“Two years after Hurricane Maria, 25,000 people are still living under blue tarps, which are made to last only one month,” said Abigail Medina Betancourt, onsite volunteer coordinator for ABHMS’ “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico.”
The Rev. Salvador Orellana, director of the “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico” initiative, noted that ABHMS has been making an impact on the island since the onset of the natural disaster.
“One week after Hurricane Maria hit the island, we visited, saw the devastation, and cried and prayed with our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico,” he said.
He said that ABHMS has been faithfully supplying such necessary items as tarps, solar lights and chargers as well as propane tanks and stoves. ABHMS also renovated the Ruth Maldonado Retreat Center to house volunteers and hired Medina to coordinate volunteers onsite.
In addition to cleaning, painting, and repairing roofs for 58 houses on the island, Orellana said, ABHMS, through its volunteers, has helped a variety of entities, including 27 American Baptist Churches, Corporación Milagros del Amor and Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico.
More than 100 American Baptist volunteer teams and more than 1,000 volunteers have served in Puerto Rico in two years, said Medina.
Stressing the need that remains on the island, ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray said, “Last week Tropical Storm Karen pummeled Puerto Rico yet again with drenching rain. And that was after a 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit the Atlantic Ocean just north of the island on Monday night.”
Noting that our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico have waited too long for the safe, dry dwelling places that they deserve, he said, “We will raise $300,000 by Thanksgiving. Please join us as we bring hope, healing, and transformation to this beleaguered island.”
He expressed thanks for American Baptists’ generous support of ABHMS and its transformational ministries that strengthen Christian leaders and disciples and heal communities across Puerto Rico and the United States, before asking, “May we count on your generosity once again?”
Give online at abhms.org/givehope. Or mail your check—payable to American Baptist Home Mission Societies—to ABHMS Development, 1075 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406. One hundred percent of your gift is applied directly to rebuild and restore Puerto Rico and will provide additional support above and beyond denominational offerings.
The campaign’s theme is based on Isaiah 32:18: “My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”
For more information, contact Vincent W. Dent Sr., ABHMS’ chief development officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.