Eighteen-year-old Aaron Rose was found alive and well in his kayak Thursday, floating off the coast of the Honduras, after going missing the previous day.
He was rescued by helicopter about 18 miles off the coast. His father went aboard a different plane where he watched the helicopter take his son out of the sea. As Rose was being rescued, his father repeatedly shouted, "Thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus!"
The teenager from Texas, who recently graduated from Little Cypress-Mauriceville High as class salutatorian, went on a missionary trip with his family to Central America. On Wednesday, while they were on Roatan, he reportedly jumped in his kayak and paddled out to sea because he wanted to watch the sunset. A few minutes later, his father could no longer see him on the horizon, Mail Online reports.
When he did not return home, his father, who is a pastor at Community Church in Orange, took a picture of the Roatan coastline where his son went missing and posted the photo on social media with the words "Thank You Father that my son will never be truly lost or alone because of Your love."
Back in Orange, Community Church called for a time of prayer and fasting for the teen's safety after he was reported missing. The church's Facebook page announced, "Will you join us as we continue to pray for Aaron? Will you join us with prayer and fasting for Pastor and his family? Pray Aaron to safety! The sanctuary doors are open all day ... join us!"
The search for Rose was suspended Wednesday night because of rough sea conditions. On Thursday, after the U.S. Embassy obtained an approval to use military resources, the search resumed and the boy was spotted by a Honduran pilot. A joint U.S. and Honduras rescue mission was carried out to take Rose to safety, according to local media outlet 12News.
According to Rose, as he was in his kayak watching the sunset on Wednesday, strong winds began to blow his kayak out to sea. He told his family that the first 30 minutes of the ordeal were the most difficult. After struggling with the angry weather, he relaxed and sat back and put His trust in God.
"He's alive and well since being released from the hospital," his mother, Mary Beth Rose, posted on her Facebook page. She said the doctors just gave him painkillers and told him to put aloe vera on his skin to treat the sunburn.
"Aaron Rose has been found alive!!! Rejoice for the Lord our God is good!!!" the church posted on their Facebook page. In another post, the church showed a picture of some members eating, saying their fasting has been turned to feasting because of the answered prayer.
Hours after being released from the hospital, and reuniting with his rescuers, Aaron Rose sent a statement to 12News.
"Being found was one of the most incredible moments of my life. I wouldn't say I lost hope, but I was never sure one way or the other how things would go. When I saw that the plane had seen me, I knew that it was finally over," he said.
The Rose family said they will not return to the U.S. yet in spite of what happened but will continue their missionary trip in Honduras.