St. Peter's Blog 'One Loaf and one Fish For Puerto Rico' from St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – North Wales, PA's Blog

One Loaf and one Fish For Puerto Rico

Image Saturday, Jan 27, 2018
Author: Pastor Andreas Wagner

This article is about our church's efforts in 2018 to aid some communities in Puerto Rico.

You have all heard about the story of the loaves and fishes that Jesus used to feed 5,000 people or more. Well, if you haven’t heard it, you must open your Bible or your googling devices right now and find it! It’s one of the most foundational New Testament stories, Jesus asking his disciples to sacrifice what little they had to feed the multitudes. The miracle being that, contrary to every human and rational expectation, everybody received enough to eat and in fact, they even gathered leftovers. Lots of them!

I call our efforts to help Puerto Rico “One Loaf and one Fish.”  A few million people live on the island. They deal with a broken infrastructure, devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and a general sense of being the forgotten wheel on that big truck called the United States of America. Against the backdrop of these bigger, systemic problems, whatever we can offer as a local Christian community is small - like one loaf and one fish. But we believe in the truth and power of this feeding miracle, because sharing is contagious, and we have faith in a generous God. If that sounds simple, it probably is.

In our St. Peter’s Outreach Team (SPOT) we felt that this is a year to engage in Disaster Relief. Quickly, we were led to focus our efforts on Puerto Rico. Gathering reliable information proved to be, however, quite the challenge. Through many phone calls, research of organizations, as well as word of mouth (yes, that still works!) we were finally able to put together a plan for our efforts. Our goal is to raise at least $ 8,000 for financial aid through various fundraising events and individual donations. We have already forwarded $ 2,000 to Food For the Poor to buy generators that are so much needed in parts of the island still without power. Other organizations we will support in their efforts on the island, are Lutheran Disaster Relief and World Church Services. I would like to express my gratitude especially for Bernie Heinze who helped a great deal with making phone calls and generating ideas. I hope you can be in some way, part of this overall effort.  Bernie also came up with our logo and the slogan for this effort: “Saltando a la fe!”  - Leaping into faith! Indeed, whenever you deal with one loaf and one fish, faith must be involved!

Pastor Andreas Wagner

February 10:  Puerto Rican Dinner and Concert, $ 20 a ticket, 6:00 p.m.

This will be a fun night for a wonderful purpose. The Martinez family will cook us an authentic Puerto Rican dinner, including appetizers, several main course dishes, such as Puerto Rican style pulled pork, chicken, rice and beans, and several island deserts and drinks. Martinez family members (Pedro, Jackie, Millie, Yolanda and others) providing the meal live in the greater Philadelphia and Hatfield areas. They are donating the food to help the island of their heritage. The entire proceeds of the event will benefit Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico. The band “Soft Spots,” led by Shane Gallagher, will provide entertainment. A 50/50 Raffle and a few short presentations about Puerto Rico will round out the evening. 

March 10:  Prayer Breakfast in the Fellowship Hall, 9:00 a.m.

On this Saturday in Lent we will gather for breakfast, prayer, and good works. All age groups are welcome, including children. We start with a nice breakfast together. Afterwards, the adults will continue in structured prayer groups with several prayer foci. The children meanwhile will put together various kits for Disaster Relief, which we will send to a Church World Service Center in the US. These kits are used to help communities in disaster-stricken parts of the world.       

March/April Business Fundraiser

We will again approach local businesses for a contribution to display their logo on our Mission Trip T-Shirts for $ 50 or $ 100, depending on the display size. We will donate the proceeds from that initiative to Lutheran Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico use it to pay for any materials we will need for repairs and construction during our Mission Service trip in May. 

May 12-19, Mission Service Trip to Puerto Rico

Bishop Felipe Lozada of the Caribbean Synod, has invited us to come to the island for a service trip and will be setting time aside to meet with us while we are there, depending upon the availability of the schedule. Together, we have decided on the week of May 12 – 19. Pastor Negron from Lutheran Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico advises there are many projects. At this point, it appears our talents and time can best be used in cleaning, painting and reinstalling a drop ceiling at the Parish House of St. Paul Lutheran Church in San Pablo. It took a direct hit from the hurricane.  We will stay at a camp outside of San Juan, which will also need work. The camp is generally in good condition but, as a result of the hurricane, has currently no electricity and very basic sanitation facilities. As of late January, this part of the Island has gone without electricity for about 140 days!

We are looking for a few more people to join us, especially people with construction and craft-man skills. The trip costs only $ 500 per person, including roundtrip airfare. Please sign up in the parlor. The first group meeting will be in February.

Saltando a la fe! Pastor Andreas Wagner

 

 


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