“Free Methodist World Missions (FMWM) is inviting churches to consider sending VISA Teams to come alongside the church in Puerto Rico to help rebuild. VISA Teams are teams sponsored by a local Free Methodist church or conference that are matched to a priority project as identified by national and FMWM leadership. VISA Team members volunteer a week of their time, talent and financial resources in order to serve.
On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria, a category four storm, hit Puerto Rico with 155 mph winds and torrential rains. The storm devastated the island that had already been affected by Hurricane Irma two weeks earlier.
We received reports from Puerto Rico of extensive damage to homes and Free Methodist churches. As far as church property is concerned, windows and doors are broken, musical instruments have been destroyed and the furniture is unusable. There was extensive damage to many roofs of church buildings, which has led to more water damage after the storms had passed.
As the long slow path to recovery continues, Free Methodist World Missions and the Latin America Area Director will be working with Superintendent Mercedes Reynoso and country leaders to develop a list of priorities and to organize themselves to best meet the needs.
Any church or conference interested in sponsoring a VISA Team should contact Jonathan Eccles, VISA Team Coordinator for FMWM. Jonathan can be reached at Jonathan.Eccles@fmcusa.org or phone 317-616-4777 Monday – Friday 8 am – 5 pm Eastern. We will add your team to our volunteer list and seek to deploy teams on a monthly basis. We anticipate sending many teams to Puerto Rico over the next couple of years.
Puerto Rico is an island in the eastern Caribbean with a population of 3.5 million of which 2.5 million people live in the greater San Juan area. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory which means native-born Puerto Ricans are citizens of the U.S. The Puerto Rican Free Methodist Church started among Dominican immigrants and continues to be largely Dominican. There are nine churches (including one on the island of Antigua), 14 ordained elders and 19 ministerial candidates. It is organized as a Provisional Conference, meaning it has a level of autonomy much like an annual conference in the U.S. and is financially self-supporting.
If you’d like to financially contribute to help with the relief, you can give through the Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund (include “Puerto Rico” in the Comments box) or the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund.
If sending a check, make payable to “Free Methodist Church USA.” Include a note, or put on the memo line “Bishops Crisis Response-Puerto Rico” or “Puerto Rico, Hurricane Relief Fund,” depending on your preference.
Free Methodist World Ministries Center
Attention: Finance Dept.
770 N. High School Road
Indianapolis, IN 46214