Carolina Luciano Burgos is originally from Puerto Rico and earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication in 2021. She is now enrolled in LBC | Capital’s Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Leadership program. She says, “I strongly believe it is God’s purpose for me to be here at LBC, and I couldn’t be happier to walk on the path He has prepared for me. God’s path may not be as clear right now, but I know for certain that I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t come to LBC.” One of her goals is to return to Puerto Rico to teach church members and leaders how to communicate effectively through media. As hurricanes impact many during the fall 2022 season, Carolina recounts her experiences with two major storms.)
On Sept. 18, 2022, Puerto Rico was struck by then-Category 1 Hurricane Fiona. Its quick and unpredictable development left Puerto Ricans unprepared and fearful.
Uncontrollable floods taking houses and mudslides burying cars and belongings have been the consequences of more than 25 inches of rain across the island. Constant rain for nearly 24 hours caused rivers to flood, destroying streets, bridges and houses.
Some compare this event to the rainfall of Category 5 Hurricane Maria in 2017, which destroyed all crops along with most of the dairy farms and agricultural buildings. Hurricane Fiona, though disorganized and not as powerful, was no different.
Puerto Ricans had very little time to prepare accordingly. Stores were packed with people searching for generators and non-perishable foods. Gas station lines snaked longer as the days went by. And those in these lines were fearful of history repeating itself.
Almost exactly five years ago, on Sept. 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria struck the island, destroying everything in its path. Puerto Ricans were left without power, communication and water for months—some even a year. (Hurricane Fiona also struck on anniversary of Category 3 Hurricane Hugo 33 years ago.)
Even before Hurricane Fiona made landfall, Puerto Rico was already in the dark. No power, no water. The sound of energy generators in every house could be heard across the night.
Today, five years after Maria, Puerto Ricans are still on a path to recovery. Now, after Fiona, many will have to start all over again in the rebuilding of their lives—back to square one.
Hurricane Maria set a precedent. A before and an after. If there’s one word that describes Puerto Ricans, it is “resilient”—a word that has come to mean “victorious.” From natural disaster to natural disaster, they have been able to overcome.
Regardless of the things happening and how hard and difficult they may seem, God is in control and can turn this terrible situation around for His glory. God will indeed take care of His people, and prayer is a powerful tool.
Here are some ways you can pray for Puerto Rico and other areas being impacted by hurricanes:
- Peace, as many are still experiencing some form of trauma from past storms and worry about the future.
- Patience, as thousands wait for services to be restored to full capacity.
- Strength, as many begin the recovery process with the few resources or belongings they have left.
- Compassion, for first responders as they do their best to help citizens.
- Hospitals and medical personnel, as they need power and stamina while helping people stay alive or live well.
- Wisdom, for leadership so they may be guided by God to make the right choices and take steps toward disaster relief.
As a Puerto Rican myself, who was in the midst of both hurricanes and suffered their consequences, we will get through this as we have done in the past. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 1:31: “And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place” (NLT).
He will take good care of us. And like we always say, “Pa’ ‘tras, ni pa’ coger impulso”—don’t look back, don’t give up.