A Meridian couple is thanking the community for its support, after finally arriving home following a medical mission trip to Macedonia that turned into a month-long nightmare.
Candi and Marc Dunlap were part of a group from 15th Avenue Baptist Church that traveled to Macedonia in September. As the group was leaving the country, Candi was detained after officials discovered rare coins in her possession.
The coins were gifts from people she helped while in the country and Dunlap did not know it was against Macedonian law to take them.
After a delayed hearing and the intervention of the U.S. Embassy, attorneys and prayers of friends across the nation, Dunlap was released October 24th.
In a statement released today, the couple says this:
"Candi and I would like to thank Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, our families, as well as each and everyone for all of your prayers , concerns, support, encouragement all over our great community of Lauderdale County, as well as all across our great nation of the united states during our recent time of crisis. It has truly been an honor to serve the Lord in such a capacity. We understand that many may not find this a blessing, but for us it has been an honor to be chosen to suffer minutely compared to what he has suffered for us.
Candi and I have two different sides of "this story" that we have been piecing together for the last few days by ourselves, due to not being able to communicate with each other during this time. She would personally like to thank each and every one of the women that she had the chance to meet/live with during this time, some of these women will forever hold a special place in her heart and she is forever grateful to them. Candi and I would also like to thank our Attorneys that worked so diligently for her release, the US Embassy for their constant full support, the leadership of Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, Candi’s employers OCH Regional Medical Center in
Starkville, Ms for all of their understanding, support and so many others that never ceased to step up to the plate to help out in any way.
There have been several questions about how Candi came to have the coins. As she worked with the people, several gave her coins and other items as gestures of gratitude. We did not realize that these gifts had historical value but simply accepted them as gifts of appreciation. The Macedonian authorities were acting according to their law in this situation. We are grateful that the matter was resolved, even though as an American citizen it was difficult to understand the legal system and their system of justice. We are grateful that we were served by a myriad of people who will never be forgotten. The Macedonian people are gracious are some of the most beautiful, gracious, appreciative people that one could ever meet, for that experience we both will be forever grateful.
Thank you again for all of your support, may God bless each and every one of you."
Marc and Candi Dunlap and family