Friday, December 29, 2017

After Maria in Puerto Rico

Our family was prepared for Hurricane Irma, but minimally affected, so life went on as we scheduled some of us to head to St. Thomas for a relief trip as Julian planned to head to Haiti.  Maria changed our plans.  For months.
All around our home, this is what it looked like.
A mini landslide brought down huge trees across the road an onto our roof

Flooding on our street

tarps and reinforcements on the wooded room in our rental house saved the structure
The street before it was cleared

progress, but so much work!  Our van was totalled.

Trees everywhere

probably our greatest physical asset for some months

Our home was under there.  We were safe.

These photos are just from our home in Mayaguez.  It took about 5 days of the neighbors working together with machetes and chainsaws to be able to have one lane of the road cleared to traffic.  Julian walked out to check on a nearby senior lady with health concerns every day.  Our water was off for several weeks and our electric was off until the last week of November.  The used generator we purchased years ago, was an amazing help, but very expensive.  We ran it about 4 hours a day to keep some items in the fridge cold enough to hold us through and not need to shop as frequently. Stores were dismally understocked for weeks.

Phones were down throughout the island for a scary amount of time.  Local radio broadcast only LOCAL news and we were thrust into a crazy season of not understanding the impact around us.  Our college girls had to endure dramatized news, not knowing how we were doing.  That was probably the hardest thing for all of us.

Spurred on by generous gifts from many away and here on the ground, we began making our own adjustments while reaching out to impact the great needs around us.  We co-labored with other ministries and our own church to provide spiritual encouragement and practical help.  We were able to give solar lights, food, water and filters, assisted in serving warm meals and began using a solar cinema with the "Jesus" film.  Donations also brought 10 turkey meals to needy families.  Amazing opportunitites are opened to the Gospel at this time!

Helping serve food with the Family Church in Atalya

behind Mayaguez, Leguisamo with members of Union church

team in Rincon with Family Church and CRU
Demo of solar lights - gets dark at 6pm.  Many hours without light!

Turkey dinner with a generator.  Guests are graduate students from Haiti and Dom. Republic

Teen friends packing donations

Grocery stores without freezer stock

transformer that fell in front of our home

Where we once walked the beach in Rincon

Beachfront destruction in Rincon

Senior we found in home without electric.  Both in wheelchairs.  Alone.

Solar lights are really awesome donations!  Charging up.

Our son reading by solar light.

Sizable family we visited many times who had a bedridden grandpa.  No water (for first visits). No electric.  For months.

Donations and volunteers from Inspiration Chrisitan Academy joining with other donations.

Curious situation where it appeared as thought the roof and walls flew off, but left the furniture!

The day we rejoiced because electric was getting restored at our home!

Came home from bringing kids to music classes and we had light!

Sector Rolon/Pilones toward Las Marias--great needs even before storm.  No electric expected for many months.

Friends from Florida joined us to go up to the mountains.