There’s progress at La Perla!
La Perla is a ghetto neighborhood in Old San Juan, famous for its danger, drugs, and witchcraft. But that reputation is fading – God has been tilling the soil and, even with the destruction from Hurricane Maria, there’s life rising up. Our part began in January this year, posted in When God Moves Into el Barrio (Pt 1) and progress was posted here, The Pastor of La Perla (el Barrio Pt 2) and here, Progress at La Perla! (Pt 3).
So what’s new?
Pastor Ivan’s workshop, planned for youth to create marketable art and express the Gospel truth outside of church walls, still not completed!
I thought our trip would include a ribbon cutting! But Pastor Ivan shared some of the bumps along this road. Modern day ‘Sanballats’ – like the one who opposed Nehemiah’s wall building, arose to sabotage and steal. One man, masquerading as a Christian, joined to help yet once he saw the value of the project he produced some kind of paperwork to the town hall, attempting to prove that he himself owned the land. The scheme failed but halted construction for some time.
With the great drain of professionals and skilled laborers out of Puerto Rico, finding real construction workers is a big challenge. Many unemployed folks exaggerate or fabricate skills just to get work. This creates unstable structures and do-overs in the work.
But in all this, Christian groups have stopped by and worked. There’s been fellowship and camaraderie. In ways we may not know, with the Lord the process is as valuable as the finished end!
While there we installed a window (OK, my husband installed it but I passed the tools!)
The beautiful part of the trip was the fellowship with families in La Perla and especially with Pastor Ivan. Puerto Rico is in trouble. Residents and businesses are abandoning their property and moving out in droves. Corrupt government, unemployment, and despair are unraveling the island. But God is there. And if anyone is looking, they might just find Him at La Perla!