Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico

In response to the devastating one-two punch leveled at Puerto Rico first by Hurricane Irma and most recently by Hurricane Maria, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), in partnership with American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), will launch a multi-year initiative, “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico,” Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray announced today.

“Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico” seeks to raise $1 million within the next three to six months through One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) to support rebuilding the homes, churches and lives of our brothers and sister in Christ. ABHMS has pledged $25,000 to launch this major renewal effort, matching OGHS funds already earmarked for Puerto Rico recovery.

“Within the next three to five years,” Haggray said, “we will work with our American Baptist partners to restore all 114 churches and nine missions in the Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico as well as Corporacion Milagros del Amor and Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico.”

News & Updates

Give

Donations may be made via your church; via credit card online at abhms.org > GIVE NOW; or via a check designated to “OGHS-Puerto Rico” and mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA, 19482-0851.

One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check or, if giving online, in the “comment” box.

Resources

Sign up for updates as they develop about recovery plans, ways you can help and volunteer mission opportunities.

Litanies, and other church resources written by ABHMS staff and submitted by American Baptists, are available free of charge.

In a powerful interview, Laura Ayala, pastor of First Baptist Church of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, speaks to the devastation, infrastructure challenges and scarcity of desperately needed resources as a result of the impact of Hurricane Maria.

With many lines of communication still crippled, the church has become a communication hub, not only for members of the church, but for all of Rio Piedras. The Red Cross has established a base in the church sanctuary which is currently housing 125 responders.

“The best thing we have seen is the will of people to do something,” Ayala said. “We’re not just going to sit back and wait for the government or FEMA or the municipal government. We are working.”

Rev. Salvador Orellana, ABHMS national coordinator of Latino Ministries and deputy director of logistics and relationships for ABHMS’ “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico” multi-year initiative, discusses the ways in which American Baptist individuals and churches can help Puerto Rico recover in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria. In addition, he shares details about the destruction and challenges he witnessed firsthand on a visit to the island after the storms.