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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    My first day in Puerto Rico for Humanitarian Relief

    January 10, 2018 / By Thaddeus Pinckney

    “Do all the good you can,
    By all the means you can,
    In all the ways you can,
    In all the places you can,
    At all the times you can,
    To all the people you can,
    As long as ever you can.”
    John Wesley

    Good-works, inspiration, persistence are all qualities that describe Pastor Yeika Huertas as she is trying to lead her church in storm-struck Carolina Puerto Rico. Her church suffered severe damage to its roof and sanctuary, while her parishioners were left to literally hunt for food, water, and shelter. Still today, months after Hurricane Maria, it's an everyday occurrence in Puerto Rico of having to simply survive.

    Can you imagine living for over four months without electricity or clean water? Now can you imagine tending to the needs of hundreds of church members and the entire community, who all wonder when this misery will end?  Surely, it would be easy for Pastor Yeika to just cope only with her losses and concentrate on fighting for her own survival.

    Some say the secret to happiness is helping others, but what if that promise of immediate happiness seems to be so far in the distance? What if your challenges were so great (even life-threatening) that the perks from helping others don’t feel perky at all? Could YOU ever do more for someone else, knowing that you’re doing less for yourself?  Living and helping can make us feel depleted, burdened, and sometimes even taken advantage of.

    Why, Pastor Yeika could choose to follow these commonly expressed feelings that I’m sure have entered her mind, but instead she chooses to "represent the hands and feet" of Christ to help people in all places at all times. Pastor Yeika even confides about the surprise on the faces of many when they discover that she is a young, female pastor cast into such a huge role. But, her passion through the love of Christ burns!

    Jeanette Graulau, from the UMC of Puerto Rico, reminds us that no one expected for the conditions in Puerto Rico to be so severe and lasting. American citizens in Florid, Texas, and Louisiana received an outpouring of humanitarian aid, but for Puerto Rico?  Seemingly, Puerto Rico has been forgotten by many. The United Methodist Church and UMCOR though is committed to being helping others like Pastor Yeika and her community, get back on their feet.

    Pastor Vieka said, "We can't give up, because the people depend on us...and no matter how burdened I will be, and I am, I have to because it's my responsibility. It's my privilege; it's my passion." 

    Editor’s Note:  You can help support relief efforts in Puerto Rico, by making out a check to Upper New York Conference with FUND # 483 - "2017 Hurricane Maria Disaster Relief" on the memo line.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 867 local churches and 65 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."