World

Dr. David M. Griffis visits Puerto Rico to assess help for hurricane victims

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Dr. David M. Griffis, General Director of Church of God World Missions, made a special trip to Puerto Rico in order to see the progress made from the destruction of Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Overseer Richard Lopez pointed out the many ways the care and recovery team in Puerto Rico have provided immediate relief, and helped pastors and congregants throughout the island.

Ismael Ponce, Puerto Rico and Caribbean Disaster Relief director, said this: “Overseer Lopez is helping the ministers who have no income, no water, and no food to have something to live on. With this, he is taking care of the pastors who are taking care of their members.”

Part of the discussion revealed that around 200,000 Puerto Ricans have left the island since the hurricane; this includes between 400-500 Church of God members. The overseer further revealed a decline in income for the church of 90 percent, because 60 percent of the island is still without power. The offices of the Church of God are functioning on a generator for power essentials. Sunlight streaming through the windows is how leadership performs its duties.

At the multi-purpose building on the campus, goods have been received and are loaded as people arrive for assistance. Another large generator is needed to power the dormitories so Church of God recovery teams will have a place to sleep and eat when they arrive.
“I want you to know the Church of God is with you,” Griffis shared with Overseer Lopez. “You are part of our family and we will not forsake family,” he continued. Bishop Lopez responded, “We feel that commitment.”

This is a difficult time for our churches, pastors, and members. It simply costs more to live as people must buy fuel if they even have a generator. Additionally, they must buy ice to preserve and sustain perishables. Also, their ability to have a wage-paying job has been severely hindered.

Director Griffis wants donors and supporters to know how much their heartfelt assistance is appreciated. “Thank you for making sure our Puerto Rican family knows we stand with them in this long period of recovery,” Griffis said.

Aloys Evina is a pastor of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) in La Rochelle, France. He is also a doctoral candidate at Bethany Seminary. He travels extensively throughout the world, sharing God's message of love, hope and restoration.