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McMullin welcomed home

McMullin welcomed home

Family, M.V. Baptists greet recently released Haiti missionary in T.F.

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Steve McMullin arrived to the warm embrace of family and friends Saturday at Joslin Field, Magic Valley Regional Airport.

McMullin, a member of Eastside Baptist Church in Twin Falls, arrived to the airport at about noon.

His arrival was announced only to family and friends, said Paul Rodriguez, missions director of the Magic Valley Baptist Association.

Eastside members are still awaiting the arrival of their pastor, Paul Thompson, and his 19-year-old son, Silas Thompson.

“There was a lot of hugging,” Rodriguez said about McMullin’s homecoming.

“It was a really nice gathering, probably about 50 people,” said Bill Pyron, a former member of Eastside and friend to McMullin and Thompson.

Pyron, co-founder of Hansen Baptist Fellowship, said he went to the airport to welcome McMullin but did not have a chance to speak with him.

Most of the people who came to greet McMullin were members of his church, but some came from as far away as Gooding to welcome the returning missionary.

McMullin, and Paul and Silas Thompson were part of a group of 10 Southern Baptist missionaries, mostly from Idaho, arrested three weeks ago while trying to take 33 children across the Hatian border into the Dominican Republic without proper documents.

They went to the earthquake-ravaged country to help provide shelter for orphaned children, they said, but were charged with kidnapping and criminal association.

Eight of the missionaries were freed Wednesday after Judge Bernard Saint-Vil granted them provisional release. Two of the missionaries, including the group’s leader, Laurie Silsby, and Charisa Coulter remain jailed in Port-au-Prince while the investigation continues.

Rodriguez said McMullin didn’t say much about his ordeal, but he had something to say to McMullin.

“I said, ‘Steve, good job. Good job.’ He said, ‘I didn’t do anything.’ But he did,” Rodriguez said. “He handled himself in a very Christian way through all of this.”

After a while the group at the airport broke out singing “Amazing Grace,” Rodriguez said.

The McMullins declined comment to the Times-News Saturday evening.

Rodriguez said he did not know when Thompson would arrive from Kansas, where he’s staying with family.

“They want to stay there for a little while. That’s what I heard,” he said.

Members of Eastside said they also did not know when Thompson would return.

Andrew Weeks may be reached at 735-3233 or aweeks@magicvalley.com.

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