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Puerto Rican Baptists brace for hurricane season

Roughly 250 new disaster relief volunteers in Puerto Rico were trained during a first-of-its-kind event for Spanish speakers hosted by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and Send Relief. Send Relief photo

As we enter the Atlantic hurricane season, Southern Baptists are intentionally preparing at-risk communities to navigate the perils of natural disasters and their aftermath.

In Puerto Rico, many are weary from the past decade of nearly 20 back-to-back tropical storms.

Families hardly have any time to recover from the physical loss and emotional trauma before another storm breaks on their shores. This perpetual state of exhaustion is pervasive, so Send Relief and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief partnered together to hold a preemptive disaster response training for almost 250 Spanish-speaking trainees, as well as 10 coaches, this month.

A leader with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) helped lead a training for new SBDR volunteers in Puerto Rico. The event was jointly hosted with SBDR and Send Relief and served between 250-260 trainees. Send Relief photo

“Volunteers here were extremely enthusiastic about the training,” said Send Relief Crisis Response Director Coy Webb. “It greatly strengthens the ability of Puerto Rican Baptist churches and trainees to be equipped to respond when crises arise in this new hurricane season.”

Last year during Hurricane Fiona, hundreds of trained Puerto Rican Baptists partnered with Send Relief teams to deliver food, water, laundry services and temporary roofing to those impacted, and these teams are prepared to replicate last year’s projects in the wake of the current earthquake, flooding and storm predictions.

Over the last three years, Send Relief, in partnership with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, has been able to train more than 800 volunteers in crucial project management for mass feedings, mobile kitchen maintenance, chainsaw response, debris clean-up, flood recovery, roof tarping, initial damage assessment and – most importantly – spiritual and emotional care.

“I’m excited that Send Relief had the opportunity to partner with local churches to offer them and strengthen local believers in their efforts to provide real help and hope to those suffering and devastated by disasters,” Webb continued. “As we minister, it enables us to demonstrate the love of Christ as 1 John 3:18 teaches us to – both ‘in actions and in truth.’”

Pray for Puerto Rico and the disaster response teams in place to be given extra measures of peace and comfort as they re-enter hurricane season.

    About the Author

  • Natalie Sarrett