2017 was a year of unprecedented devastation as major hurricanes and tropical storms made landfall, leaving death and destruction in their wake. Hurricane Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to impact Puerto Rico, and is also the deadliest storm in 13 years.
Within weeks of the storm, DCEF President Rick Reisinger flew into San Juan accompanied by Gilberto Collazo, President of Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation and a Puerto Rican native. They met with the leadership of Iglesia Cristiana (Discipulos de Cristo) en Puerto Rico, toured the island, and visited many of the church facilities as their damage was being assessed. All of this resulted in a $1,000,000 unsecured line of credit from DCEF for emergency repairs and rebuilding projects overseen by the Christian Church in Puerto Rico. In the time since, a great deal of progress has been made in restoring the buildings not only to their previous condition but to superior standards. However, the road to rebuilding Puerto Rico will be a long one and, for this reason, DCEF has promised to provide support and partnership throughout.
Case in point, Rick Reisinger returned to Puerto Rico November 5 – 8, 2018 to document the progress made for DCEF’s board and to consult once again in-person with the leadership of Iglesia Cristiana. During these conversations, it became clear that the original assessment of storm damage fell short of reality and DCEF was asked to increase its line of credit by $300,000, which it did.
“The emergency repair and rebuilding projects that the Christian Church in Puerto Rico is undertaking are about more than simply restoring church facilities. They are about restoring a way of life,” says Reisinger. “The church is very central to the lives of most Puerto Ricans. It is the heart of most communities – a place to gather and regularly connect with God, family, neighbors and friends. As such, these repairs cannot wait for federal aid or insurance payments. They must be done as quickly as possible and DCEF is committed to helping make that happen.”