Update on Puerto Rico: A Letter from Mike Sohm
Dear Alliance Family,
I spent an hour on the phone with Rev. Javier Gomez, district superintendent of Puerto Rico (PR), along with a group of Alliance leaders. We listened in tears as he described Hurricane Maria’s devastation and the churches’ needs.
“What can we do now and in the near future?” we asked. His answers were so helpful that I wanted to pass them on to you along with his deep appreciation for your love and concern.
Javier has been overwhelmed with your calls, texts, and e-mails of concern and offers of help. Currently, 90 percent of cell-phone users have no service, and Javier must drive to a location to obtain a signal where he can send and receive texts or e-mails. He asks that you not communicate directly with him or with pastors in PR over the next three weeks.
Rather, please communicate directly with CAMA Services. CAMA will track calls and e-mails and summarize offers of help for the PR disaster coordinators.
How will we partner with the church in October?
We will work through the two disaster coordinators, who will assess needs and prioritize those needs. They will gather input from PR’s six regions; two pastors in each region will help to identify the needs.
What are we doing right now?
A team of three, including John Stumbo, arrived in PR this week for a short visit to listen, encourage, and better understand the immediate needs. They brought with them a satellite phone, water filters, solar chargers, and other needed items. We have also sent funds to PR that will be distributed throughout the six regions to help people purchase food, fuel, and water.
And what can you do now?
Please pray! Javier said to us that when people call or talk with him they are crying and all he can do is cry with them. Let’s weep with those who weep. Many of you have already given financially—thank you! If you have not, please consider making a financial gift to meet immediate and long-term needs.
With deep gratitude for your compassionate consideration,
President, CAMA Services