Stephen and Leilani Janzen and their three kids are now back home in Abbotsford after being stuck in Vietnam due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abbotsford family of 5 who was stuck in Vietnam is now back home

Janzen family sends ‘huge and heartfelt’ thank you to everyone who helped

An Abbotsford family of five who was stranded in Vietnam due to the COVID-19 pandemic is now safely back home.

Stephen and Leilani Janzen and their three kids – Keanan, 9, Keona, 8, and Mekaiah, 6 – arrived home earlier this week, Stephen said in an email to The Abbotsford News.

He said the embassy in Hanoi worked hard to get them a flight home after the family went public with their story.

“Since our story broke, we have experienced a huge outpouring of support from our family, friends and community,” Stephen said.

“We really believe we would not have gotten home without our story being brought to the public.”

Stephen said there are still other Canadian families stuck in Vietnam.

RELATED: Abbotsford family of 5 stuck in Vietnam during COVID-19 crisis

“This is through no fault of their own, as many Canadians, including our family, booked tickets when we heard our government urge Canadians to come home. The situation literally changed overnight with no warning and no flights.”

The Janzens began what was supposed to be a dream six-month vacation in Southeast Asia in November.

Stephen is a bus driver and their kids are home-schooled.

Their original flight home was booked for April 20, but they changed their plans as the pandemic spread.

On March 14, they booked a flight home from Hanoi on March 24. It was the first available flight they could find that was within their budget, as most ticket prices had skyrocketed from around $700 to a minimum of $3,200 per person.

But on March 19, the federal government urged all Canadians to return home as soon as possible.

The Janzens could not find an earlier flight, and then found that their flight on March 24 had been cancelled.

They tried to connect with Global Affairs Canada but they received repeated messages that the lines were full, or their calls were disconnected.

But the Janzens said they want to send a “huge and heartfelt thank you” to everyone involved in helping them getting back home, including those who called the office of Abbotsford MP Ed Fast and other government agencies.

“Our heart goes out to Canadians abroad who are trapped in ‘low priority’ countries. Perhaps the priority of ‘all Canadians’ during this time is something our leader can reflect and dialogue on,” Stephen said.

RELATED: Trudeau unveils emergency fund to help Canadians stuck abroad due to COVID-19

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Vikki Hopes | Reporter

@VikkiHopes

Send Vikki an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Clover Valley Beer Festival cancelled

Cloverdale beer fest falls victim to COVID-19

Surrey baseball association loses ‘a true giant’ in Bruce Lawson

Longtime volunteer ‘always gave his heart and soul to Surrey Canadian and the game of baseball’

Video tribute to KPU’s spring grad class also honours Andrew Petter, Bill Wright

‘We still want to celebrate our graduates, their achievements, and their resilience’

Surrey School District forecasts up to 30 per cent of students will return to class this week

Education Minister Rob Fleming said on June 1, about 60,000 B.C. children returned to school

South Surrey’s Darts Hill Garden Park to re-open – by appointment

City of Surrey-run garden will be open to visitors Thursday through Saturday

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read