When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, the island territory was bombarded by disaster. The huge storm pounded Puerto Rico, devastating the already struggling island. In November, 2019 a team of Woodlawn Chapel members visited the island to participate in a disaster relief trip sponsored by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

The team encountered destruction – and also powerful hope. While signs of struggling recovery were present, closer looks revealed homes that still roofs to be sealed. The disruption and trauma faced by Puerto Ricans changed their lives forever, and FEMA predicts full recovery will take at least a decade. While in Puerto Rico, our team worked on sealing roofs, and preparing surfaces for painting. We were touched by incredible displays of gratitude and faith – including gifts of food, friendship, and warm welcome.

Unfortunately, the island was rocked by a series of destructive earthquakes in early January that has once more brought destruction of homes, power lines, and neighborhoods. Rock slides have made travel precarious. Our partners in Anasco, PR report that they survived the earthquakes with only minor damage, but add that many in the area are struggling. We have committed to remain mission partners with Anasco as they continue their ministries of service and worship.

For updates regarding Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s commitment to Puerto Rico, click on the this link: https://pda.pcusa.org/situation/puerto-rico/

Puerto Ricans are people of joyful faith, even in times of struggle. What rang in our ears was the constant prayer: “In Christ, we can do everything.”