Hi, I wanted to update you on a recent conversation I had with Angie Rivera as I was curious how post hurricane life was going in Puerto Rico, and in particular, for our Ascension family. Angie shared the following information with me: The progress is slow at times and somewhat depressing. There are bright spots, especially when she sees the extensive damage in other parts of the island and realizes that she and other church members are blessed as it could have been much worse. Ascension remains extremely grateful for the support they received from their Covenant family. The lanterns, batteries, flashlights are still being used with a small stock pile being kept at the church (and used when the generator can’t keep up with demands). There are many changes going on at Ascension and as always, Angie and our church family maintain a positive attitude and trust that God will provide what’s necessary.

 Myra (Angie’s cousin) met with FEMA and found out they’d build her a new home in 2018. This time she will use cinder blocks!

 Over 100,000 people have left Puerto Rico for the mainland.

 Shopping malls are always crowded as people are recharging phones, getting water, cooling off in the air conditioning.

 65-70% of the power is restored in Dorado (electricity and water). The mountainous regions are still without power/water. About 55-60% of the island has power. Still no traffic lights.

 College students have been greatly affected by the hurricane. Most colleges (the ones that are now open) have extended semesters to March 31st instead of December 31st.

 Pastor Graciela’s retirement is effective 12/31/17. She will be missed by her congregation! She is retiring due to personal health issues and caring for her mom who has Alzheimer’s disease.

 Per Angie, there is a shortage of Pastors in PR and there might only be two pastors who could replace Pastor Grace. One of them is Sharon, who grew up as a member of the Ascension congregation.

 Ascension will soon find out if their proposal on how they will repay a $78,000 loan to purchase the property behind the church, is accepted.

 Angie will talk to Council members on when the next youth exchange might be and how we can continue to assist them. Originally, they had planned to come to Covenant but in light of the hurricane, they might consider having us return to assist with rebuilding, painting, etc.