Puerto Rico's "Maria"
Puerto Rico hit in 2017 by "Hurricane Maria" the worst
Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory on Sept.20, 2017, ultimately killing at least 2,975 people; it was the deadliest U.S.-based natural disaster in 100 years. Over 200,000 Puerto Ricans left for the mainland, many temporarily and some permanently. Island residents had no full power for almost a year.
A "Hope Response" Team went just as the Army Corp of Engineers were pulling out with only the core of the power restored and the hardwork of rebuilding was beginning. They felt forgotten and abandoned. It was like as though they felt they were crawling from beneath a great mountain of debris of what some called a "demon" or like what they imagined an atomic bomb to be like. They shared how they saw at this time the "worst" and the "best" in people which made them think of God and what He sees.
Grief beyond words would overtake anyone with all the loss we saw and heard about. Several shared how touched they were that we stopped and asked "how are you and where were you and your family when it hit?" They felt seen and valued to be asked as so many relief agencies before us had been busy about getting life-saving necessities to every home that time for such questions was not possible.
A man told us his wife died shortly after from all the fear. Neighbors said close to 50 youth in their small area neighborhood took their own lives after Maria hit. We opened up God's Word to them with a Hope Tract on the comfort of God and how this was never His plan from the beginning but rather for us to live in paradise in a perfect relationship with their Maker! We helped more than we could count to enter into that personal trust in Jesus as their Savior and Lord through the gentle response to their "why God?" and "Does God care?" questions. On rain days we took this into elderly centers, prison rehabs, hospitals, town businesses and children daycare centers. The team shared Hope Stories that helped to build faith in their darkest hour.
Power in Numbers