On May 1, Medina began serving as the initiative’s onsite volunteer coordinator. As such, she coordinates all ABHMS volunteers in Puerto Rico. Her responsibilities include assigning work and securing housing.
“The people of Puerto Rico are resilient,” she says. “ABHMS is giving us hope in a moment so important, when we still have areas without power or running water and when the political and economic situation of the country is so critical. Is a great honor for me to be a part of this effort to rebuild, restore and renew Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.”
Medina has led mission trips for Baptist Church of Guaynabo, where she serves as coordinator of the Ministry of Youth and president of the Sabbath Ministry. She has been active in recovery efforts in Puerto Rico since hurricanes Irma and Maria. In addition, Medina is finishing her Master of Divinity degree at Puerto Rico Evangelical Seminary.
Beginning May 16, Rivera Padua will serve as the effort’s construction coordinator. As such, he will be responsible for all construction aspects and will oversee the repairing or rebuilding of churches and homes to safe, sanitary, secure and functional condition.
“Throughout my ministry,” he says, “I had the opportunity to serve our people in different ways, helping them to face their difficult times, including when the island faced hurricane seasons. I want to be remembered with a Bible in one hand, and saw and hammer in the other.”
An American Baptist-endorsed chaplain and ordained minister, Rivera Padua has pastored several congregations within Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico, most recently as associate minister at First Baptist Church, Caguas. He has provided pastoral care, social aid and reconstruction support to many churches and communities in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Hurricane Georges in 1998 and Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Victoria Goff, ABHMS director of Disaster Recovery for “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico,” says that she is excited to welcome the new personnel to the team.
“Both bring extensive knowledge of Puerto Rico and the needs of many on the Island,” Goff says. “Abigail’s experience in leading mission teams will be an asset, as will Hector’s experience in rebuilding from previous hurricanes. I look forward to working with both of them, as we seek to rebuild, restore and renew Puerto Rico.”
Adds the Rev. Salvador Orellana, deputy director of Logistics and Relationships for “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico”: “I am confident that Abigail’s and Hector’s gifts, passion, experience and commitment will well represent ABHMS on the ground and be a blessing for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico in the recovery process.”
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.