SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – An Evangel professor and his wife are back home after being stuck in Israel for nearly a week after the attacks on the Gaza Strip.
“In Israel, things blow over pretty quickly,” said Lacey Nunnally, who used to teach at Evangel alongside her husband, Wave. “So we thought this could blow over in two or three days. And so we’re just going to ride it out. Then things started unfolding.”
Evangel professor of Biblical studies Wave Nunnally and his wife, Lacey, were flying to Israel when the war began.
“When we heard from the State Department that Americans needed to be looking for a way out, and then when we heard the call for a worldwide jihad that would include West Bank and Israel and the whole Palestinian population, we knew that it was time to start looking for a way out,” Wave said.
The Nunnallys were staying about 70 miles from the Gaza Strip.
“It was surreal to think that we were sitting by a pool where everything was so nice, but yet it was so chaotic and so much has happened that it took us a while to sit there and to determine what we were going to do,” Lacey said.
The Nunnallys lived in Israel for a year back in 1982. They made multiple trips by leading tours there.
“When it’s considered normal in Israel, you do see patrols,” said Lacey. “You do see helicopters patrolling the coast. You do see tanks at times and things like that when it’s normal in Israel because they’re protecting themselves. But this time it was something very, very different.”
The Nunnallys thought about riding out the conflict for a few days with the hope that everything would resolve. Their hotel was considered safe, and soon families who were evacuated from the war zone were brought there to stay.
“The look that people had in their eyes was the look of people who were stunned and terrified,” Wave said.
Adding to the stress, two of their friends flew into Israel on the same day. The Nunnallys tell OzarksFirst that they felt responsible for their well-being. They were able to find a flight out of the country on Friday.
“It was just so chaotic for about a good 24 hours before we left,” Lacey said. “We were strategizing hour by hour. We made up a decision as a little foursome team to go to the airport Thursday morning because we felt that if that jihad happened, we might not get to the airport.”
After multiple layovers, the Nunnallys were finally back in the States.
“I did not know the load I had on my shoulders until we landed in Chicago and I felt this ability to breathe in,” Lacey said.
“It was like the weight of responsibility off of our shoulders for these others that were with us,” Wave said.
The Nunnallys tell OzarksFirst it felt good to know they were in a safe and secure place, and were glad to be home.
Almost a hundred people greeted them at the airport gates in Springfield
“That was just such a neat feeling of support and knowing that they were behind us, they were praying for us, they loved us, and they were so excited and relieved to see us get home,” Wave said.
“Will we go back to Israel? You better believe we will,” Lacey said.