re at. So, it just kind of makes you aware, it makes you know that you really need to be careful and vigilant about your surroundings. But we feel good,” the couple said.
The Larson said they are keeping their faith strong, and holding on to the thought of embracing their four children and 10 grandchildren.
“100 percent grabbing those kids and grandkids and hugging them and kissing on him until they say, ‘get off on me’,” Rita said.
“Being able to be home to calm those fears for them and, also for us just to be with family and friends,” Brian said.
The Larsons said when they get home, they will live life differently.
“It makes you more aware of those things to be grateful for. That a lot of small, small things. That maybe we take for granted that maybe won’t do that so much anymore,” Rita said.
The Larsons and their church group officially flew out of Israel on Friday. Here are a couple of photos from before their flight.