A group of 16 people from Chapel Hill Bible Church will be traveling to Puerto Rico - July 21-29 - in response to some needs expressed by local church leaders on the island. Our group will split up into three teams to address three unique needs presented to us:
The suicide rate in Puerto Rico has increased drastically since Hurricane Maria struck in September of 2017. The psychological state of the island was already fragile as rampant unemployment and crushing government debt cast a gloomy forecast on the lives of its citizens. The devastation and despair that followed the hurricane, and the mass exodus from the island, have led to a 29% increase in the suicide rate (according to Puerto Rico’s Department of Health). In response to this, we will send a team to train church leaders and their congregations in the assessment of trauma related needs, and to give them the tools necessary to serve those who continue to suffer psychologically and emotionally as a result of the hurricane.
Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans have left the island over the last eight months, and though English is an official language on the island (mostly for political reasons), many do not know enough English to quickly assimilate into the life and culture on the mainland. Data shows that Boricuas, as Puerto Ricans call themselves, have migrated to every state in the U.S. since September. Their lack of fluency in English presents massive challenges. In response to this, we will send a team to train church leaders and their congregations in running English as Second Language classes. We believe that this will not only serve to prepare those who plan on leaving the island, but that it can also serve as a great tool for community outreach.
Finally, there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done in order to bring the island back to its beautiful state. Many homes continue to not have permanent roofs (you see blue FEMA tarps as you fly in on hundreds of homes) and reminders of the devastation are still a prominent part of the landscape. In response to this, we will send a team to partner with local churches in helping rebuild their communities. Our team will serve alongside church members in cleaning up and helping rebuild what has been destroyed.
Our team will gather for daily times of prayer, learning, and debriefing, knowing that God is at work in each of us as we engage in this work on the island. We trust that God will also do great things in the lives of those whom he has called us to serve.
Please pray for the team as we partner with local churches to make the name of Jesus known in Puerto Rico, that Jesus would become more precious to each of us, and that the God who restores, who makes all things new, who renews our mind and transforms us, that he would be glorified and worshipped in Puerto Rico.
The cost of the trip is $1,250. CHBC is subsidizing $300. That leaves $950 for each team member to raise. If you are interested in financially partnering with us you can donate to specific team members or to the trip as a whole.
You can contribute in two ways, by check or online credit card donation.