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Michigan VIM team to aid Puerto Rico

UMCOR officials with Methodist Bishop of Puerto Rico visiting Hurricane Maria damage

Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico over one year ago. Now United Methodists from Michigan are among those helping in recovery efforts.

September 20, 2018 was the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria making landfall in Puerto Rico. Now the United Methodist Committee on Relief and its partner, the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, have moved into Phase II of their response to this devastating event.

Thanks to the generous spirit of United Methodists, 35 teams from the mainland have served and returned home with 268 individuals/volunteers having served in Puerto Rico. Among them was a team from Grand Rapids: First UMC.

An additional 83 teams are scheduled to serve now through June 2019. The Eastwinds District of The Michigan Conference is sending a seven-member Volunteer in Mission Team to Puerto Rico January 17-24, 2019 under the leadership of the Rev. John Hice and Wayne Bank.

Phase II can be described as moving from short-term recovery to long-term recovery. It will focus on rebuilding efforts on the island with volunteer coordination now being handled by the New York Annual Conference and directed by the Rev. Tom Vencuss, coordinator of NYAC Mission Ministries – Disaster Recovery Ministries. Vencuss was part of the original eight-member UMCOR Puerto Rico Coordination Team that responded to the immediate aftermath of the storm.

The Michigan VIM Team expects to work primarily on roof work and siding. The estimated cost of the trip per individual is $965. The group anticipates another $1,400 of expense for transportation and language translation. Those wishing to contribute to the group expenses may contact Wayne Bank, 810-357-2818 or [email protected].

UMCOR thanks all those who are using God’s gifts to help their brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico rebuild the island.


The Michigan Conference