Disaster Response in the Caribbean: Current Updates

By Staff, Sep 7, 2017
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Bev and Joe Fitzpatrick, missionaries in San Juan, Puerto Rico, are now able to get scattered cell service, but they still have no internet or text service. They currently have water but no electricity. They have enough food and drinking water and they have a grill for cooking. Lines for gasoline are a little shorter, (with a wait of only an hour and a half yesterday). They just learned that the seminary where Joe teaches will open again this week. They will only have day classes due to the lack of electricity, but Joe will be able to teach again. Bev asked that we pray for the unreached areas of the island. Thank you for continuing to pray for them and with them for Puerto Rico.

You can give through the Compassion Fund to help with relief efforts in San Juan. 


Thursday, September 28, 2017

On the heels of Hurricane Irma—one of the most powerful hurricanes on record—a storm nearly as powerful also blasted the Caribbean. Hurricane Maria made direct landfall on Puerto Rico on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, after lashing several other islands in the Caribbean. Our missionaries in Puerto Rico are safe, but gave us a bleak report for the immediate future.  

Puerto Rico is devastated. As you’ve no doubt already heard, the power grid on the whole island was all but destroyed. Those who have generators are using them, but they require fuel which is becoming scarce as time wears on. Water and food are in short supply. Communication is difficult as the few operable towers are jammed with electronic traffic. 

Our missionaries have asked for prayers for their ministry and for all those affected by these devastating storms.  

You can give through the Compassion Fund to help with relief efforts in San Juan. Alternatively you may give to the Hurricane Irma Relief project to help support our relief efforts in the Caribbean, currently focused on Cuba.  


Thursday, September 14, 2017
Our national partners in Cuba need our help! Please give to MTW’s Hurricane Irma Relief, where your gifts will directly help partner churches in Cuba.

Though our partner sites throughout much of the Caribbean saw a minimal impact from Hurricane Irma, our churches in Cuba have sustained substantial damage. Not only have Cuban church buildings collapsed or been seriously damaged, but the storm also affected the island nation’s food supply.

Missionary Richard Crane reports, “We have received reports that much of the crops and farms are affected and that there is a food shortage. Three important thermoelectric plants were damaged, thus large portions of the island are without electricity.”

This article in The Atlantic, “Hurricane Irma Crashes Across Northern Cuba,” includes heartbreaking photos that will help you get a picture of the devastation. 


Following is a note from Pastor Norberto Quesada (Pachy), and includes some of the specifics of how Irma affected MTW partner churches and communities.

Irma tears down, and the church builds up …

Just a few days after Irma passed through the island of Cuba, the destruction it caused as it battered the northern coast of the country is evident. Hundreds of destroyed electrical cables, houses without roofs, and many people without houses have been reported. The most unfortunate is the loss of 10 human lives that are facing eternity possibly without Christ. Today the Cuban people face one of the saddest moments in the country’s history in recent years.

Many of the “Los Pinos Nuevos” churches that are located in the hardest hit areas have suffered serious damage:

Gibara: Total collapse of part of the pastoral home/house church.

Sagua La Grande: The collapse was partial. But since it affected the whole structure of the building, repairs cannot be made on the existing building. It will need to be rebuilt.

Amaro suffered complete destruction. The home needs to be completely rebuilt.

Other buildings that were damaged: Chambast — total destruction, Camajuaní — complete roof, and Mayajigua — partial damage.

In spite of the crisis that the pastors and leaders of these affected areas are facing, we want to emphasize the fundamental value that we learn from Jesus’ example: to love those who need His love. For that reason, we want to change this suffering into a new way of seeing God. God can turn these crises into opportunities, trials into learning, and problems into blessings.

At this moment we are activating 10 community kitchens to feed the most needy. In these 10 difficult places the church has been given the opportunity to serve the community as a light in the midst of darkness. Volunteers at these locations are seeing new options for serving the community and to give living testimony of God’s love.

Focused on building? We are focused on:

  • Building serious relationships that have an impact in the kingdom of God.
  • Building opportunities to show everyone the Love of God.
  • Building solid foundations of protection for the most needy.
  • Building places of refuge, restoration and celebration for all Cubans.

 What do we need?

  • Brethren from other places and churches to go and support the reconstruction of these affected areas.
  • Construction materials and tools to rebuild the destroyed and damaged places.
  • Sufficient funds to purchase the construction materials for rebuilding the destroyed buildings.
  • Money to purchase canned food, blankets, clothing, and personal hygiene items.
  • People trained to work with people who have been traumatized by these types of events.

As Irma has left behind substantial damage and destruction, today the Cuban Church is rising up to rebuild the fallen walls, and to raise up its testimony and celebrate the victory of Christ the King.


Please give generously so that we can give the Cuban Church what it needs to rebuild! Visit MTW’s Hurricane Irma Relief to donate now.

