More than 500 members of the Church of Jesus Christ have joined to help and minister

In the midst of intermittent earthquakes in the southern part of the island of Puerto Rico, more than 500 saints provided help and comfort to thousands of people affected. After the earthquakes, about 550 aftershocks have continued to be felt, which has caused deterioration of houses and other constructions, along with the fact that people prefer to sleep outside their homes for fear that their houses will collapse due to constant movements.

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With more than 2000 collective hours of service from Thursday, January 9 to today, Church members and their leaders have been present in the affected area, delivering essential items and other resources, in addition to comforting to the affected.

So far, through Helping Hands of the Church of Jesus Christ, 672 packages of bottled water, 30 children's cots, 800 kits for personal hygiene, 13 electric generators and 50 inflatable mattresses have been delivered to more than 1,500 people in the municipalities of Guánica, Guayanilla, Yauco, Peñuelas and Ponce.

Elder Tomás Román of the Seventy, has also been ministering and supporting affected families. He emphasizes that the work they do is a mandate from the Lord Jesus and as Christians they want to follow His footsteps with faith.

“We are following the example of the Savior, bringing help to the people in need. Not only water or tents, but also the support that means being here with them. We are all praying so that they can feel that we are here to give them moral and spiritual support.”

Meanwhile, Elder Jorge M. Alvarado, General Authority Seventy and member of the Caribbean Area Presidency described the work they have been doing along with members of the Church and other community entities that have joined the efforts.

“We are going to specific places where people are in need. People are afraid. I have just been with a couple who came from two towns away to see how we can help them because they cannot sleep at night. They cannot be inside their houses because it trembles. So, we are placing tents so that people can live and not be outdoors,” Elder Alvarado explained.

Despite this reality, this experience holds the faith of  the Puerto Rican people firm, as it was indicated by Luis Arroyo, a resident from in the Ponce area who was affected by the earthquakes: “I tell the youth that we have to have faith because these are things that we don't know where they come from or why they are happening. Now it’s when we know the amount of faith we have, by ourselves or through others who are helping us,” Mr. Arroyo indicated.

María Maldonado, a resident of Peñuelas, also expressed her full trust in God during these moments: “We need to pray a lot. We need to believe that there is a true and living Father who is Jesus Christ and that, if we hold onto Him and go to the Church, we will be safe, because the only one who can save us from all this is our Heavenly Father”.

During Sunday morning, all congregations in Ponce, Puerto Rico, gathered only to take the sacrament and then went out to serve, distributing aids and ministering to those in need.

The Ponce Stake president, Frankie Ruiz, told the congregations: 'We, the members of the Church, can make a difference by serving others and by asking our Heavenly Father to have mercy and stop this terrible situation.'

He also motivated all those attending to exercise faith in favor of those who are in greater need right now: “Any small and simple act counts and will make a difference. We need to minister to our people, who need our faith, our prayers and diligence. It is time to put into practice everything we have learned in the gospel. As long as we serve Him and his children, God will take care of us”.

On Sunday afternoon, 165 Church members from the different stakes of the island gathered in the Ponce I chapel for a special devotional for volunteers. They came spontaneously and in solidarity with a large number of supplies that were collected by their own means, in aid of those affected.