Presbyterians Today

NOV-DEC 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 39 his congregation and its surround- ing community. In fact, pastors and church workers across Puerto Rico received grants from the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions to help them get back on their feet. For the Silva family, their grant restocked the refrigerator, replaced household supplies and bought gasoline that helped Manuel travel to and from Aguadilla to provide pastoral care and tend to other needs. Like congregations across the church, Manuel says his congregation supports PC(USA) Special Offerings because it is "part of who we are." "We take care of people who really need it," he said. Pat Cole is a communications specialist with the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Lucianna says Menaul's academic programs and spiritual emphases have lived up to her expectations. The school has also helped her gain confidence. Once too frightened to sing alone on stage, she is now at ease singing solos in the Menaul choir, and she enjoys acting and singing in dramatic musicals. Lucianna, though, has no aspira- tions to be in the spotlight on stage. If anything, Menaul's service projects and mission trips have helped shape her career aspirations, and that is to be a nurse or a teacher, Lucianna says. "I really do want to help people," she shared. "I know that sounds like a cliché, but that [desire to help] is what I got from Menaul." Comfort in times of crisis In Puerto Rico, the Rev. Manuel D. Silva felt the challenge of helping others in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island in 2017. He felt the dual burden of caring for his family and his congregation, Iglesia Presbiteriana Aguadilla. Nobody in his family or congrega- tion was among the thousands who perished, but the September hurri- cane caused tremendous destruction in Aguadilla and across the island. The property damage wrought by the storm was in the billions, and many on the island were without electricity for months. When the storm hit, Manuel's wife, Sylvette, was pregnant with their second child, and like thousands of others in Puerto Rico, the Silva family's home was unsafe for habita- tion. The couple and their first son, Caleb, moved into a tiny apartment Manuel's father owns in a neighbor- ing town. Gifts to the Christmas Joy Offering helped Manuel's family recover and enabled him to serve LEARN MORE This December's Christmas Joy Offering will provide Presbyterians yet another opportunity to extend the love of Christ to those in need. To learn more, visit specialofferings.pcusa.org/christmasjoy COURTESY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN MISSION AGENCY COURTESY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN MISSION AGENCY Christmas Joy gifts not only helped the Rev. Manuel D. Silva take care of his church family after Hurricane Maria, but his own family as well. The late Rev. Ralph Hamburger and his wife, Mary, were able to enjoy their retirement years because of generous giving from others.

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