SANTA FE — A pair of missionaries injured on a mission trip in West Africa returned to the U.S. for treatment Tuesday after their Santa Fe church raised more than $75,000 to pay for the medical flight.
Ruby Sprayberry and Stephanie Clawson arrived in Houston by air ambulance at about 3 a.m. and were transferred to county hospitals for further testing, said Julie Gregory, pastor of the Santa Fe Family Worship Center.
They have been reunited with their families and are both in stable condition, Gregory said. The missionaries will remain in hospital care to undergo testing and treatment.
Sprayberry and Clawson were about a week into the mission trip in Niamey, Niger, and riding in a vehicle Dec. 10 when the driver lost control and the car tipped over into a ravine. The two women were badly injured in the wreck. Another young missionary, who was not a member of the Santa Fe church group, was killed.
Sprayberry and Clawson were taken to a medical clinic in Niger, but the facility lacked pain medicine, stable electricity and the proper equipment to treat their injuries. Insurance covered much of the cost of medical evacuation back to the U.S., but the church still needed $75,000 to pay for the flight.
Word spread through news reports and social media, and the worship center was able to raise more than $81,000.
Any extra donations will go toward medical bills, Gregory said.
Gregory said the missionaries and Santa Fe Worship Center church members were grateful for the support they received and said donations poured in from everywhere.
At services this week, church members expressed their gratitude and happiness, she said.
The other Santa Fe missionaries in Niger returned home Sunday night.
“It’s a great sense knowing the girls are home, and a positive sense about being able to pull together as a community,” Gregory said. “But the girls still have a lot of rehabilitation to do.”