Samaritan’s Purse is planning to rebuild the 390 homes and 55 churches in Puerto Rico that were severely damaged by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
The rebuild is part of the organization’s multi-year plan to support the area. Even nine months after the Category 5 storm, many are still in need in the country.
One of the churches being restored is the Iglesia Cristiana Carismática Monte De Sión. The roof of the church was destroyed.
"They helped us with the roof. They helped us with getting windows. They helped with plumbing, wiring, cement, rebar. Samaritan's purse has given [us] everything," said pastor Roberto Vega Santiago. "Without Samaritan's purse, [we] could not have done it."
The church, which has about 45 members, initially tried to rebuild on its own, applying for loans. No banks or government help would approve the loan.
"Samaritan's Purse is what God provided to get the church rebuilt," Santiago said.
Tom Ovington, Samaritan’s Purse ministry program manger for Puerto Rico, said the organization wants to help encourage pastors in the area.
"A lot of them have had congregants leave to move to the United States," Ovington said. "Other congregants have suffered so much damage that their contributions to the Church have had to diminish because they are fixing their own homes. It is a real stress on the pastors."
Since Hurricane Maria, Samaritan’s Purse, with help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provided more than 1,900 generator kits, 1.4 million water purification tablets, 6,000 solar lamps, 34,000 grocery boxes and 1,500 bibles.
“It's important for people in Puerto Rico to know they are not forgotten, and that God loves them," Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham, the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, said in a statement. "We have been on the ground in Puerto Rico since the day Hurricane Maria hit, and we will continue to help them rebuild their lives."
Photo courtesy: Getty Images
Publication date: June 26, 2018