ABHMS’ Spanish-language video addresses needs in Puerto Rico

Laura Miraz, PhD., SPHR, ABHMS associate executive director, Human Resource Services, interviews the Rev. Salvador Orellana, ABHMS national coordinator of Latino Ministries and deputy director of logistics and relationships, for ABHMS’ “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico.”

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/18/17)—In a Spanish-language video posted today, the 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.

“As the airplaine was descending, I was able to see the destruction. I could see that the tops of buildings were missing or destroyed. Any vegetation was brown instead of green. Even the airport looked different, with hangars missing sections of roofing.”

Lack of electricity has been a major challenge, he says. At ABHMS partner organization Corporacion Milagros del Amor, for example, no air conditioning and sealed windows mean that staff and clients must survive high temperatures by remaining in an outdoor tent.

Long lines have resulted in lengthy wait times for fast food and gasoline, Orellana says. Communication has been another challenge because mobile phone signals are lacking.

“It’s common to see cars stopped on the shoulder of the highway because, when residents find a spot with a mobile phone signal, they stop,” he says. “You see 10, 20, 25 cars lined up.”

Orellana encourages American Baptists to pray for Puerto Rico and give generously to the “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico” initiative that seeks to raise $1 million through One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) to support rebuilding homes, churches and lives in Puerto Rico. ABHMS has pledged $25,000 to launch this major renewal effort, matching OGHS funds already earmarked for Puerto Rico recovery.

“Every single dollar donated to the initiative goes to Puerto Rico,” he says.

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. 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.

The video is available for viewing on ABHMS’ website at abhms.org > Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

 American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.

One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.