Our Executive Secretary (Bishop) Miguel Angel Cancú sent the latest solar oven mission to three new sites on the north coast of the island: Sosua, Gaspar Hernandez, and Sabaneta de Yasica. We are always surprised by what we discover:
In Sosua we visited a community called Villa Liberación, a housing project built by the government to house a large group of people who previously lived in shantytowns located along the Sosua River. Poor people often build their shacks right up to the river’s edge because no one else will. The risk of flooding is 100% whenever there is a tropical storm or even a day of extra heavy rainfall. So the government relocated about 3,000 of these persons at high risk to the Villa Liberación housing project. The apartments are overcrowded, unemployment is high and water is scarce. Their lives are saved from flooding but new miseries attend them.
We did a solar oven demonstration at Villa Liberación and it felt good to be with this community. It is a group of people who need a break in life. The solar ovens can be a part of an ongoing ministry of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God is here and is coming. Our hope is to continue to share this message in word and deed.
Gaspar Hernandez received us with open arms. The weather gave us some trouble in bringing a rain storm after we had started cooking. But after a half hour the sun shone again and we were able to continue to cook most of the food. Even though the demonstration was dampened by rain, Pastor Vilorio and his wife Rosa could see the potential of the solar ovens and are enthusiastic to continue this ministry in their area. They too have a ‘river’s edge population’ with whom they would like to share this blessing.
Sabaneta de Yasica: here the sun was in full power with no clouds and we cooked chicken and beef, baked bread and cakes, made pizza, prepared vegetables and had a feast together for two days. The local church folks in attendance were more than excited, they were inspired. One woman declared she was ‘in love’ with this new way of cooking. Another man stated with religious fervor that this new technology for him and his community was equal to that of the moon landing. And yet another woman was caught up in the excitement of the moment. After the food had been removed from a very hot oven she asked how you turned it off.
The solar oven team makes this possible and we are grateful to each one who left home and hearth to respond to God’s call: Rick and Lorna Jost, Naomi Hatfield, Charles Schnabel, Melinda Williams, Rev. Phil Lint, Krista Honomichl, Makenzie Huber, and Brianna Whitaker.