The June 2019 Puerto Rico Mission trip is complete! This trip has been life changing for all of us. As a team, many of us started out as strangers, but by the end we had become family, not only with each other but with the people of Puerto Rico we were able to work with side by side.
On our first morning, when we attended the sermon at Samuel
Culpeper Church, Pastor Eric told us the story of the beautiful lit cross that
you see as you listen to the service. After Hurricane Maria, some of the
repairs needed involved replacing damaged tile. As they did this, broken pieces
of the tile were saved to form their cross mosaic. While its pieces are
imperfect, ordinary and of different sizes and shapes, when joined they remind
us of the body of Christ. The Church is made of imperfect, ordinary people of
different sizes and shapes. However, when we get together we can transform the
world, being the hands and feet of Christ, who is the head and center of the
Church. We are all represented in this cross, and everyone is welcome to be
part of the Church. In addition, this cross would be invisible if it were not
for the pieces of broken tile. Likewise, Christ has no other hands and feet in
the world that are not ours.
By the end of our mission trip here in Puerto Rico, the symbolism of this Cross Mosaic could not have been more evident. Of our group of ten, only two participants had any type of “skills” that one might think of as necessary to provide any substantial or useful assistance on the projects that were assigned to our group. However, we were all able to come together and finish the projects we we were originally assigned plus more.
Sometimes in going to places where so much devastation has occurred, one can become focused on the repairs that are needed and lose sight of the reasons why those tasks are needed. Our group did not lose sight of the importance of taking the time to listen to our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters, to hear their stories of the devastation as well as their hope for the future. We also took the time to form relationships with each other. Some of this included taking time to have fun! To go to the beach, to play Mexican Train Dominoes, and to go hiking! While all of these excursions may have been brief, they were still long enough for us to recharge & be ready to work hard the next day.
In doing this, God was able to use each of us in ways we may not have thought possible to accomplish above and beyond what we thought was possible in terms of repairs & improvements to both the Church and the high school.
Our last night in Hatillo, we were hosted by a local family to celebrate all that was accomplished. This gave us an opportunity to spend more time talking with members of the local congregation, enjoy more of their delicious food and hospitality, as well as look forward to ways we can continue to work together in the future.