On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, six volunteers from First Baptist Church, Janesville arrived in Puerto Rico to help with the Hurricane Maria relief efforts. Volunteers flew into San Juan, then traveled 30 miles South to the town of Cidra. After seeing much destruction and devastation along the way, the 6 church members concentrated their rebuilding efforts in Cidra by repairing a church sanctuary roof that had been badly damaged by the hurricane.
The volunteers divided their duties between cleaning the debris from the church, restoring the front of the building, and repairing the damaged roof. While clearing away broken pieces of floor, ceiling, and walls from inside the church, volunteers needed to wear hazmat suits to protect themselves from harmful mold that had set in from the wind and water damage. Although they only had approximately a week to complete the job, they managed to repair the roof in time for the Sunday morning service. Attending the service themselves, they could feel the gratitude from the church members, many who had not been able to use the sanctuary for 5 months.
A future trip is in the works. Even though the volunteers think of themselves as a small group, together, many small groups can create big change. This mission trip opportunity was made available to them through their partnership with ABMen (American Baptist Men USA).
As a region we continue to raise matching funds for Puerto Rico relief – you can read a prior article about this on the website: First Baptist Church of Eau Claire takes lead in pledging support for long-term “Rebuilding, Restoring, and Renewing Puerto Rico”
View the photo and video gallery: 2018 Puerto Rico Mission Team
You can read about the journey here: Janesville WKOW and Janesville GazetteXtra