Aida’s home is a small, beachy wooden house perched on stilts in a small neighborhood in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico. It was her mother’s home before her, so Aida was determined to continue living there even after Hurricane Maria caused extensive damage to the roof. Her house was one of the homes BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery worked on during their trip to Puerto Rico on June 28 - July 3.
At Aida’s house, 12 students and adults from First Baptist Church of Shallowater worked to tear down the old, rotting roof and replace it with a new one. The trip was the perfect opportunity for their students to learn about serving and sharing the gospel.
“We believe strongly that we’re supposed to spread the gospel every opportunity we get, and one of the primary ways we can do that is by seeing the needs that other people have and finding ways to meet those needs,” Brad Miles, pastor of FBC Shallowater, explained. “So we’re grateful for BOUNCE because we have all these folks here in this community and we get to come alongside them and meet their needs. And that’s what Jesus would do. When He saw needs, He met needs.”
Across the city, another group from First Baptist Church of Marble Falls worked on a home with a rotted roof, walls and floor. The home had also been impacted by Hurricane Maria, and what began as a job replacing the roof escalated into an entire home rebuild as BOUNCE leaders realized the home would be unable to support a new roof. The FBC Marble Falls group worked to move the family’s belongings out of the home and demolished all of the old home. Another team from Send Relief, a Southern Baptist Convention disaster relief ministry, came to rebuild the home the following week.
For Calvin Richard Jr., a deacon at FBC Marble Falls, and his son, Chase, the trip was particularly impactful since their home was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“The damage of natural disasters really hits home for me, and I’m always looking for opportunities for us to give back, and this felt like the perfect opportunity to do so,” Richard said.
This is the second trip he and his son have done together. Instilling a heart for missions in his son at a young age is important to Richard, who did not become a believer until he was in his 20s.
“I brought my son with me because this was the perfect opportunity for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I wanted him to start off at a young age– he’s 14 now. I didn’t have the opportunity to do these things when I was his age, so I want him to have this opportunity and I want to lead by example for him.”
Shelby, a senior from FBC Marble Falls, explained that the trip was a chance for her to bond with others from her church.
“This trip gave me a chance to grow closer to God and to have new relationships with friends at church while also glorifying God,” Shelby said.
This is the first trip to Puerto Rico for BOUNCE. Iglesia Bautista el Mesias, a local church in Puerto Rico, was already active in construction missions but reached out to BOUNCE about working together to have an even bigger impact in their community. Members of the church’s youth and young adult ministries served as translators and fellow builders during the week.
Associate Pastor Leo, who also served as the trip’s construction coordinator, explained that when groups like BOUNCE come to serve in Puerto Rico, they can help make a bigger impact on their community.
“We have people working here on the island, but the brothers and sisters from the mainland help us bless even more people,” he said.
For more information about BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery and to explore options for getting your youth group involved in missions, go to txb.org/bounce or contact Director David Scott at david.scott[at]txb.org.