adapted from an update by District Superintendent Javier Gomez
On September 18, 2022, Hurricane Fiona, a category one storm, hit Puerto Rico, leaving in its wake over 30 inches of rain in some areas and causing widespread, catastrophic flooding in parts of the island and a total power outage for the island during the storm. This tragic event happened almost five years to the date of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.
In the past 48 hours, the District Office’s response and recovery team has been able to contact 48 of the 53 district churches. We praise God that all the pastoral families contacted have reported they are doing well. Even though access to some of our church buildings has not been possible because of the floods, most report minor to no damage to the facility. One church has been directly impacted by flood waters, receiving three to four feet of water during the storm.
The Alliance church in Ponce, on the southern part of the island, is grateful a huge tree in their property fell the “right” way, completely missing the building from what would have been its probable destruction. The director of the Alliance Theological Seminary reports no damage to their building.
Sadly, we also share that so far, we have identified at least five families amongst our Alliance churches greatly impacted during the storm, losing their homes, business, or everything inside their homes because of the floods. Local churches are caring for and identifying ways to help these families. We are still gathering information in this area and expect this number to increase. More updates will follow as information is available.
News reports and images of the hurricane’s impact are impressive. The reality of facing this type of devastation again has a significant emotional impact that is very difficult to quantify.
At this writing, 80 percent of the island’s population are still without electric power and 50 percent are without water. Still, we recognize God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, and presence during these difficult times.
How to Help
We are grateful for the Alliance family’s prayers and presence during this time. Please continue to pray for God’s help, provision, and comfort after this devastating tragedy.
You can support Church Ministries as they come alongside the people of Puerto Rico and help local churches respond to Hurricane Fiona.
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UPDATE FROM THE PUERTO RICO DISTRICT – September 9, 2022
Almost two weeks after the direct impact of Hurricane Fiona to the island of Puerto Rico, the response and recovery team of the District Office is ready to provide an update to the Alliance family. As previously reported, our pastoral families and church buildings fared well during the storm. Everyone in the island has faced the slow and inconsistent recovery of the utilities. At the writing of this update, electricity has been restored to over 80% of the customers of the sole company that distributes the electric power in the island and over 90% have water.
Amid this crisis, we are joyful to report how the love of Christ has been evident through the ministry of the church by being present in the local communities they serve and beyond their city limits. Two churches came together to help a family in the town of Adjuntas with food and a position bed for a quadriplegic patient; the pastor of a church whose roof collapsed during hurricane María, mobilizing together with members of the church to take two truckloads of water to towns in the center of the island; the Alliance church in Morovis providing breakfast to 60 residents of an elderly nursing home; an Alliance church in San Juan taking provisions to Ponce in the southern part of the island; the widow of a former Alliance pastor, who lost her home during a fire and was blessed during that difficult time now sharing the grace she once received. These are just some stories of how by being present we give witness to the gospel of Christ in our communities and how “through the church, the manifold wisdom of God is made known” (Eph. 3:10), as the apostle Paul writes to the church in Ephesus.
As we advance in the recovery phase of this latest hurricane impact, we are grateful for God’s provision, the support of the Alliance family, continue to identify opportunities to be present and lift Christ in our communities and come along our brothers and sisters in the state of Florida who have suffered, as we have in the past, the impact of a major hurricane.