AUGUSTA (WJBF) – In April, all eyes were on Sudan as a war between the government and militia broke out.
We watched it on TV, but two women from Augusta experienced it first-hand.
“We went there to share the gospel and just 8 hours after landing it became a trip of survival,” said Kellie Cardona, Augustan who was stuck in Sudan.
When they left Augusta for Sudan, Kellie Cardona and Meagan Lambert knew this would be a mission trip to remember. But not the way they thought. Kellie was about to preach when gunfire broke out.
“We were told it was too dangerous to go back to our hotels and that they had started bombing the airport and they needed to get us to a safe house,” said Cardona.
In the states, we were watching this unfold on TV a violent civil war between the militia and Sudanese army. In Sudan, Kellie and Meagan were experiencing it first-hand.
“As we were driving to the safe house, people attacked our car. We were fine through that obviously but they were physically hitting the car trying to get in,” said Meagan Lambert, Augustan who was stuck in Sudan.
At the safe house the conditions were tough.
“It was very hot. So there were days when the temperature reached 108, 109 and we don’t have power,” said Cardona.
No showers, only the clothes on their back, food rationing was a real thing, and the fighting was getting closer and closer.
“We start really hearing the bombing. And the, whatever, heavy artillery, we know it’s getting heavier because it’s getting louder,” said Cardona.
8 days in that safe house, then plans came through to get them to Port Sudan, but the window of opportunity to do that was just a few hours.
“We were going through our local contacts, and convinced, I believe he was a local pastor, to drive us across the city. In the middle of the fighting. Every time he would see a militia person, or a military person, he would just dart around the corner so that we wouldn’t have to engage with them,” said Lambert.
The pair eventually made it on board a ship supplied by the King of Saudi Arabia, to get them across the Red Sea to that country. A 24-hour boat ride.
“There were 2500 people of us on this boat and three women’s restrooms, and so it was excruciating,” said Lambert.
The pair made it to Saudi Arabia, then America. Landing in Atlanta, they were in a fog about what just happened.
“It’s surreal. It’s very hard to digest and accept and process,” said Cardona.
They went to Sudan to spread the Gospel, in a country that tries to suppress it. Now as they reflect, they realize their purpose for being there, was even bigger than they once thought.
“The mission quickly changed and it was like the Lord was doing a work in us,” said Cardona.
Watch their full story of how the escaped: