Our last day of our second mission trip to Puerto Rico was a time to reflect on the week’s events and to give thanks for the impact our trip has had on each of us and the people we had the privilege to serve. The work our youth performed was amazing and transformed two houses into a place of joy for the owners who were chosen by the Puerto Rico Episcopal Relief Organization based on the need of the applicants.
In areas located from the expensive resort areas, the people are suffering greatly. Although the poverty rate has marginally improved recently from 44% to 43%, it is still much higher than the US National rate of 13% and is more than double the poverty rate of 19% in Mississippi. People continue to leave Puerto Rico by about 4% of their population each year as a result of fewer opportunities and the damage done by multiple hurricanes and earthquakes. Our hope is that our work and joyful presence will lighten the burden for a few.
On our last day Sunday, we worshiped at the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist and were welcomed during and after the service by Rev. Canon Dimas Muñoz. We were provided lunch by the church.
The airport experience and flight home went without incident and a happy group of parents were waiting at Reagan National Airport late on Sunday. Special thanks to Elizabeth Malone who served as our sole female chaperone and who related well to our youth and provided inspired leadership throughout the trip. It was an honor for me to once again be part of a really special group of teenagers who made new friends and grew closer with old friends. –Denis McMullan
Video Minute below: Boarding the Plane Home