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Utuado, PR – Weekly Report – Dec 3-7, 2018

December 11, 2018

Two new volunteers, Mike and Ben Zimmerman from Archbold, Ohio, joined leadership volunteers David Zumpe and Sebastian Groothoff, along with Marlene and Al Friesen from British Columbia, who stayed a second week. This experienced crew accomplished our goals for the week in time to enjoy a late afternoon at the beaches of Arecibo.     

Most of the team joined local employees Rafael Rosario, Javier Negron and Armando Irizarry to install the reinforcing rods and conduit in preparation for pouring the cement roof of Martha’s house. The bright sun, beautiful skies and majestic mountains provided a great venue but did not make the work any less back-breaking and tiring. Everyone was happy to meet the goal of having this ready for the concrete next Tuesday.

Mike and Dave, lucky enough to have experience as electricians, worked inside the church building installing conduit and pulling wires. On the last day Marlene assisted the wiring project while her other colleagues from the roof were chosen to move piles of dirt out of a basement section and to remove some concrete walls and columns. The Project Director didn’t dare ask whether each sledge-hammer blow relieved frustration with him for assigning them this task to top off their week. The homeowner was deeply gratified to have light and air enter the small room that had served as her residence for months following the hurricane.

Work for the next week includes assisting the ready-mix company with the concrete roof and assembling materials so local employees can work on the church during the time that no volunteers from outside will be present.

Javier Rosario, the local coordinator and the Project Director visited the Cosme Padilla family from the church that will get a room addition and roof, to be built by local church volunteers from materials paid by MDS. The accompanying photo tells the story.

On Saturday, the Project Director and Elizabeth Soto joined the pastors from the Mennonite churches in this region for their annual Christmas meal. Deborah and Javier provided space in their post-hurricane makeshift house for this event while the finishing touches were being put on their new house next door, a symbol of newness and restoration in this Advent season. 

Reinforcing installed, ready for concrete 
Annual Christmas Meal for Mennonite Pastors: From L, Elizabeth Soto, Pastor Carmen Delia Morales, Pastor Juan Martinez behind Carmen, Kiara Martinez, Katiria Martinez, Don Paco husband of Carmen and Pastor Deborah Montalvo. 
Cosme Padilla home where room will be added to join the two buildings and a new roof placed over the addition and the new room.
From L: Maria Padilla and Eric Cosme, husband and wife, Eric’s brother Miguel Cosme and Javier Rosario from the Way of Life Mennonite Church.