Further updates will be posted on here as they become available.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

We've heard from our friends in Cuba that they have sustained damage and are in need of funds. We have re-opened the project and do need additional gifts to help meet their needs. Please give to Hurricane Irma Relief 2017 to help with rebuilding efforts in Cuba. We will post more information here as it becomes available. 


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Thank you so much for your prayers and gifts for those impacted by Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean! Join us in giving thanks for God’s mercy! Our missionaries and national partners are safe and our ministry sites were spared. Please continue to pray for those who are in areas where the storm’s impact was more severe. [Since this update we have learned of needs in Cuba. Please give to Hurricane Irma Relief 2017 to help meet these needs.]

Be prepared to serve the next time MTW responds to a disaster. Sign up for our October Disaster Response Training at


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hurricane Irma has passed through the Caribbean and we're happy to report that our missionaries and national partners are safe. 

Following is a report from missionary Esaie Etienne who oversees the ministry in Gonaives, Haiti, an area we were watching with concern: 

"Thank you to all who prayed for Haiti as Irma was battling on the coast of the Island. We have seen the devastations it Has created in the lesser Antilles, what it is doing now in Cuba and what it will do in Florida. We are grateful that Gonaives is safe. The reports we have received mention some flooding and house destruction (12 houses) in the Central Plateau in cities like Mirebalais and Ouanaminthe, some roof damages also in the North and Northwest. There is no death reported, but there is a possible one person missing.

Our heart goes to those in some areas of he country that have been affected by the passage of Irma, but we rejoice that the effect is not as bad as it was forecasted to be. The Lord knows Haiti cannot sustain another. We thank you for all your prayers. Please continue to pray for the ministry of Mission to the World in the city of Gonaives."

MTW's Global Disaster Response Ministry is continuing to assess damage across the Caribbean areas where MTW ministries are located. We will keep you posted here with any further updates. 


Friday, September 8, 2017, 12:00pm

Hurricane Irma has passed over the northern portion of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Our missionaries and national partners are safe, though some have lost power. We're thankful the storm has not been a direct hit to our partner communities thus far, though many others have been impacted.

Pray today for those in the Bahamas and Cuba as Irma hits those islands. Julian and Christiana Russell and John and Karen Stodghill, who serve in the Bahamas, have taken shelter and are waiting out the storm. Please remember to pray for our national partners and partner churches in these areas. 

We will be assessing the damage across the region in the upcoming days. 


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Monster storm Hurricane Irma is battering the Caribbean Islands, where MTW has missionaries and national partners. We're closely watching the storm as it hits Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

We've received word that MTW missionaries Joe and Bev Fitzpatrick as well as our national partners in San Juan, Puerto Rico, are safe. The storm left uprooted trees and widespread power outages. MTW's Global Disaster Response Ministry will be assessing the damage and needs in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. This will be an ongoing process as Irma moves across the islands.

We are preparing for a response, and your gifts can help tremendously. Please give to support to Hurricane Irma Relief to begin the work in helping those affected restore their ministries. 

The storm is hitting the Dominican Republic and Haiti today and heads next toward Cuba and the Bahamas. Our missionaries and national partners there are taking shelter in safe structures and awaiting storm landfall.

We will provide additional updates here as they become available. You can also follow updates on Facebook and Twitter at and

Thank you for your prayers, compassion, and generosity toward those in harm’s way. 

Please visit Hurricane Irma Relief to donate. To sign up for our October Disaster Response Training, visit


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Pastoral Intern
Theological Education in the Dominican Republic
On Mission Leadership Summit | October 31–Nov 1

Hurricane Matthew: Caribbean Response Update

Here's an update on the plans we have moving forward in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.


Haiti: Updates from a Country in Turmoil

Haiti has been mired in a downward spiral of a multifaceted crisis that has brought its people to their knees with a cry of desperation.


Haitians Endure Immense Suffering in Wake of 7.2 Earthquake

About 650,000 people (40% of Haiti’s population) are still in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.


Pray for our partners in the Caribbean who were hit hard by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Pray for our rebuilding efforts in Haiti and the Bahamas that is a response to Hurricane Matthew. That God will muliply the funds and strengthen the church.

Please pray for Haiti, and particularly for the safety of our ministry partners in Gonaives as they continue to labor patiently with the people.

Pray that a church-planting movement ignite in the Dominican Republic. Over the years, God has given us the opportunity to teach and train both Dominican and Haitian church leaders and we have finally launched a team in the DR.

Please pray for Dominican church leaders to be trained and equipped to start new churches in the DR.

Please pray for Haitians, particularly those in southern Haiti, whose communities were devastated by the recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Pray for God's work in Haiti as people are struggling under political turmoil and COVID-19.

Please pray for those impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas!

Pray for those in Puerto Rico still recovering from Hurricane Maria, and for the growth and strength of the Church there. 

Pray for the city of San Juan, where violent crime and drug abuse is rampant. Pray for national pastors and lay leaders as they seek to transform the culture of their city.


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