A couple of days ago Pastors Neuendorf, Maita, and I went to visit a member of la Iglesia Luterana Fuente de Vida in Ponce. Like so many others on the south side of the island, he had been sleeping outside of his home in a cardboard box since the earthquakes began a couple of weeks ago. The purpose of our visit wasn’t a happy one: this valuable member of our fledgling congregation had decided to purchase a one-way ticket off the island to stay with extended family in Detroit.
“When do you plan to return to the island?”, I asked him.
“I can’t say,” he responded, “the future of Puerto Rico is just too uncertain.”
Elías (not his real name) is just one of hundreds of thousands that feel the same way. Already before hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Caribbean island was experiencing a “massive exodus” to the mainland US due to an unprecedented economic recession. The population had already reached a 40-year low before the almost 500 earthquakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater that have hit the island over the last two weeks!
There’s no doubt about it: the future of Puerto Rico is uncertain. There is no way to know how long the ground will continue to shake or how long the island´s infrastructure will be a mess. It’s impossible to say how long the humanitarian aid will last or how long it will take before people can return to their homes.
It was hard to say good-bye, not knowing when we´ll meet again. We know just as little as the next guy about what will happen on this island tomorrow. But by God’s grace, we do know that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, purchasing and winning for us a future in which there will be no earthquakes to worry about. We do know that our crucified and risen Savior is seated at the right hand of God the Father, working all things together for those who love Him. Because of Christ and his sure and certain promises delivered to us in our Baptism, there is no doubt about it: our future is certain.
Please pray for us as we continue to share this Good News in Puerto Rico.