In an effort to reach outside our comfort zone as a youth group, we prayed, and then selected Puerto Rico to serve in 2014. We served the Spanish and English-speaking people of this Caribbean island. We partnered with a local church who was in great need of our help from an outreach vantage point. They wanted youth that could both work as builders and also integrate easily with the community and the various community leaders. We found its people warm, caring and in need of physical and spiritual assistance. We worked in an inner city location on an empty lot the church had owned for many years but could not afford to fix — nor had the laborers to complete the work. Because of the disrepair of the lot, and the dangers associated with it for young children, we were able to go in and clear the lot and then prepare and lay the cement foundation for a place of worship, VBS and a safe place for the neighborhood children and families to play and gather. The people in the community came out from all corners– those in local gangs, those impoverished, those alone, all came together to give us an experience of life we will cherish always. And we prayed as a group to come back to this beautiful part of the country.
Our youth are part of the local youth group and earn money through various fund raising initiatives to pay their fees, the building costs and their travel and housing fees each year.