Roanoke Pastor stuck in Peru on plane back home
Brentwood Baptist church is small and easy to pass by on Plantation Road. Right now, the congregation is missing an integral part: their pastor of nearly seven years, Rodney Spears.
"I showed you the one side, and then see that's the one side in front of me and if I turn all the way around, there's the other end, so I'm like halfway," said Spears over a Facebook video conversation earlier. Spears was waiting in line outside the military base in Lima, Peru. He has been doing this everyday since March 19.
Since Lima is the capital of Peru, it's the only entry point for the country. Spears has seen hundreds of Americans, like himself, board planes, and even more left to get on the next one, which means delaying travel for another day.
"But now today there seems like more of a possibility that we might be able to go," said Spears.
As of 6:45 p.m. Monday, Spears was able to get his paperwork checked by the U.S Embassy, and begin the process to get his ticket. But before that, he wasn't sure when he would be able to leave.
He left for Peru from Roanoke on March 9. The purpose of his trip was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a church he began in Cajamarca. When he left, he didn't think COVID-19 would impact his travels.
"What they're doing is checking our paperwork one by one to make sure we are registered to leave, and if we're registered to leave, then they're gonna put us on that bus there, there you can see the bus - they'll put us on the bus and drive us across the street to the military compound and once there, that's where the planes are," said Spears, describing what he was seeing this afternoon.
Spears is wearing a mask, like other travelers, but he has to wait in the crowd if he wants a seat on a plane home.
"You know I wouldn't say it's dangerous any more than anywhere else. And right now no one is really allowed out of their house; they allow this here because they know we're traveling," said Spears.
On March 16, the government of Peru announced that the border was closing and the country would have restrictions including a mandatory curfew.
Currently, the country has 395 cases of COVID-19.
While Spears has been waiting he says he has had a place to sleep and that he's been keeping his faith in God.
"You know I trust in the Lord, I fully believe He has control of every step we take," said Spears.