Nine years ago, Jeremy and I officially led our first solo Missions Trip to Puerto Rico. We were a team of 20 students and leaders and our goal was to share the love of Jesus with the amazing people we would meet.
We ended up serving at Campamento del Caribe, which was located on the southern coast in Juana Diaz. We also did a three day Children’s ministry in the Barrio. Looking back, we were so young, but at the time, we were mostly just excited to be serving with our team on that incredible island.
That year, our main project was to start to build a Fogata (campfire) for the camp. We started out with an empty field and by the time we left, we had the main foundation laid with the beginnings of the wall built up around it. We got to mix concrete and shovel dirt and carry huge wooden beams. It was terribly exhilarating. I remember being so proud of how far we got with this project, especially since a tropical rain storm took out a lot of our foundation so we had to do double digging to get back to where we started.
We especially loved the time that we spent getting to know the amazing kids and teens of Puerto Rico.
We also enjoyed the sheer beauty of the island and commemorated our stay with some cliff jumping.
Overall, it was such a great experience, that we decided to go again, three years later.
We gathered up another team, prepared ourselves to work and off we went.
On that trip, we helped build the camp a new waterslide. Missions trips are awesome for the record. They give you the chance to experience new cultures and also to do great things that you’d never get the chance to do otherwise. Like building a waterslide. I absolutely loved serving in Puerto Rico.
I loved spending that time with these awesome people on an island that was so beautiful and full of life.
While we were there, we also got the chance to enjoy one of the nearby islands. As I mentioned before, it was an incredibly beautiful place to visit.
All that being said, if you’ve followed the weather and news lately, you know that after getting hit by Hurricane Irma just over a week and a half ago, Puerto Rico was hit again today with a devastating Category 4 Hurricane named Maria. I heard that the damage was so significant that it could be months before Puerto Rico even gets it’s electricity back amongst the other major hurdles that this beautiful island will face.
We are praying for the church, the camp and the missionaries that we know who are serving in Puerto Rico. It’s been so crazy lately to hear of all of the devastation that people are facing from fires, or hurricanes or earthquakes. But through it all, we know that God can work good and we can keep in prayer the many who have been affected.
And personally, I know that I want to keep looking for the good that I can do. It’s overwhelming at times when the struggles and brokenness of our world seem so great. And granted, I know I can’t help everyone… But I can help someone. So let’s not let discouragement make us feel that we can’t make a difference when times are tough. Look for the good that you can do and be encouraged that it can and will make a difference.