Volcanic ash cloud strands local church group


On Sunday, Houston's First Baptist Church is holding services without almost 40 of its members.

London was as far as they could go on Thursday before flights were grounded.

Star Smith's husband Stephen is part of the group that traveled to visit Israel's holy sites on April 5.

"I think everyone would agree we don't want them to get on a plane that might not be safe," Smith said. "I'd rather wait a few days and have him home safely than risk anything of course."

Smith is anxious for news along with the couple's four children.

"They miss daddy, the evenings and missing baseball games and choir concerts this week so that's been tough," she said.

The group is doing some site-seeing while they wait it out, while staff here in Houston is trying to help with issues like running out of prescription medicines.

"I've thought of us like we are mission control and they are Apollo 13," Pastor Matte said. "They're in a place where they need some help. Just tell us what you need and hang up the phone, and we'll work the problem."

So until this fiery force cools off, they are turning to their faith and just waiting it out.

"It shows also the intertwining of our world, how one thing can really shut down an entire continent, one little volcano no one has ever heard of shuts down Europe," Matte said. "That's pretty amazing."
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