• "...to bring good news to the poor... proclaim release to the captives... let the oppressed go free..."
  • (Luke 4:18-19)

    My Experience in the Hurricane by Keysha Irizarry

    Hurricane Maria!

    When I hear the word [hurricane] I think of something catastrophic but I understand that it is  a natural event. First, Hurricane Irma was scheduled to happen but it turned out to be a false alert and by God’s grace we were only left with rain. However, little did we know that Hurricane Maria was forming. After the alerts in the news of Hurricane Maria, she was fast approaching. We returned to [our homes] to prepare mentally and plan what we had to do with the family. We were preparing for a category 5 hurricane.  Hurricane Maria was my first experience as an adult and I did not feel mentally prepared. As the rains fell and the winds blew, I felt overwhemingly fearful.  Immediately, the words of Joshua 1:9 came to mind.  “See that I command you to try and be brave; Do not fear or faint, for Jehovah your God will be with you wherever you go.” In that moment, I decided that I would trust God despite the uncertainity of the outcome. Inspite of the  Despite the negative ( were the comments negative or fearful) comments of those around me, I felt an unwavering peace.  I trusted that God would take care of me and my family.  Before, during and after the emergency, my family and I did not lack food. Hurricane Maria brought our community together in Christian love as everyone joined to share resources. Without  electricity,  water , outside communication and ostructed streets, we somehow found joy with each other playing cards. After a month, we had to wait in line for four hours to finally gain access to food and gasoline.  A few months after the emergency, I became a volunteer for a center for people who had not had contact with their families due to the lack of electiricty and obstructed roads. As I nurse, it was my responsibility to find organizations to provide water and gas to residents. At times, I felt hopeless watching residents wrestly with the uncertainity of when they would return to their normal lives. The residents found hope in my effort to believe  in God’s love and faithfulness to us through this difficult time. However, my faith was challenged once we began to receive reports of death and damages.  

                   Churches provided support to those grieving loss of every kind. Hurricane Maria showed me the importance of faith and community. All the times I spent in church learning about God’s character and faithfulness gave me the strength to believe the best when everything around me said that we were alone. God did not deliver us from Hurricane Maria but I believe that God was with us. May we as a community continue to love and support those who are still suffering and grieving loss from this experience. May they feel comforted by our commitment to walk with them on their journey towards healing and restoration. 

    "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”- Joshua 1:9


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