PLYMOUTH, MI – With the surreal twist of life right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, I find myself sifting through my normal activities trying to find their true weight. As a Jesus follower, I want to evaluate everything I do through the truth of our Creator’s Word. One thing I did recently that I have a warm glow when I remember, is a mission trip to Puerto Rico with Send Relief. Serving others has true weight!
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will
be added to you. Matthew 6:33
My husband, Tony, and I decided to use part of our vacation this year to go on a mission trip to help with hurricane and earthquake relief in Puerto Rico. It all started with our State Disaster Relief Director, Bob Kiger, mentioning the great need there. Then the Send Network Puerto Rico Director, Felix Cabrera, speaking at the Michigan Baptist Annual Meeting. Finally, our State Executive Director, Tim Patterson, and his wife, Sabrina, came back from a vision tour in Puerto Rico telling of the overwhelming need for help. They all shared the hardships that were going on in Puerto Rico, and we felt our hearts tugged to go.
We contacted Send Relief and told them our desire to help in Puerto Rico if they needed us. They told us about helping with GenSend Break PR during March. GenSend Break PR is for U.S. university students to come to Puerto Rico during their Spring Break and help with the hurricane and earthquake relief. Each team would stay for one week helping to seal or put on new roofs, and do volunteer construction work. It is great how Send Relief Puerto Rico works alongside local Pastors. Each repair project had a local Pastor to do follow up. Tony and I felt this project would be perfect in that we would be helping the people of Puerto Rico, and also helping university students with their faith journey.
The Send Relief PR staff (Itamar, Nancy and Derrick) were great. We found a kinship in working alongside them toward the same goal – helping the university students show God’s love to the Puerto Rican people. We were picked up from the airport, fed and housed. I found joy in helping with the operations of GenSend Break Puerto Rico. I cleaned, helped with meals (I was so thankful for Elizabeth who catered great local cuisine), drove vans filled with luggage and students back and forth to the airport, did inventory and purchase of major food and supplies for the students, worked to organize in the warehouse the donated items that came in, had touching conversations with students, encouraged the local Pastors, saw the beautiful island as we drove to job sites to capture images and videos of the students at work.
If any church is looking for a great ministry opportunity for their church later in the year, Send Relief is a great option. They have projects set up in many different places. Check it out at https://volunteer.sendrelief.org/ they have so many volunteer projects waiting to be filled! There are 39 Poverty projects, 14 Refugees & International projects, 5 GenSend weeks, and 3 projects on Human Trafficking.
The crazy thing I keep thinking about is how I took a “working” vacation, and yet I came back refreshed and renewed in my mind and heart. I asked myself the same question that I asked the university students, “How will having been in Puerto Rico helping the people and softening the ground for new church planters to come, impact my life back at home?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jamie M. Lynn, I'm married to a God warrior, have 3 wonderful married children and 9 super grandkids. I love working at the BSCM office to help the churches in the Great Lakes area to thrive, serve God by drawing others to Him and to love their communities.