Camp and conference center offers assistance in Puerto Rico
December 14, 2017
Some Presbyterian leaders have said that they have found God in special places. For Puerto Rican Presbyterian leaders, El Guacio is one of those holy places.
El Guacio, a Presbyterian camp and conference center, was founded by missionaries as a medical dispensary for an impoverished rural community and as the site of a training program where participants have learned to farm and to craft exotic bamboo. It sits on over 80 acres. The camp was on track to revive its bamboo workshop, but Hurricane Maria destroyed the 13-acre crop.
Despite the setback, El Guacio has provided help and hope to victims of the hurricane. El Guacio is in San Sebastián, adjacent to Las Marías, a small town that lost its last supermarket in the storm. The town has been lacking food and water. Despite the destruction that Maria left, Wilmari Vargas, El Guacio’s director, has helped keep the site functional. She has opened the facility for people to access the only clean water available for miles of mountainous terrain.
In addition, an enthusiastic young agronomist, who descends from three generations of farmers in Puerto Rico, was recruited for the center. Center leaders are committed to establishing a CSA (community-supported agriculture program) that will eventually serve as a food justice hub in the area, where access to fresh food is limited. Two farmers have volunteered to help get the CSA on track and to serve the long-term dietary needs of the community.
In response to the hurricane, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance deployed National Response Team members to all three presbyteries in Puerto Rico and disbursed emergency funds to help with the recovery. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is the emergency response and refugee program of the denomination, committed to long-term service in communities adversely affected by a crisis or catastrophic event by raising designated funds for responding to specific disasters. Read story here.
Jose Gonzales-Colon, Presbyterian Church in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico
Today’s Focus: El Guacio, a Presbyterian camp and conference center
Let us join in prayer for:
Puerto Rican Pastors
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Our heart beats and inquires: why?
More than science, lies the fallacies of feelings
Many are the inconsistencies of the heart
Few are the hopes of our try
Our being thus lies in negative
Life that stagnated without advance
Our dreams seem to cling to the moving sky
But we believe,
Even under the fierce rain and winds
We believe without more to rationalize
You are here for us, in our breath
Prayer by Juan David Correa, Copy Editor for Congregational Ministries Publishing