Overview About the Trip
Catonsville Presbyterian Church will be hosting a mission trip to Puerto Rico, November 11-18, 2019, in El Guacio in San Sebastian. Work projects will be assigned to us by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance coordinators in Puerto Rico. We’ll depart from BWI on Monday, November 11, and return on Monday, November 18. We’ll also have time to visit San Juan. The estimated cost per traveler will be $1,000. A $50 deposit and registration will be due by June 16, 2019.
All church members and friends are invited to join us in the fall to help:
- Rebuilding and recovery
- Learn firsthand from Puerto Ricans about their history and current situation
- Be a ministry of presence and love to our brothers and sisters who often feel forgotten
Anyone 18 years of age or older who is in relatively good health is welcome. Experience with construction related work and Spanish language facility are a plus, and flexibility and a positive attitude are a necessity.
On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria impacted the entire island, the first Category 4 storm to make landfall in Puerto Rico in 85 years. The effect was catastrophic to housing, the power grid, communication, transportation, health care, and education. For months, obtaining water, food, and other necessities became a daily struggle for significant numbers of the population. Federal, territory, and municipal emergency management systems and resources were underprepared, overwhelmed and extremely delayed. More than 2,975 people died from Maria and its after-effects. Tens of thousands migrated to the mainland. Already manifest before Hurricane Maria, the endemic and pervasive inequities between the United States and Puerto Rico were exacerbated by the storms.
We will be staying at El Guacio Camp, Carretera/Hwy 119 km. 44.7, San Sebastián, PR 00685. Camp Guacio is owned and operated by the Boriquen Synod of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is located in the Northwest area of Puerto Rico. Work may take place on the camp property and in the neighboring communities of San Sebastián, Lares, Las Marías and Maricao.
Some examples of the long-term recovery efforts that have been needed in the community are:
- Painting indoors and outdoors.
- Replacing and repairing roofs.
- Sealing concrete roofs.
- Cleanup and debris removal jobs
- Mowing grass, cutting shrubs and small trees
- Other tasks depending on the needs and capabilities of the volunteers.
The group will join Sunday worship at a local Presbyterian Church and have time for local sight-seeing and in Old San Juan before heading home.
Reasons Why We are Going
Consider this from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance:
“Often the work that we do is not that important; however, being present is. Funds we spend to travel could be used to provide local jobs and income. So why do we go? We go so people will know they are not forgotten, we go to stand alongside and offer encouragement, and we go to learn about ourselves by seeing how others find strength and to support them in the process of recovery. We go having a servant’s heart. We go to listen to their stories because this is an important part of their healing process. We must not only seek to serve, but find the grace to accept the warm hospitality and invitation extended to us to be part of a community for a while as they work towards recovery.” (Principles of Partnership, PDA, 2014) For more on Ministry of Presence, view this PDA video.
Total cost for the trip per person is $1,000, including airfare. Catonsville Presbyterian Church fundraising events will be organized to offset some of these costs and partial scholarships are also available. A $50 deposit and registration will be due by June 16, 2019. Checks for the deposit should be made out to “Catonsville Presbyterian Church” with memo “PR Trip.” Please prayerfully consider joining the Catonsville Presbyterian or how you can support them right here at home.