Junior Martinez’s church, Iglesia Bautista La Gracia (Grace Baptist Church) in Yauco, Puerto Rico, has served as a shelter for survivors following the Jan. 7 earthquake off the southern coast of the island. This week, he received an invitation to meet with the town’s mayor to discuss the continued needs the community is facing.
“Junior saw how tired the mayor was,” Jonathan Santiago, a Send Relief missionary in Puerto Rico, said as he relayed the story. “So, Junior stopped the meeting and asked to pray for the mayor, who invited his wife to join. She broke down in tears when she learned that Junior wanted to pray for them.”
Martinez has been meeting physical needs, and now doors are opening to see lives changed through the power of the Gospel. Unfortunately for the people of Puerto Rico, persistent aftershocks have resulted in persistent needs as well.
Another 5.1 aftershock this week forced Puerto Rican authorities to restart their safety inspection process, Santiago said. “Any time there is a 5.0 or over, everything starts over again. Everything has to be re-inspected. So, Wednesday, everything went back to ground zero.”
The preliminary number of homes that are either destroyed or uninhabitable has reached approximately 700. As long as aftershocks continue, that number is expected to rise.
Roughly 8,000 people were still in makeshift shelters, unable to return to their homes, as of Thursday morning.
Send Relief, the compassion ministry arm of the North American Mission Board (NAMB), has been providing food, water and other supplies to help these churches meet needs in their communities.
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Source: Baptist Press