On Mission Magazine

Neighborhood Portrait: Comerío

05.18.18

The never-say-die story of Comerío

In Comerío, Puerto Rico, almost everything can be defined as “before” or “after.” On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria tore through the town of 22,000. Once the sky cleared and the shoulder-deep floodwaters receded, no building or life was untouched.

Jorge Santiago began preparing to plant a church in Comerío just weeks before the hurricane. “I was so heartbroken because I knew my people needed help,” he says. “But we didn’t feel left behind because the first responders were Send Relief.”

Before Hurricane Maria, Comerío was one of almost 40 cities in Puerto Rico with no Southern Baptist church. After the storm, Send Relief provided supplies and volunteer teams for pastors and church planters like Jorge and helped create opportunities for gospel conversations. As a result, Jorge was able to launch One Church a year earlier than planned.

Like most in Puerto Rico, the majority of people in Comerío claim Catholicism, but few attend church. For Jorge, that meant the gospel was something new to many people in his community. So there’s another “before” and “after” for Comerío.

“We didn’t know how hard Maria was going to be for Puerto Rico,” says Jorge. “But God was doing something. When I think about all that happened in Comerío, I can’t see anything else but a new opportunity to start over again and to build strong.”

Browse the chapters below for more stories of hope from Comerío.