We are pleased to announce planning for a mission trip to Puerto Rico this fall to work with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria last September. It is estimated that thousands died from storm-related causes and the island continues to suffer from infrastructure problems including damage to roads and electrical grids.
Mission trips can be life-changing experiences for participants and for the sponsoring congregation. When viewed as humble learning experiences and not paternalistic do-gooding, participants can connect their faith to the situation other communities are facing, learn about themselves and other cultures, develop and deepen friendships within Central, and do some good. Mission trips can help foster partnerships, and put our faith or prayers into concrete actions.
Read below to learn more about Central's upcoming trip!
The situation in Puerto Rico has been developing, and the challenges facing people on the island continue to be daunting. Representatives from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) recently returned from a trip to Puerto Rico and have identified opportunities for Central to send in a mission team to assist in rebuilding efforts.
We would be looking to go after the 2018 hurricane season concludes from November 13-20, 2018.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has identified a site that is doing good work and capable of hosting our volunteers - La Posada de Angeles Añasco, on the west side of the island. La Posada de Angeles is a mission of the First Presbyterian Church in Añascothat provides lodging for volunteers, provides food to the community, helps in times of crisis or needs, prepares the community as disaster approaches natural, such as: hurricane, earth tremor, tsunami, and fire.
The work we will do
The work we would do is rebuilding homes that were uninsured or underinsured, requiring hard work with cement. There will be hard physical labor. However, a mission specialist at PDA emphasized that there is a range of tasks and some of the volunteers may be able to assist with lighter work such as landscaping, or meal service, or being a journalist about the trip. In their words, "A group of folks with willing hearts and hands are VERY welcome!".
We are able to bring up to 16 people on this trip.
When the Session approved funding for this trip, the draft of the working budget assumed a group size of twelve people for seven days. Details will change and be refined as we learn about possible work projects and locations. We have some funding dedicated for this trip in order to make partial - or even full-scholarships available. Each participant will be required to have their own medical insurance.
A formal budget is being developed based on the site selection, volunteers committing and travel for the dates selected. Following is a working budget draft for the TOTAL TRIP as of our summer research:
Airfare to SJU - $4,800
($400 per person)
Transportation Rental - $1,500
(of two 8-passenger vans)
Lodging Assumptions - $ 0
(Sleep on church floor)
Meals - $2,100
($25 day x 12 people x 7 days)
Boost to Church Insurance - $1,000
Donation to Host Church $4,000
Donation to $4,000
(Presbyterian Disaster Assistance)
TRIP TOTAL - $17,400
Minus estimated participant contributions $9,600 ($800/per person)
COST TO CHURCH $8,000
We just received details about Añasco that will enable us to take our very rough draft of a budget and perfect it, but we know that one of the largest expenses for this trip will be airfare, and the savings of flying on Tuesdays are substantial. Other categories included in the trip budget will be donations to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance & the local church, lodging in Añasco ($35/day/participant), food, and transportation within Puerto Rico.
Information here will be updated as it becomes available.
To see the handbook, complete with photos, for the venue where our mission volunteers will be staying (La Posada de Angeles), click here!
For More Information
If you are personally interested in going, please let Rev. Colby know as soon as possible and you will be added to a list of folks who have indicated interest. He will keep you apprised of further developments, cost and trip planning details.