Members of the Mission Team:
Pastor & Kristy Wright
Dave & Carol DeHaven
Lisette Herndon [wrote this article]
Missionary in Puerto Rico:
Dean & Brenda Hendrix
Our Missions Team left from Washington/Dulles airport on a September morning in 2002, for San Juan, Puerto Rico.
When we arrived in San Juan the weather was HOT. It was nothing like our weather back home in the fall. We waited at the airport where Dean Hendrix to picked us up in a fifteen-passenger van. It not only held us, but our luggage also. The Hendrix’s church was in the town of Ponce, which was about an hour and half ride from San Juan. The ride gave us time to see Puerto Rico for the first time. The winding roads, the banana plantations, oh my, were they amazing to behold! We were seeing the true side of Puerto Rico, not just the tourist destinations. Gas, as we found out when we stopped on our way to Ponce, was very expensive. There were stores that we recognized, like Home Depot, and it was surprising how similar they were to our own. We saw a lot of tile that our stores do not have.
Our main mission on this trip was to help Pastor Hendrix paint his Church/School Building and do some electrical work [which Dave DeHaven took charge of]. The shock came to us when we saw the color of the rooms - BRIGHT greens and pinks! It is the way of the island to have these bold colors. The ceilings were high and much painting was required. Along the walls, you would find termite tunnels. All of the homes are made of cinder block or termites would destroy them quickly. Seeing these tunnels along the walls and ceilings was new for those of us living in other parts of the world. The piano that Brenda Hendrix used for the services was made of wood and was being eaten away by these small fellows.
The painting consumed most of our time - four days in all. Climbing on ladders, mixing paint, painting a VERY small bathroom that had no window, but a hole in the upper part of the ceiling for ventilation. We were pouring paint out of five gallon buckets and it SEEMED easier to place the large bucket of paint outdoors. What seems easier is not always the case! Beth Liber went to fill up her paint bucket from outside and soon we heard her yelling. There was nothing to see! The bucket was on top of a Red Ant hill. Well now, not to let a small thing like ANTS deter him, Pastor Shank went to retrieve the paint himself, and soon we heard the same yelling, but this time it was from Pastor Shank. Those little ants are called Fire Ants for a reason, and do they ever hurt when they bite. If memory serves me correctly Pastor Wright also had a run in with these “fiery” fellows.
Sunday morning some of us gave our testimony in front of the Church. This was our first time with an interpreter. What a great experience and fulfilling time the service was. We met the most wonderful adults and children.
One young man stands out in my mind. He had been involved in drugs and the gang in his area, but came to Christ with the help of the Church. What an inspiration he became to some of us. He is now involved in the Church and trying to reach his own family.
The work was hard, the people so loving and the weather so very hot, but the work for the Lord in that week was greeted with a song and Praise for our Lord. During hours of painting, you could walk in and would either hear us singing or laughing as we did God’s work. The culture was different, the language was hard, but the time was well spent in achieving an outreach to our missions that will last a lifetime.