Religious Family Abandons US ... Act of God Sends It Right Back

Sailed away to avoid gov't control

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 11, 2013 2:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – Fed up with what they saw as government interference in religion, an Arizona family decided to abandon America, get on a boat, and "see where God led us." Turns out, God led them ... right back to the US. Make of that what you will. The family, Hannah Gastonguay, 26, husband Sean, 30, his father Mike, and their 3-year-old and 8-month-old daughters, had originally planned to reach the island nation of Kiribati, but after just a few weeks at sea, their boat had been hit by multiple storms, and was so damaged they could no longer go on. The family was eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing boat, and was taken to Chile, where the US embassy is sending them back home, the AP reports.

By the time the five family members were rescued, they were down to "some juice and some honey" and whatever fish they could catch, but they "didn't feel like we were going to die or anything. We believed God would see us through," says Hannah Gastonguay. "They were looking for a kind of adventure; they wanted to live on a Polynesian island but they didn't have sufficient expertise to navigate adequately," says the police officer who took their statement in Chile. The Gastonguays say they will now return to Arizona and "come up with a new plan."

Mike Gastonguay disembarks in the port city of San Antonio, Chile, followed by his son Sean, top left in beige shirt, daughter-in-law Hannah, and the couple's children.   (AP Photo/Las Ultimas Noticias)
Sean Gastonguay holds the hand of his 3-year-old daughter Ardith as they arrive in the port city of San Antonio, Chile.   (AP Photo/Las Ultimas Noticias)
Hannah Gastonguay, holding her baby Rahab, is followed by her husband Sean and the couple's 3-year-old daughter Ardith, as they disembark in the port city of San Antonio, Chile.   (AP Photo/Las Ultimas Noticias)
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