Five youths at Bethany Evangelism Presbyterian Church initiated the mission trip because they wanted to assist with the hurricane relief efforts. It finished with 38 people helping with repairs at a camp, a rehab center, the American School and visiting residents at the Elderly Center. We had signed up by January and we later learned that we were an answer to their prayers. Many of the owners and directors became emotional when they told us that they did not have the money for the necessary repairs, the materials needed or the labor to fix it. They had prayed faithfully, asking God for help. They were amazed at what strangers did for them. We each had our reasons for giving up a week of vacation time from work or a school spring break; it was a calling to serve.
The owners worked alongside of us as the restoration began. Some cried when they saw the amount of work that we had completed in a few days. The electricians and carpenters among our group said the workload could have taken up to 10 days. We learned that the camp, which will house future groups like ours to serve in other areas, was on the verge of being shut down. The owner had little money and no help to restore the buildings and replace the roofs. We were touched by his emotional reaction to seeing the restored camp because we had not expected to receive such gratitude from someone who was incredibly thankful for us.
|Photo by Ginger Rae Dunbar - Pictured is the camp site after the church members helped restore the roofs of the buildings and clear the debris from the yard.|
The church services had been relocated to the school because our sister church was damaged by Hurricane Maria. We attended the outdoor Palm Sunday service with a beautiful view of a palm tree. We helped restore the auditorium in the school where the Holy Thursday service was held, the first indoor service since the hurricane. It was nice to attend that service where we could see our finished work of replacing tiles in the ceiling and the floor. We didn’t feel like workers, we felt like we were a part of their community because they welcomed us in like family.