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'Pray, Don't Forget About Puerto Rico': What Churches Are Doing, Despite Their Damage


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MANATI, Puerto Rico – In the city of Manati, just an hour outside of San Juan, most of the homes still have no electricity. This is very close to where the eye of Hurricane Maria came through, but it's like this all over the island.  

More than 80 percent, roughly 3-and-a-half million homes are still in the dark, more than a month after Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Ricans are desperate, some even turning to Facebook to get the word out that they need help.

Such was the case of a man we encountered who said he and his community were desperate for food and water. He even wrote in the street: SOS, Agua (water) and Comida (food).

Members of San Juan's Connected Life Church answered his cry for help.

"One of the pastors we're are housing from Chicago who are helping the people of Puerto Rico saw the Facebook post. We saw the desperation in his voice and needed to help," Amanda Bentine, media director at Connected Life Church, told CBN News.

But getting to the man about 90 minutes south of the city proved difficult. Snapped power poles and debris still litter the streets.

"But we made it our mission," said Natalia Rivera, missions director at Connected Life Church.

In the end, church members reached him with groceries and water.

READ: Puerto Rican Pastor: 'We're going to make history because we're going to rebuild this island'

While churches are being the hands and feet of Jesus, some places of worship need help themselves.

Pastor Otoniel Font from Fountain of Living Water Church told us, "At least 40 to 50 percent got severe damage. The rest was damaged by water. The building itself was damaged."

Pastor Font's church is one of the island's largest. Their auditorium seats about 5,000 in all, but about 10,000 people attend this church.

Standing inside the building, you can still see the water damage. Church leaders say about seven feet of water flooded in.  

Font tells CBN News it will take time, but he plans to rebuild.

"Pray, don't forget about Puerto Rico. This is going to take a little bit longer. It's going to take several years," Pastor Font said.

He and others here in Puerto Rico are just thankful a $300 million electricity contract was recently signed by WhiteFish Energy to get power back to the island. Puerto Ricans say once the power comes back, life will get back to normal sooner.  

READ: Operation Blessing Turning Salt Water Into Hope in Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico


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