By Fred Heggestad, Desert Southwest Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator

While spiritually leading churches through lent, seven pastors, a seminary student and a certified lay minister from the Desert Southwest Conference have been preparing to serve on a Disaster Relief Early Response Team (ERT), in cooperation with UMCOR efforts. This ‘Pastor Team’ is set to travel on a red-eye flight to Puerto Rico on Monday, April 23 for a nine-day mission. Duties will likely be physical, clearing debris ravaged by Hurricane Maria from damaged homes, in the humid climate with little chance of running water and electricity. The assignment, based near Camp Corson in Jayua, is a mountainous region located in central Puerto Rico that is unfamiliar to anyone from Arizona or Nevada. The team is awaiting specific duties expected during the mission.

The ‘Pastor Team’ to Puerto Rico includes Fred Heggestad (First Henderson UMC), Tom Mattick (Retired – Las Vegas area), Susan Holden (University UMC in Las Vegas), Robin Lee (Hope UMC in Bullhead City), Jen Lambert (Red Mountain UMC in Mesa), Doug Handlong (Central UMC in Phoenix), Brooke Isingoma (Page Community UMC), Sarah Allen (Seminary Student & CLM in Page, AZ) and Terry Allen (CLM in Page, AZ).

This mission will cost approximately $120 per day, per person. If a family or church would like to sponsor a pastor who is willing to serve outside of their comfort zone, for the greater glory of God, there are opportunities! Donations are being accepted to sponsor a pastor for a day ($120) or half day ($60) through the Conference office. Use “Conference Disaster Relief” or “Puerto Rico” in the notes when donating.

Puerto Rico is looking for additional teams to serve throughout 2018. If anyone would like to join a future disaster relief team to Puerto Rico, contact your pastor or me, the Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator, Fred Heggestad, at .

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