Update from Puerto Rico: “Cruz y Canela”

Surrounded by a deep, blue ocean, Puerto Rico is a small island filled with colorful and caring people. Living here is like living with a great big family of 3.8 million members. When something positive happens, we all celebrate together. When it’s something negative, we all cry together as well. The past year seems to have been filled with more of the latter, for this tropical paradise has seen its moral and social structure greatly challenged by increase in crime, child and domestic abuse, drug dealing and drug use, and a host of other problems. The tears among us as a society have been more frequent than we could have ever imagined.

In the midst of these difficult situations, the Lord has continued to open many doors to serve Him as a consultant and teacher in counseling to pastors and ministry leaders. He has also given me opportunities to share His words of salvation and healing in different churches and radio programs.

“Cruz y Canela” is one of the ministries where I have dedicated much of my time. This ministry integrates the arts and counseling in order to work with children and youth in Loiza—one of the poorest and crime-ridden towns on the island. Through Cruz y Canela, we have offered leaders training, workshops in the public schools, retreats, outreaches in the projects and a week-long VBS (150 children participated), among other activities.

During one of our events, a young lady approached us and inquired why we would come there to serve them, for they had grown accustomed to the constant stigma and rejection resulting from the town’s negative reputation. Her eyes filled with tears when she was told that Jesus loved Loiza and that we were sent by Him to share with them the hope and love that only He can give. Please pray that we can continue to bring the good news of the gospel to the precious people of Loiza!

-Evelyn Badillo-Cordero, Puerto Rico