Guest post by Johanna Mosquera

 Johanna enjoying Puerto Rico last year.

Johanna enjoying Puerto Rico last year.

Puerto Rico has been home to me and my family for a little over seven years now. We moved there for educational and professional opportunities at the Adventist University. Originally from Colombia and as an immigrant to the USA, it was incredible for me to experience how quickly one can become attached to a community and learn to love another culture for what it is.

Although slightly different than mine, Puerto Rico’s people and culture captivated me from the start—just stepping foot on the island, I could literally feel the warmth in the culture, the air, and in the people. There’s this sense of patriotic pride and simple joy that radiates in almost everyone you meet. If there’s an opportunity for a get-together or a party, it’s happening; and yes, you’re invited. They are strong but kind. Even through disaster, as Puerto Rico mourns for relief, the warmth and strength in the people’s hearts has remained.

I was not on the island when hurricane Maria hit. This was especially hard for me. To know that family and friends who were still on the island were affected by this terrible storm and there was nothing I could do about it. I felt helpless—I was so far away and all communication was cut off. I sent tons of online messages, but to no avail. It was at least a week after it hit that I was able to communicate with anyone on the island. Soon afterwards, social media feeds were filling with terrible news and pictures of the disaster caused by that beast of a hurricane, and my heart shattered. Hearing stories of friends of mine whose families had lost everything due to flooding, people who were running out of supplies, food, and water, and just so much destruction all around—I was disheartened. Thankfully, everyone in my tiny little corner of the island was safe. Soon, I received news that everyone in the Adventist University I attended was okay, and although surrounded by disaster, living without power, running water, or communication services, they were safe and sound.

Puerto Rico is in need of our support and prayers. For those of us who can’t catch a plane to go help, let’s support those who can. I can’t wait to see the island recover its full radiance once again and see Puerto Rico rise up stronger than before. 

Y para toda mi gente en Puerto Rico, ánimo! Dios no los ha desamparado. El está trabajando. ¡Hay que seguir confiando!

If you want to make a difference, consider pre-ordering a special edition t-shirt. All the profits will go to ADRA, a disaster relief organization already on the ground helping those who have lost everything.

Stein Halvorsen