Meeker United Methodist planning Jan. mission to Puerto Rico

MEEKER | Six members of the Meeker United Methodist Church (MUMC) are planning a January trip to Puerto Rico to assist with relief and recovery following the 2017 hurricane season that devastated Puerto Rico and heavily damaged areas of Texas and Florida.

“Our mission team had been looking for a place to put our efforts,” said MUMC Pastor David Petty. “We looked at opportunities to help in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. After prayer and discernment, we determined the greatest opportunity for us to be of service would be in Puerto Rico. People there are not only our brothers and sisters in Christ, but they are also our fellow United States citizens.”

The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is one of 16 U.S. territories in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The island was acquired as a territory following the Spanish-American War in 1899. It became a U.S. commonwealth in 1952.

The local church is partnering with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) for the trip. UMCOR works toward humanitarian relief and disaster response, sustainable development and global health.

“We will mostly be helping with direct relief and recovery work. This type of work could involve installing roof where residences have only had tarps for the past year. It might involve framing, drywall, flooring, painting or anything else needed to bring relief and recovery for those who are struggling in the wake of Hurricane Maria [Sept. 2017],” Petty said. “Because of the scale of the work UMCOR/UMVIM are doing, we are merely one team of many that will be helping in Puerto Rico. We will not know the specifics of our work until a week or two before we arrive.”

The church has been raising funds to offset the cost of travel, tools and materials for the team by selling pumpkins in October, and provided chili for a donation at the Meeker Holiday Bazaar at the Hugus Building Friday and Saturday.

“The cost for each member is roughly $1,500,” Petty said. Donations can be made directly to MUMC with “Puerto Rico Mission” in the memo line.

“We also ask for your prayers for the people of Puerto Rico, and for our team. Beyond Puerto Rico, we ask for prayers for all who are struggling to recover after a natural disaster and all those who step up to volunteer their time and resources to help with relief and recovery,” Petty said.

Joining Petty on the trip will be Tim Nelson, Stacy Hudelson, Alex Gardner, David Steele and Lonnie White.

The team will host a dinner after the trip to outline the work accomplished and thank everyone who supported the trip.