Florida pastor in Israel on mission trip when violence started: 'sirens were going off'

When the Hamas organization brutally attacked Israel last week, Florida pastor Zach Terry was there on a mission trip with more than 50 others exploring Biblical sites.

"It started out like any other trip, your typical hiccups, but everything was really going well," he said. He served as a pastor at First Baptist Church in Fernandina Beach. 

He and his group left for Israel on Oct. 4. 

"We study the various sights and look at the archeology, and study the culture of the region, currently and from history," he said. It's the fifth time he's led the trip to the Middle East, but the first time he's experienced war. 

"Social media began to report to us things that we’re happening," he said.

They happened to be near the Lebanon border and were scheduled to visit Jerusalem, a number of areas that is at the root of the conflict between the Hamas, Palestinians, and Israelis. 

"As we drove into Jerusalem we saw where the rockets had penetrated the Icon Dome and sirens were going off," he said. So, they went directly to the U.S. Embassy.

Not long after, their story began to go viral with several Florida politicians, and Georgia's governor, stepping in to help get them across the Jordanian border.

They went straight to the US Embassy.  It wasn't long until their story went viral and several Florida politicians, even Georgia’s governor, stepped in to help get them to Jordanian border.  

"There were thousands of people trying to get through," he said. They were able to finally get through after several house waiting.

"So, we’re safe, and were just getting the flights that we can get our people to safety," he said.

He hopes to be back in the U.S. by Friday or Saturday and, possibly, in the pulpit by Sunday.