Getting from point A to point B continues to be a struggle for the citizens of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on the island over a month ago. Improvements are being made, but it’s a long, slow slog.
Thankfully, San Juan’s international airport is back in service, allowing us to send two shipments of Messengers and have them picked up by our on-site contact, David Lutrell. Our goal is to eventually send 20,000 Messengers. Each solar-powered device has a built-in flashlight and FM radio, particularly useful to those without electricity. Of the first shipment of Messengers, 500 have already been sent to Christian Community Church for distribution in Comerío, one of the hardest hit towns in the mountains.
Each solar-powered device has a built-in flashlight and FM radio, particularly useful to those without electricity.
It’s hard for many of us to imagine, but the situation in Puerto Rico is still chaotic. Most water is sent to the mountain regions since they were the hardest hit—the Army flies it to the mountains via helicopter. Those residents have no power at all and probably will not have it for months to come.
The roads are still a mess as well. David said the drive to the airport was an adventure; there were downed trees everywhere. Debris from the trees blocked the storm drains, causing the roads to keep flooding. Another tropical storm had come through, too, bringing more heavy rains.
The metro region of San Juan has power some days but not others. Cellular and internet service are spotty, too. David and his sister, Janet Lutrell, buy bottled water each day and have to carry gallon jugs upstairs in the dark.
Still, they are determined to get the gospel out each day. David rigged an old communication unit on the back of a truck so he could broadcast the In Touch program. “It's really a box on the back of a pickup with an audio console, CD player, computer—only room for 2,” says Janet, who works for WBMJ Rock Radio Network. The network is in the process of buying a 1,000-watt tunable AM transmitter at a deeply discounted rate to use as an emergency transmitter for their 3 stations. In addition, efforts have been made to start rebuilding the 200-foot tower needed to broadcast on the nearby island of Vieques.
WBMJ is on air each day during the daylight hours, but shuts down at nightfall to help conserve their generator. David said now that the In Touch broadcast is back on, people stop by to thank them for the encouraging messages.
Our goal is to send 20,000 messengers to Puerto Rico, and we’re just getting started. You can support this effort by visiting our Get Involved page. You can also be praying. Janet asks that we all pray for endurance, crime prevention, health, wisdom, and electricity as the days without power go on.
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Read about how this campaign got started: Messengers for Puerto Rico