|3' of water in the house after the storm|
Progress after the hurricane moves forward although it seems to be at a snail's pace. For example, I visited an acquaintance of ours Wednesday who lives ten minutes from our home. She got her power back Tuesday night, 130 days after the storm, even though she lives just a five minute walk from the town square and the mayor's office. She had to move heaven and earth to get the electricity back on. Everyone at the electrical company was telling her, "maybe late May". With her perseverance (like the parable of the widow and her untiring requests for justice from a corrupt judge) she kept on until the lights were restored in her neighborhood.
I read this week from an official source that island-wide, 80% of the infrastructure was destroyed in the storm. By that I assume the comment was made in reference primarily to the electricity. On the southeast side of the island, where the powerful storm first made landfall, devastation is still seen everywhere. Some who have been there say in someways it seems as if no progress has been made. That is not the case. It DOES take time to put up 50,000 light poles and string the cables. It is a massive project. Overall, I have read 70% of the island now has power. HAPPY NEWS!
|Retiree getting a refrigerator|
|Christian family receiving appliances|
|Young man picking up an appliance gifted to his mom|
Another person texted me yesterday right after her and her husband's purchased items had been delivered. She wrote "Just want to thank you and thank all the people that helped you help me. Definitely, thanks to Jesus for putting good people like you in our lives. Thank you, and again, may God bless you and your family ALWAYS. Sincerely, ___________."
|Happy mother with a new bed for her daughter|
Finally, we still face low attendances, as appears to be the case in churches everywhere, according to ministers we talk with. We still understand it will be a temporary phenomena although we have to face a growing truth that many on the island have moved to the States..225,000! There are very few jobs available. Good ones are practically non-existent. And, with the government facing a debt of 72 billion dollars, it and the economy is shrinking and will continue to do so. These are VERY hard times for the island, unlike anything we have seen in the 45 years we have been here.
Finally, I want to once again thank those who were able to send help. MUCH good has been done. We are grateful we have had the means to help so many...and will continue to do so. Until next time...
Johnathan and Mary