WELS members have demonstrated their Christian love and concern for hurricane victims in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico with over $1.5 million in gifts to WELS Christian Aid and Relief. We thank God for this generous response to these disasters.
WELS Christian Aid and Relief has been working with local congregations to provide funding for repairs to churches, schools, and homes, as well as for efforts to help the people of the communities in which congregations are located. An assessment visit to Puerto Rico shortly after the hurricane identified immediate needs and paved the way for quick assistance for repairs and supplies.
Since so much of the infrastructure in Puerto Rico was still not repaired at that time, another assessment visit took place during the first week of January. The visiting team included Rev. Larry Schlomer, administrator of World Missions; Mr. Sean Young, director of Mission Operations; Rev. Tim Satorius, WELS Commission on Inter-Church Relations contact for Puerto Rico; and me. We visited all three congregations of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Church of Puerto Rico and met with leaders of our sister church.
The purpose of our visit was to determine what kind of assistance would be most helpful now that power has been restored to much of the island, building supplies are more available, and travel between cities is now possible. The leaders of the Puerto Rican church were encouraged by our visit, clearly recognized that the Lord will bring blessings even through the tragedy of the hurricane, and were eager to share their optimistic plans for the future. It was heartening to see their strong faith and to hear of their confidence in God’s continuing care for them and their small church body.
WELS Christian Aid and Relief will be considering recommendations from the visiting team for continuing relief efforts that will address both short- and long-term needs of our sister church.
Even though life is returning to normal in many of the areas affected by the storms, there is much work to be done. There may be additional opportunities for volunteers to help in the coming weeks and months. Your continuing prayers are encouraged.
Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder