By Bill Bray, ASSIST News Service Special Correspondent
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (ANS, October 27, 2017) – Christian Aid Mission has airlifted the first of 30 portable generators for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. The island has been without electrical power now for over six weeks.
“We just can’t thank our donors for this outpouring of generosity to our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico!” says President Cynthia Finley.“So far, we have received enough funding to purchase more than 30 generators,” said the 70-year-old president who took over the leadership of the mission when her husband retired in November, 2015. Christian Aid, founded in 1953, is one of the oldest indigenous mission support agencies in the world.
Latin American Director Luis Janiero, who oversees the campaign, has been hindered by poor communication and multiple disasters. At the time Hurricane Maria struck, he was also collecting and distributing aid for earthquake survivors in Mexico.
On Friday, October 20, the first shipment of generators was airlifted to a local church in Puerto Rico that serves as the operations headquarters for the distribution of the generators. The church is distributing the generators directly to believers in need, avoiding all bureaucratic red tape.
In the interior of the island, entire cities are still without power. For those whose illnesses require them to keep their medication refrigerated, a generator is a life-saving piece of equipment.
Many of the generator recipients live in complete and utter poverty, yet continue to give sacrificially to the work of the Lord in Puerto Rico and throughout the world.
“Today, they need our help to get back on their feet,” wrote Finley in a special alert emailed to donors today, “Thank you for helping them. Though you may not receive recognition from the world, you are well known to the Lord. As Matthew 25:31-45 states, what you did for the ‘least of these’ you did for Christ.”
The need for generators is still great, and Christian Aid is planning to send more generators as they receive contributions. Because an organization has agreed to transport the generators for free, the cost of getting generators into the hands of recipients has been reduced from $600 to $400 per generator.
Christian Aid originally planned to deliver on a 50-foot boat sailing from Florida. Contributions for Puerto Rican relief can be made online using Gift Code 097DIS-PR at www.ChristianAid.com
The entire electrical power grid was destroyed as 155 mile-per-hour winds leveled the island September 20, and it will take months to restore electricity. In one day, the territory of Puerto Rico, went from a positive supporter of missions to an object of Christian charity and outreach.
As reported earlier by ASSIST News Service, Luis Janiero says he personally sees the hurricane as an unprecedented open door for Christian witness. “This is an opportunity for Christians and churches to show practical love, to shine a light for Jesus Christ among Puerto Ricans, so many who have been caught up in legalism and cultic religion.
“This is a way for new spiritual life to arise,” he insists optimistically, “we are facing a massive disaster, but we have a people on the ground there and it’s a great opportunity for them to show God’s love.”
Glenview Baptist, a partner church of Christian Aid in Ponce, has given up to 30% of their missions’ budgets to indigenous missions in Nepal and China. Now, the storm has knocked out their powerful TV ministry to the 3.4 million people of Puerto Rico. Like other projects, Luis says he has not been able to re-establish communications.
Thankfully, less than 40 were killed in hurricane but thousands and still missing and 80% of the homes and buildings have been destroyed. The indirect death toll continues to rise daily. Disaster fatigue and shortages are being blamed by some for the slow response of American aid to the island, but many Puerto Ricans feel they are being discriminated against.
Puerto Rico is still seen as a mission field by some although it has more churches per square mile than most urban areas in the mainland USA. It was awarded to the United States as spoils after the Spanish American War in the1898 Treaty of Paris along with Guam and the Philippines.
Photo captions: 1) How the media reported the situation. 2) Devastation in Puerto Rico. 3) Bill Bray.
About the Writer: Bill Bray is a Christian author and missionary journalist who specializes in Christian reporting for ASSIST News. He ministers free of charge and depends on faith offerings and gifts to carry on his journalistic mission. Gifts for his support may be sent to www.OSMission.org, Gift Code 099-WTB. He is the author of, Called to All: How I discovered the power of a yielded life from WestBow Press. He welcomes interaction with our readers and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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