Monday, September 25, 2017

Central Florida Helps Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

by: Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD

When I wrote the most recent blog post (Hope for the Storms of Life), I had no idea that a much worse disaster would follow so soon. Hurricane Irma passed through central Florida more directly than anticipated, yet the impact could have been much worse. Even with the relatively small impact on my immediate community, the storm brought together our neighborhood. I am so grateful for the gift of community and fellowship.

Since then, an unprecedented storm ravaged my home island of Puerto Rico. The category 4 storm (with gusts of category 5 winds) left the entire island without power, many without water, and most without internet or phone access. Many towns remain completely out of reach due to collapsed bridges and communication towers, and thousands of people remain vulnerable to further damage from ongoing rain days after the storm. A humanitarian crisis has ensued, and although much help continues to arrive, distribution remains a challenge.

As you know, as a family physician and pastor's wife in central Florida, I love to serve as a bridge between ministries that serve the needy, the poor, and the underserved. I recognize the need to prepare our city for the influx of people with urgent medical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs in the coming weeks and months. I recognize the need to come together now to maximize the current resources and create new ones as specific needs are anticipated and recognized.

Thus, I'd like to use this blog as well as my Twitter page (@faithfulMDcoach) to connect ministries and efforts so we can collaborate without reinventing the wheel, and so we can help the most people efficiently and well--including meeting their spiritual and emotional needs as they arrive.

Here is a list of items to donate with drop-off locations in central Florida (see below for more).

We will help you rebuild. Puerto Rico, you are not alone!
A few other excellent resources:

United for Puerto Rico

Mental Health/Emotional Support Resource

Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration 

Central Florida Medical Ministries (scroll down on the right side of this blog for links)

Please spread the word and let me know of other resources and evolving relief efforts in central Florida. I will do all I can to update information as needed.

¡Puerto Rico se levanta con nuestra ayuda! (Puerto Rico will rise with our help!)

Blessings and Peace,

Dr Mari

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.  
Psalm 30:10

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hope for the Storms of Life

As I write, we are waiting for hurricane Irma, the category 5 storm that devastated the Caribbean just a few days ago. Our house is boarded up, and we feel as safe as one can feel while in the path of a powerful storm. Our weather radio is on my favorite station, Z88.3, which injects weather warnings between songs of hope and peace to help us prepare. I can't think of a better way to remain hopeful and ready for a storm.

© 2017 Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD
Below are a few songs that are particularly relevant during times like these.

These songs remind us that praising God in the midst of our storms is powerful. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people. As we pray and lift up His name, He blesses us with His presence, comfort, and peace. 

Praise is a fountain of life and peace.  

As praise rises, blessings descend.

May we all experience this in greater measure as we place our trust in Him, seeing every trial as an opportunity to learn to trust God more. And may these words of the psalmist become our prayer during the storms of life, for our God is the place of safety, joy, and peace.

 I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He answered me;
    He delivered me from all my fears....
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
    and He delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
Psalm 34:1-4, 7-8 

Please join me in praying for everyone on the path of this hurricane as well as the thousands of people who are now homeless or whose lives will never be the same again. I am thankful for the relief efforts already underway and for the many ways we can all help one another during such times. God bless you all, and thank you for your prayers.

Praising God in the storm,

Dr. Mari

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