What a wonderful, fruitful week team Juan Diego spent in Puerto Rico! The Lord blessed our team immensely during our stay in Yabucoa. Team Juan Diego had the opportunity to help a family whose home was destroyed in the hurricane last September. Margarita and Ramon Vargas are a retired couple who had not spent much time in their home when they hurricane hit. they were in the process of remodeling and updating the place and lost so much through this disaster. The top level of their home was ripped away which cause severe damage to happen to the main level. As a result, Ramon and Margarita, along with several other people, had no place to call home. The Vargas family was lucky enough to be granted stay at at hotel for a short while, as they worked on repairing their home. They were unable to get it completed in time and had to find a relative to stay with while they continued with repairs. When our team arrived, we were able to help them get more things completed so that they could soon return. Team Juan Diego spent the week scraping and panting every wall and ceiling in that home which consisted of 3 bedrooms, the kitchen, bathroom and living room. Our team leader Michael installed new doors in every room and there was another volunteer working on installing new windows. Through this work the biggest challenge of the week was explaining to Margarita that we were there to work, not sight-see! She was so thankful and appreciative of our help but she wanted us to experience and see the island that is her heart and place she calls home. Margarita used any opportunity to take us to see the beautiful treasures of Puerto Rico. If we had to go to the store, she took the long scenic route and gave you first-hand knowledge of the damages from the hurricane. Puerto Rico is still in the process of recovering from this horrible disaster, but you would never be able to tell from the happiness and cheerful greetings from the people of that beautiful island. Every person you met greeted you as if you were their family member. The love they express is truly of God. For many, their faith in God was the only thing that remained and sustained them through this ordeal. We were sad the week had to end, but are grateful for the experience of being able to be the hands of God and serve his people.
Catholic Mission Trips will be facilitating another mission trip for adults to Yabucoa next summer, in June. Any individual 18 years or older is welcome to apply for the trip and come along! It is a great trip if you don’t have anyone else to go with you, or if you and a few friends or family members would like to go but don’t have a large group. Prayerfully consider joining us – the community in Puerto Rico could use your help!