Puerto Rican Youth Answer God’s Call to Serve Their Neighbors
Months ago, the Puerto Rico Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Youth Confraternity (La Confra, acronym in Spanish) initiated a challenge to raise awareness among Christian youth in general about the need to work on prophetic and pastoral issues. Who could have known that a natural disaster would be the perfect setting for this group of excellent young leaders to deepen their commitment to God and neighbor? Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico on September 20th, 2017 as a Category 4 storm like no other natural phenomenon since 1928. The death toll continues to climb and it destroyed nearly all of Puerto Rico infrastructure, including electric, water and communications services. This is the context where the youth of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico are putting words into practice.
In the midst of the damages caused by Hurricane María, La Confra is delivering goods and supplies donated by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico. Donations by the Church in Puerto Rico, Global Ministries, Week of Compassion, One Great Hour of Sharing, and other ministries in the U.S., financed the efforts of these young ministers to provide critical assistance to families among the most affected in Puerto Rico.
Luis Campos, President of La Confra, testified to the specific case of five families composed of single women with newborn children who lost their homes. He rejoiced about the opportunity to bring them provisions for approximately 2 months. Also, they could supply school materials to the Manuel Colón Collazo Elementary School in Sabana Vega Baja. Thanks to the efforts of La Confra leaders, they could facilitate tuition for 208 children of whom 40 have special needs. They have also organized trips to towns in the center of the island, like Utuado and Lares, where they had to open their path there by themselves, since trees and electric posts covered all the roads to get into those towns. The experience of opening their own way through obstacles and debris to get at the countryside is the better metaphor to describe the effort of the young on their faith and living hope.
Luis shared a moving reflection about his experience serving his neighbors in Puerto Rico. “Christmas will be a different one, we will live like Jesus, who was born in a manger. There is no place in the inn, people told them, her mother anguished and nothing more to contain. In spite of their limited resources, Joseph did not stop until arriving at the stable, fatigued. In the light of the moon, between animals and straws, Emmanuel, God with us, brought light and hope. Without gold or silver Christ came to this world, wrapped in diapers, as the savior of the world. We have no light and no water, but we have Jesus and with Him we lack of nothing.”