“The Lord will make something good out of this situation.” These words, typed out by Captain Scott Strissel of the Evansville Salvation Army, embody the hope that our teams serving in Puerto Rico have for this devastated island. Captain Strissel, who is in the middle of a two-week deployment to the island, had a rare moment to sit down and reflect on a day of service that included visiting a Salvation Army facility that also fell victim to Hurricane Maria. As we look forward to the holidays and our time with family and friends, we ask that you continue to pray for the families who will spend this season picking up the pieces and clinging to the hope that, as Captain Strissel wrote, something good will rise from the debris.
November 6, 2017
Captain Scott Strissel
Humacao, Puerto Rico
Yesterday the EDS [Emergency Disaster Services] team traveled over to Humacao to attend the corps for worship. The Humacao corps building was ruined during Hurricane Maria, and as such, the corps officers and soldiers* now meet in borrowed spaces. Yesterday we met in the front lawn of a soldier’s house. There were three canopy tents set up, which became our sanctuary. The EDS team, which is currently made up officers and soldiers, lightened the load of the Corps Officer by leading the worship service and preaching. The presence of the Lord was felt in this place and after the benediction prayer, the soldiers offered all of us Puerto Rican bread and excellent Puerto Rican coffee.
The Corps officer then led us up to see the former corps building. It is situated on a steep hill and the driveway is so steep that most vehicles cannot traverse it. In the past, the location of the corps has limited those who could attended the corps. At the old corps site, there are many large trees down, the doors of the building were blown off, glass from its windows lay shattered on the ground and debris liters the whole inside of the corps. As sad as it was to witness this once beautiful building, the Lord will make something good out of this situation.
Following our brief tour of the old corps, our EDS Team, accompanied by the Corps officer and a couple of soldiers, led us to another remote location in their area that was known to have not received aid. We loaded our vans with food boxes and water and made the trek up to this area, and in the process we were greeted by a tropical rain. As we cleared the mountain and made our way to the designated neighborhoods, the rain subsided and our team began to disperse much needed basic supplies to families. Over a hundred and fifty families were reached yesterday.
As I drove back last night to our EDS home base, it struck me that we worshiped together and we were then sent out to be the very hands of Christ to families in need. The message of Christ is not lost in what we do here; there is a deep sense of purpose and mission as we ascend these mountainous passes and touch the lives of many. Yesterday was a good day!
*In The Salvation Army, members of the church are referred to as “soldiers,” following the military-style terminology that also designates pastors “officers” and the church a “corps.”