AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Several church members from Aiken and Augusta are on their way home following Hamas attacks in Israel Saturday morning.

About 60 people from Second Baptist Church of Aiken and Good Shepherd Baptist Church of Augusta traveled to the Holy Land.

“When everything started taking place, we were in Galilee heading to Jericho,” Associate Pastor of Second Baptist Church of Aiken Rev. Charles Matthews said.

They visited historical and religious sites, such as Jesus’ birthplace, the Jordan River for baptisms, and the Dead Sea. “The only thing we didn’t complete what was on our schedule Wednesday and Thursday,” he called. “We would’ve visit the old city in Jerusalem and walked the footsteps where Jesus walked as far as the crucifixion, where he was taken to Pontius palate and the trial.”

The unrest — the war — taking place in southern Israel and Gaza.

“We did not see or hear any of the bombing we were moving, if I may say it in front of everything as it was taking place,” Rev. Matthews said.

Leaving Israel wasn’t easy. The group had to navigate complex travel plans.

“It was just by the grace of God when we got through the borders, they closed the borders and we was one of the last groups that got through. We waited at the borders almost seven hours to get through,” he recalled.

Some arrived back to the U.S. on different days. Rev. Mitchell’s group is currently in London. They plan to eventually arrive in Atlanta on Friday evening.

“I most definitely will come back to Israel again to get to complete as well as recapture some of the things that I’ve already done.”