Local church provides a hand in Puerto Rico


When 6 members from the Janesville First Baptist Church came down into San Jaun, Puerto Rico, recently, they saw the blue roofing systems.

“We discovered later on it was tarps,” Julia Amstutz said.Hurricane Maria

pulverized Puerto Rico when it struck in September, leaving a minimum of 64 dead and countless individuals without power or water. Five months later on, lots of tarps remain.The Janesville church members got here in Puerto Rico on Feb. 6. Members of an objective trip team began preparing a task in 2015, and they were originally going to the Dominican Republic. A twist of fate landed them in Puerto Rico to fix a roof instead.At a church in Cidra, about 30 miles south of San Juan, part of a carport roofing system was ripped from the church by Maria’s 150 miles per hour winds, volunteer Dan Drozdowicz said. The torn piece cartwheeled across the building’s metal roof, punching about 26 holes in the sanctuary’s ceiling.Drozdowicz stated the piece needed to weigh a minimum of 80,000 pounds.One of the holes in the ceiling was 16

feet large by 13 feet long, Drozdowicz stated. Another member of the journey

, Jean Schaefer, stated the sanctuary was taken in water and covered in black mold.They needed to wear hazmat matches while cleaning inside the sanctuary, Schaefer said.The storm devastated many parts of the Cidra church, but the Janesville group’s sole objective was to patch the holes on the roofing system so the churchgoers could start utilizing the sanctuary once again, member Larry Turner said.The Janesville team partnered with other volunteers through the American Baptist Men disaster relief team. Both groups remained in a big house together and worked eight-hour days, cleaning up debris and patching holes.The relief group offered materials and looked after the real estate, lunch and supper.”We went to a regional Ace Hardware store, and it was a substantial store, much larger than ours, “trip member Ron Westby said. “And they had whatever. And it was loaded. “Schaefer and Julia and David Amstutz dealt with the ground, tidying up particles from damaged floor tiles and the falling apart ceiling.Turner and Westby helped repair damage to the front of the structure, Turner stated. Drozdowicz invested many of

his time on the roofing, cutting the old metal out and installing brand-new metal, he stated. “They were difficult, long days, “Drozdowicz said.Before the Janesville group showed up,

nothing had actually been done to the church considering that the cyclone. The parish has been using a space to the side of the church for services, David stated. As well as after a week’s work,

the church remains broken. The sanctuary is still inoperable, and it will be for a while, Westby said.But by the end of their go to Feb. 13, all the holes over the sanctuary had actually been covered.”It didn’t look like we were doing all that much, however it meant an awful lot to the people there, “Drozdowicz said. “That truly warmed my heart.”Westby said it’s hard to seem like the team made a damage in helping Puerto Rico, but that’s not the case, he stated.”It doesn’t seem like you do a lot, but you take( your work )times the number of hundreds or thousands of other groups or individuals helping. It makes a huge difference,”

he said.On among the last days of the trip, the Janesville volunteers went to service at the church Sunday morning. Some members of the Cidra churchgoers stood in the sanctuary for the very first time in five months. “You could sense their gratitude, even for as little as we had actually done,” Drozdowicz stated.”That provided me an enormous sense of gratitude.”Turner stated the trip wasn’t about repairing the church however about instilling hope and showing the locals that”there is a future, “he stated. “You could see the hope

within the individuals, “Turner said.”I think that hope is not just within(the church)but within their lives. We feel that we have actually achieved that producing of hope.” Jerry Amstutz, pastor at the Janesville First Baptist Church, wasn’t able to go on the journey, but he echoed the

optimism from the journey members.” The pastor(in Cidra) is in a wheelchair yet has a sweet spirit,”Amstutz stated.”The custodian of the church has cancer, and these individuals have actually been spending so many hours attempting to get their own lives and households in shape. It’s really been hard for that church. But I believe the hope that our group and the others have actually provided is terrific.”