“What will we do if they can’t speak English?”
That was one of the many questions on Matt’s mind as we prepared to visit our missionary friends in Puerto Rico recently. We assured him that we would be just fine as long as he brushed up on his Spanish lessons from middle school!!
We recently returned from an absolutely lovely time with our friends as we were blessed to spend a week ‘doing life’ with them. Matt was thoroughly taken by their family, the weather, the food and the beauty of the land. He was a little nervous leading up to our departure, as his quarterly appointment with his transplant team at U of M was just before we left. His pulmonary function test score improved and his team said he was doing great…so off we went!
Since we still hear about the after-effects of Hurricane Maria, we were not sure exactly what to expect when we left the airport in San Juan. We saw plenty of signs of damage, but it appeared that life was going on pretty normally for many people. One day we went to El Mango, a village southeast of San Juan, to deliver some ‘care package’ gifts to children at an orphanage. They were still without power, but seemed to be coping. Matt really enjoyed helping distribute gifts to the kids! We then traveled to the coast near where the hurricane made landfall. There the devastation was still very evident months after the event, with a lot of recovery work still going on.
Matt enjoyed everything about our time in Puerto Rico, but one of his highlights was clearly our time on the water. Our friends have a large (to us) sailboat which we took out to Cayo Icacos for some time on the beach. Matt was an excellent captain for our adventure!
We spent a lovely day in Old San Juan, enjoying the history and sights and tastes of the city!
We stopped for a mid-morning snack at a very unique restaurant featuring CHOCOLATE! https://chocobarpr.com/
Our friends are busy with many different ministries to adults and youth throughout the week – it was a real privilege to experience some of the things they have gotten started since arriving in PR. Humbling and also motivating to see all they are doing!
It was obvious from our time with them that our friends have the gift of hospitality – something God will use in many ways as they continue their work. They have a huge network of contacts and ministry colleagues in Puerto Rico and around the world, which provides opportunities for them to engage and connect with people in a manner many of us cannot.
As we prepared to leave for home, we looked out at the marina down the hill from our friends home. During Hurricane Maria a number of boats in this very marina sank due to the intensity of the storm. It does not take much looking to find people in our circles that are sinking in the midst of the storms of life. Like ships in a storm – we are thankful that through faith in Christ, we have an anchor for our souls…
Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV)
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…