We got power back this afternoon so I was able to charge my phone!
Today the teams wrapped up the work that we had been doing at the various sites to the best that we could. Many of the jobs were long-term and it was a little tough to know that we wouldn't be there to see them through, but we left them knowing that we were able to leave a positive impact on the families and the worksites.
As we were sharing thoughts on the trip during devo tonight, we came to a realization (with a little help from Michelle) that we may have come to this community to make a difference in Christ, but this community has made just as much of an impact on us. Each and every one of us was able to take something from this trip back home with us. Whether that's the memories we had or the relationships we formed, I think that we'll all remember this trip for a long, long time.
Puerto Rico Blog
We got power back this afternoon so I was able to charge my phone!
Today was probably the hottest day since we've been here -- and man did we feel it. I think we were all relieved when the afternoon rain came through and cooled it all off.
During devotional tonight, Amber had us all share a moment where we saw God within the team. Some shared about how they found inspiration in the work their team was doing, and some shared the Christ-like qualities they saw in their team members. One name that came up multiples times was Larry, the team leader for one of the worksites.
Larry is a local pastor in San Juan and has been leading the team of JT, Hannah, Amber, and Baker. Today I got the opportunity to join their worksite and personally experience some of the ways Larry embodies Christ in his everyday actions.
When I asked JT to describe Larry, he said, "He was in the streets the day after the hurricane hit, bringing people food and water. I remember him saying that the silver lining in it all, was that it brought the community closer together. And I think that shows how much heart he has."
FYI We lost power here tonight so if I don't get the chance to charge my phone, I might not be able to send a post tomorrow. (so we hope he gets a chance to charge it up!)
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!! Today we went to church at the local Methodist Church in Arecibo. At one point during the sermon, we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves in front of the congregation and talk a little about the work we've been doing. Because of the fact that the primary language of Puerto Rico is Spanish, most of the service was in Spanish. When it came time for the sermon though, a member of the church translated from the whole sermon for our team! This was a really cool experience and something we were glad that we got to be a part of.
After lunch and a quick stop at Walmart, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach. The weather was beautiful and the water was relaxing. Then, we ended the day with dinner at a local restaurant with fish tacos, empanadas, and everything in between. Finally, Hannah led us in an evening devo to help us refocus on our last few days here in Puerto Rico.
Oh, and on Sunday, May 13th the Headband Homies were born.
Today was our last work day of the week as tomorrow we'll observe the Sabbath by going to church in the morning and taking the day off work. Luckily, a number of the teams were able to finish the projects that they've been working on, including JT, Hannah, Baker, and Amber's team, and the team of Michelle, Kyle, Tayla, Cyd, and myself. There were a lot of mixed emotions during tonight's "highs and lows" of accomplishment, but also sadness for having to say goodbye to the families and people we've been able to help.
For me, today I had to say goodbye to someone who had a huge impact on me these past few days. I was blessed to have been able to interact with an older Puerto Rican native, named Señiorita Raquel. Raquel has a loving spirit that's unlike anything I've ever seen. She spoke almost no English and my Spanish is limited to what I've learned on Duolingo since February. Despite that, I was able to foster a relationship with her to the point that I felt that saying goodbye to her was like saying goodbye to an old friend. I am super glad we were able to construct a safe home for her and her son to live in and I will miss mi abuela nuevo.
Today was another wonderful day here for the whole team. It started by a group of us getting up at 5am to watch the sunrise which was BEAUTIFUL. Today was also the last day the other mission team was staying in the camp and we got to sing a few worship songs (en español!) this morning before breakfast. Then, we headed out for a day of work that included one team completing putting up an entire cement wall made of cement blocks they had poured the previous day!
We all decided to end the workday a little early to do some exploring of the island and head over to do a guided tour of one of thousands of Puerto Rico's caves. The one we got to see translated roughly to "Window of God", because the far end of the cave opened to a beautiful view of mountains and valleys. We had dinner (rice, beans, and chicken!!) and another spiritually fulfilling devotional led by Kyle.
¡Hasta mañana! (See you tomorrow!)
Here's a picture of the beautiful sunrise this morning!!
What an absolutely blessed day today was! Tonight at devo (led by Drew), we shared highs and lows as a whole team and it seemed to be the general consensus that today was a fantastic day. We split up into 5 teams today, and lots of work was accomplished today at all the worksites. We all felt the presence of God when Riley, a Cumberland Wesley student, shared a touching story about how the people she was working with came together to pray over one of them, William who was battling with cancer.
This afternoon, many of us got back from work early enough that we were able to have some team bonding over volleyball, basketball, and soccer (I for one, was reminded by a ball to the face that I am *no good* at volleyball but it was fun nevertheless).
Puerto Rico is beautiful, and the hearts of the people here are even more so. Every single person has been so welcoming and friendly to us. It's incredible. I can't wait to see what Christ has in store for us for the rest of our trip.
Today we broke into our four teams of 4-6 people and got acclimated to our worksites. JT, Amber, Baker, and Hannah went into town and pressure washed houses. Bea, Gerson, Meg, and Riley were working on installing hurricane clips and braces on a roof. A team of Kyle, Tayla, Maddie, Michelle, Tyler, and myself, and Drew, Megan, Paige and John Weaver were installing a metal roof. Thankfully, I think most of the teams were able to get some work done before the rain came in this afternoon. The locals that we've been able to interact with so far have been incredibly welcoming to us - especially our translators Syd and Acsei. Tonight we're having rice and beans for dinner, followed by a devotional led by myself. Then, we'll all probably turn in well before the 10:30pm curfew so we can be up and at 'em early tomorrow morning!
This awesome team is a wonderful mix of students and staff from the Auburn Wesley Foundation, the Middle Tennessee State University Wesley Foundation, and Cumberland University. Please keep them in your prayers. Their travel days are May 8 and May 16. On Sunday, they will attend a local church and have time to enjoy seeing a little of Puerto Rico. On the days in-between, they will be working with the Puerto Rico United Methodist Church on home repair in the wake of recent hurricanes.
If you'd like to lift them in prayer by name, team members are: Baker, Bea, Josh, Tayla, Drew, Tyler, Paige, Kyle, Riley, Nicole, JT, Michelle, Gerson, Megan, Maddy, Hannayh, John and Megan.
Since Josh has very low signal and no internet, he's sending texts to Auburn to be posted. We're excited to be able to catch a glimpse of their trip! Here's what he sent Sunday night:
We're all pretty tired after a long day of travel (total of 12 hours of travel today!) but we're excited for our first day of work tomorrow. We got into Hatillo around 5:30, met Joey and the other camp staff, and had Puerto Rican lasagna for dinner. JT and Tayla led us in an awesome worship/devotional at 7:30 to prep us for this week of serving Christ.