MDS volunteers as angels
January 8, 2019
In Puerto Rico MDS completed its full year of service helping repair roofs and build new homes. Just in Utuado, PR MDS registered in 30 weeks of volunteers, with 134 workers serving, equaling 4,930 hours of labor. In Aibonito and Ponce there were many other volunteers that arrived to serve as well.
On December 12, John Colvin, the MDS Project Director in Aibonito took me to visit a few roof repair sites the volunteers that week had just worked on in barrio Asomante of Aibonito. We visited with Gerardo at his house. He was so happy to welcome us and show us the new roof on this house. Gerardo had injured himself doing repairs on this wooden house. He was not able to return to his regular job, which was in construction, given his foot injury. Gerardo was sitting in a wheelchair talking to us in Spanish, and I translated for John, expressing how thankful he was for the MDS volunteer workers. As he talked he began to cry and he said with a grateful demeanor, “These were angels God send to help me.” A governmental repair organization had started doing repairs, but they had not done a good job, so he requested them not to return. That is when he decided to try to do it himself, and fell.
It was 13 Days before Christmas and Gerardo had received his gift, a well-repaired roof, allowing him not to get wet and to stay in his home for the Holiday. I offered a thanksgiving prayer and he gladly agreed. As we were getting ready to pray, Gerardo insisted on standing for this prayer, even though I told him it was ok to stay seated. “No, I need to stand to pray,” he said. So we made a circle, all three of us, and as we held hands he continued to cry tears of thanksgiving. Feliz Navidad, Gerardo, Jesus is alive.
Just as Gerardo called our volunteers ‘angels,’ in other parts of Puerto Rico we heard them be named missionaries — messengers of hope. I am sure this is not new for our MDS volunteers that go all over the USA/US Territories and Canada: Responding, Rebuilding and Restoring.