By Bruce Salmon
Puerto Rico is hurting. Almost a year after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is far from recovered. The 155-mph winds devastated the infrastructure and killed more than 2,900 U.S. citizens. According to The Washington Post, “basic modern-day services are still not fully operational across the island.”
To compound the disaster, “philanthropies are failing Puerto Rico.” Corporate and foundation support of Puerto Rico in 2017 was only $62 million. Compare that with the $341 million given after Hurricane Harvey, and the $128 million given after Hurricane Irma. Thanks to those investments and a robust government response, Texas and Florida “were back on their feet in a matter of weeks.” Puerto Ricans, however, continue to struggle to meet basic needs.
Not everyone has forgotten Puerto Rico. Following Hurricane Maria, American Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship began sending church mission groups. Iglesia Bautista de Metrópolis in Carolina became a base of operations. The church already was part of the CBF family, having joined CBF of Florida in 2007. Pastor Jesủs Garcia has led his church to sponsor “Faith in Action” days, when church members and mission group volunteers repair surrounding communities while sharing the message of Jesus.
Randy Shepley, CBF Missions Council member (and friend of Pastor Julie), is pastor of First Baptist Church of Newport News, Virginia. A mission trip five years ago led to a strong bond between his church and Iglesia Bautista de Metrópolis. Now, my former church, Village Baptist in Bowie, Maryland, has joined the partnership, designating its summer mission project to help Iglesia Bautista de Metrópolis rebuild their church.
To raise funds Village is sponsoring a Seafood Feast & Silent Auction on Saturday, September 29, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., at Village Baptist Church in Bowie. This is where the people of First Baptist Church of Washington, D.C. can come in. Linda and I plan to attend the Village Seafood Feast, and we invite you to join us. The cost is $40 per person, $10 for ages 5-10, and free under age 5. The menu includes snow crabs, steamed crabs, steamed shrimp, fried chicken, corn on the cob, potato salad, slaw, soft drinks, lemonade, and iced tea, with hot dogs available for the kids.
Bowie is not that far away. Linda and I come from Bowie to FBC/DC almost every Sunday. Saturday, September 29, is not that far away. We would be thrilled to have some folks from our new church home join us at our old church home for this fun and worthwhile event. Because seating is limited, tickets are non-refundable and must be purchased in advance, with a deadline of September 21. Checks are payable to Village Baptist Church or purchased below.