By Carl Stagner
Puerto Rico, you are not forgotten. Politics and pop culture may have taken over the headlines in recent days, but the Church of God continues to pray for you and assess widespread destruction left behind by Hurricane Maria. The reports from the ground are sobering; decimated accurately describes the landscape, as an estimated 90 percent of structures sustained serious damage (especially those made of wood), including 80 percent of the electrical transmission infrastructure. Some estimates paint a grim picture, as power may not be restored for several months for the more than three million Americans who call Puerto Rico home. Puerto Rico is also home to three Church of God congregations, now desperately trying to clean up, while continuing fervently to represent the hope of Christ amid the humanitarian crisis of a lifetime. Early this week, the Church of God in Puerto Rico provided an update.
“To all our friends and family:
We want to let you know that, within the terrible circumstances…we are well and safe. The force of Hurricane Maria through our Puerto Rico was merciless…people are being evacuated or rescued from danger areas. The rain continues intermittently, which complicates the situation more. 100 percent of the island has no electricity and 85 percent has no water. All radio and television stations were out of the air, except one; all telecommunications were affected. We still do not know with certainty the magnitude of what has happened, since there are no telephones and no access to many of the towns and cities.
“The death count, although we expect it to be low, has not been completed. 90 percent of the wooden houses disappeared, and many concrete structures were affected; there are thousands of refugees since the day of the hurricane, and others who are still moving to shelters, because they lost everything they had. What we are experiencing today and the devastation of our island is unprecedented in modern history. But we know our God is still faithful and he will sustain us though it all. Thank you for your prayers!”
The words of Marcos and Mary Ann Martinez-Garcia serve as a reminder that disaster relief is needed now more than ever, even as media coverage wanes. Will you come alongside our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico during these incredibly challenging days? Your generous donation makes Church of God Disaster Relief possible.
Thank you, also, for your continued prayers and financial support of Church of God Disaster Relief in the days since the deadly earthquake in Mexico on September 19. We await damage reports from our Church of God brothers and sisters in Mexico City, home to at least one Church of God congregation. Give now at give.jesusisthesubject.org/disasterrelief.
About Church of God Disaster Relief—In crises where an immediate response is critical for relief, Church of God Ministries advances funds in anticipation of a gracious outpouring of donations from churches and individuals. Such advances are made from a limited Disaster Relief Fund maintained by Church of God Ministries for emergency response to disaster. Disaster Relief contributions are utilized to bring relief to those affected by disasters worldwide. Give now at give.jesusisthesubject.org/disasterrelief.