LYNCHBURG, Va. – Just in time for the school year, these pictures show how thankful these little children are in Puerto Rico for the churches in Virginia.
John Wyble is the pastor of Living Word Baptist Church in Forest. His church is one of the many churches in the Commonwealth who helped buy 250 backpacks loaded with school supplies.
"When I see those pictures and we see the bags from their school supplies, I'm thrilled to know that they received a blessing. Not only them, but a blessing to their parents as well,” Wyble said.
Wyble says they have a small congregation but felt the call to help.
"We know that it's possible that some will reach deaf people. Maybe the parents of deaf people or deaf children there. We don't know,” Wyble said.
Helping lead the effort is the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia.
Officials said in nearly a year since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, they've raised more than $600,000 and have sent over 300 volunteers and counting.
"There are tens of thousands of homes that still have blue plastic tarps for their roofs. And we have to send teams and continue to send workers down there so we can finish the job to ensure their homes are repaired,” Mark Gauthier, disaster relief director of SBC of Virginia, said
One new thing the organization is working on now is to open new churches on the island, Pastor Carlos Payan is helping lead this.
"We have like four or six church planters there and so the next month, September, we are going to get the first partnership with SBCV and church planter there in Puerto Rico,” Payan, pastor of Iglesia de las Americas, said.
The pastors said progress is slow, but they aren't giving up on the people living on the island.