by The California-Nevada Conference Puerto Rico Mission Team
Our third year assisting with the recovery from Hurricane Maria brought our mission team to a better healed Puerto Rico. We were pleased to see recovery progress, but with years still to go. Now chronicled as one of the worst hurricanes in history, the 2017 storm had left the island devastated.
This year’s mission was a return to the South Coast. Stationed at a former Methodist Retreat Center, we served clients in the nearby towns of Guayama, Arroyo and Maunabo.
Our team of twelve was from six different churches in the California-Nevada Conference.
We worked on six different homes this year, doing everything from roofing to painting to stucco to tiling. In addition to meaningful work, that was much appreciated, our presence was also about bringing hope and showing we care. We enjoyed getting to know the people we served. All of the families were gracious, heartwarming people.
Among our clients were Amaryllis and her young baby. There was Tony, a spunky 80 year old. Guadalupe has lived in her storm ravaged house for 40 years. Sonja and her family of ten hosted our efforts. And lastly, we served Hector and Nydia. Hector is 100% disabled from his Vietnam War duty. All welcomed complete strangers coming into their homes.
We enjoyed teaming with the construction workers assigned to each home. We benefited greatly from their patient guidance and familiarity with the tasks to be done.
As with all mission trips, one of the blessings is the team comradery of our week. It was amazing how we bonded around a common purpose. We shared meals, bunkbeds inches apart, dribbling showers and meaningful reflection time each evening.
Trips like this are always full of special moments. We attended worship at Iglesia Methodista Puerta Del Cielo. What a warm reception we received! We admired the dedication of the local Methodist staff supporting our work. Their commitment was remarkable.
As is our tradition, we presented each family with a homemade quilt as a remembrance of our friendship.
Looking back on this trip, we feel blessed to have the time, talent and means to make a difference in the lives of the people of Puerto Rico. We are determined to keep coming back until the recovery is complete.