The Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, traveled to Puerto Rico last week to deliver water and generators to the island, which was badly battered by Hurricane Maria.
While there, he met with church leaders and mayors in San Juan, Carolina, Caguas, Utuado and Dorado to launch a partnership between his coalition and a church group on the island to deliver aid and supplies.
Salguero’s coalition will work with the Puerto Rico Pentecostal Association alongside World Vision, the international relief organization, to help the island nation, where the vast majority of its 3.4 million inhabitants still lack power and water.
RNS spoke to Salguero who also serves as a pastor at Calvario City Church, a large Assemblies of God congregation in Orlando, Fla. The interview was edited for length and clarity.
What was it like in Puerto Rico?
I got there Friday (Sept. 29). It was emotionally overwhelming. My parents are from Puerto Rico and I have family there. The airport was packed with people trying to get out, especially people who are ill or mothers with children. It’s devastating. Power lines are down. I stayed at a camp on bunk beds. You bring a mosquito net and a flashlight.
How were you able to bring water and generators?
We had a plane donated to us by a businessperson. We took a team of five. We brought all the supplies we could bring on the charter plane.