When CAM staff in Puerto Rico first met Carmen,* they were saddened to see her deplorable living conditions. Carmen’s house was being destroyed by termites. A Disaster Response crew easily tore down her infested walls by hand. The only items Carmen could salvage were a refrigerator, a table, four chairs, and a small chest of drawers.
Once Carmen saw the crews putting up new walls and a roof where her old house had been, she cried. Perhaps there was nothing else to do. Perhaps she had nearly given up hope. Maybe she could not believe that after all this time she would really have a new home. Carmen was known to be a woman of few words whose eyes spoke of hopelessness, despair, and emptiness. But as the work on her new house progressed, hope grew in her heart.
Carmen’s caseworker wrote a note of thanks to a Disaster Response coordinator, describing the change she saw in Carmen. “I bumped into [Carmen] today,” she wrote. “She saw me, stopped her car, and came right over to let me know she was on her way to her house, which is still under construction. [Carmen] is a client who . . . often spoke in a low tone of voice . . . seeing her today and in the past few days was different. She expressed happiness! I am a witness of the difference CAM has made in many lives. Thank you!”
After Carmen’s home was completed, a few Disaster Response staff ladies visited her and gave her a Bible and a comforter. Carmen’s English is limited, but her visitors understood the words, “I love you,” repeated to them over and over.
We as staff members are privileged to be a part of this work in Puerto Rico. It is only by God’s grace that we may be here, and I think we are being changed as well. We pray our time here has made a difference for God’s glory.
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