Rebuilding lives in Puerto Rico

World Renew and ADRA team up with local partners to rebuild homes damaged by last year’s hurricanes


After Hurricane Maria destroyed Linda’s home, World Renew and ADRA are building her and her children a new house.
Credit: World Renew

Team members of World Renew and ADRA, in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico where they are collaborating to rebuild homes.
Credit: World Renew

“Linda is a single mom in Puerto Rico who is raising five of her kids by herself,” said George and Helen Andringa, World Renew DRS volunteers.

“After the hurricane, Linda felt lost and hopeless. She was in danger of losing custody of her kids because they were homeless. World Renew DRS, in partnership with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), got in touch with Linda to ask about her needs. Then, a team of volunteers from World Renew DRS and ADRA, built a 3-bedroom home for Linda’s family that can withstand the high winds that buffet her hilltop land. Linda can once again live with hope and raise her children in their new home.”

Hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through Puerto Rico in September 2017, interrupting lives and destroying homes across the island. World Renew is working in the city of Mayaguez with ADRA to rebuild homes in the community.

World Renew is also working with a historically Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, which was originally founded by a CRC missionary. When Hurricane Maria hit, the pastor in Fajardo reached out to their founder, Ron Sprik, who connected them with World Renew.

Len and Carrie Blauwkamp, the World Renew DRS regional managers for Puerto Rico, have been meeting with the pastors of the church. Through the church leaders, the couple met Ramón, an elderly man who has lung cancer.

“Ramon lives in three rooms on the second floor of his home. He also takes care of his disabled brother who lives on the first floor. The hurricane almost entirely blew away the roof of the house, and the hole is covered with a tarp that is only somewhat leak-proof. Ramón received $8,000 in government assistance to repair his home, but his nephew stole the money and ran off,” said the Blauwkamps. “Now Ramón is left with no resources to repair his home.”

The congregation in Fajardo is in touch with Ramon and 20 other families who need help rebuilding their homes. World Renew is working with them to take the preliminary steps of organizing needs and offering support.

“Thanks to the generous outpouring of financial donations to World Renew, we will be able to help hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico for quite some time,” said Bob Laarman, World Renew DRS Director.

“Ministry in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and Irma involves special challenges and opportunities. We are excited to have quality local partners with which to work,” Laarman said. “Those who volunteer with DRS on the island will have interesting experiences and learn a lot.”

A version of this article first appeared on the World Renew Website.

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