Neuendorf_Latin America_Mar2020

A few notes from LCMS Missionaries, James & Christel





Closed Doors

I suppose I don’t need to tell you what it is like to be in quarantine. I doubt I need to talk about the anxiety that people are feeling, the fear or the panic that has overtaken the city. I don’t need to tell you what it is like being separated from your family or having to interact with them through the blue glow of a screen. It would be pointless for me to tell you about the long lines, the empty shelves, the driving restrictions, the police presence. I know that you understand what it is like, because you also are living it. You know all about these things, better than you would like, I imagine.

More than ever before, we are closer to our partners in ministry even as we are farthest away. This is a gift, as Paul says to the Philippians we share the cost as we share the joy of the reward. So what can I share with you that hasn’t been shared? What hope can I offer that you haven’t heard a hundred times from your own pastors, and hopefully your fellow believers? Perhaps this will shine some light into the dark places;

Have you ever noticed that despite the joy of Easter, the disciples mostly remain shut up in the upper-room until Pentecost comes? The Risen Lord remains with them for 40 days, but even though they are bliss filled days, they remain concealed away from the world. Even as the seed begins to spring forth from the ground, filled with potential and new life, it remains hidden and small. Before Pentecost, you could contain the entire church of Christ in the entire world in a single large room (Acts 1:15 tells us there were about 120 of them).

Yet these were not idle days, the Lord was working hard among His disciples to prepare the church for the explosion of Pentecost. He was laying the groundwork for their testimony to the nations. I find it interesting that there are 120 disciples present, because this means that for every Apostle (if we prorate Matthias of course), there are 9 other disciples, already the multiplication is primed for the day of Pentecost, like a legion ready to march. 

The miraculous expansion of the church on the day of Pentecost doesn’t come out of nowhere, it grows from the Holy Spirit breathed germination of this group of believers who were hidden away with the risen Christ. 

As I’m sure it has been for you, the quarantine has been discouraging. As a church-planter, it feels as though all my tools have been taken away from me. We cannot make visits, we cannot host events, we can’t be out in the streets. Our fragile little congregation is scattered and most don’t have access to the internet or even phones. Increased poverty and depression are grave concerns, the vast majority of employed Puerto Ricans were hourly workers and the economy was already in shambles. I am especially concerned about the domestic violence epidemic in which Puerto Rico was already entangled. To top it all, here in the south, many are living in temporary housing with few possessions because their homes were destroyed in the earthquakes.

We are doing whatever we can to attend to them, dropping off groceries and supplies for those most in need (to the extent we are permitted), making phone calls and sending letters, and for those who are able, providing worship services and bible studies online. The pastors produce twice daily devotions which are broadcast on the radio and the internet via facebook, and Christel and Stephanie have been working hard to provide Sunday School packets for families, as well as other activities for women via the internet.

Your generosity following the earthquakes has put us in a unique position to help those in need. Our new neighbors at our temporary facility, a family pharmacy, are partnering with us to distribute relief bags with medicine and needed supplies to people in need in the community with the funds that many of you have sent. We’ve been using the art and craft supplies many of you mailed to us to help families with young children, and other support that has been sent to help make the difference in families whose financial situation is on the brink because of a lost job.

We have been working on our internet outreach, and over 500 new people from the city of Ponce have begun following our facebook page and receiving our devotions and activities. 40 local families have signed up to participate in our Sunday School by mail. For the most part we are sending out the Word into the void, as we do not hear back from the majority, and if there is any interest, we cannot make a follow-up visit yet, not in person anyway. Like the disciples in the Upper Room with Jesus, we are not idle, but yet our work remains hidden, at least from us.

But friends, take heart. Easter is about receiving the concealed and secret joy in a world of bad news, that sin, death, and the devil are over. Pentecost is about proclaiming that good news to the entire world. The harvest is ready, the workers are few, but the Lord of the Harvest is risen and working even now, even in secret. Easter is here, and Pentecost is coming! 

Christ is Risen! Aleluya!

-Pastor James Neuendorf



LCMS Neuendorf




This month we had our Spring Foro. We spent one day in Ponce and another in Mayagüez. It was so great to reconnect with our supporters and share with them the updates on ministry here. COVID 19 preparations seemed to start on Saturday which changed some of the travel plans of our guests as well as our Foro activities. We are thankful everyone returned home safely and is healthy.



Sunday school "was" back in action after a month and a half of moving to various locations and getting our schedules back in place. One of the board members of Fuente de Vida has started helping teach the lesson as we go through A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories.

Scroll down a little more to see what Sunday school looks like now. 




Back in early March we planned with the health department to do a workshop on how to protect yourself and your family from COVID and other airborne contagious viruses. We were a bit too late as curfew hit Puerto Rico a few days prior to our workshop. 

In preparation the congregation put together bags of hand sanitizer, soap, a Bible and some other items. Since the workshop didn’t happen, we were left with 50 bags of needed items that we couldn’t hand out.

Our temporary church location is right next to a pharmacy (who owns our building). They are still allowed to be open so we gave the bags to them to pass out to those who needed the items. They then added Panadol (Tylenol) to the bags and other items as needed by their clients. 

There have been various times over these last few months where we have thought, “well that just didn’t work out” and well, it didn’t work out how WE thought it would, but the Lord knew and has worked through our flawed thinking and planning to care for His people. To Him be praised.




We were hoping to offer art and craft classes at CARD (Mercy House) starting in March, but that has been put on hold. We have since taken to Facebook and have begun to offer classes via Facebook Live. Missionary Ruth Maita has been teaching classes every Friday morning. 

We made an ad on our Facebook page that the first 15 people to respond to our class would receive a water color packet. We had an awesome response and were able to mail out our water color sets and other supplies that we have received as donations and church information in each pack. 



CARD goes mobile. I mentioned above that we were just getting into a Sunday school schedule after the quakes and moving locations for church various times. With COVID 19, we are no longer able to meet as a congregation until the mandate for not meeting in large groups is lifted.

So, we took CARD mobile.  A lot of our kids just got back to school early March after all the quakes and are now back to where they were before but now with tight restrictions of not being able to go out at all.

I (Christel) started a binder of activities following our regular curiciullum and added some more activities and fun things to do at home along with some crafts. I was very thankful for the help of my fellow teammates and missionaries around the region for their insight and help to make this happen.

The bag included a craft that was prepared for us by the LWML of Emmanuel Fort Wayne as well some easy to prepare food for people to have on hand when they can’t go to the store.




  • Those who are alone and sheltering in place.
  • COVID 19 – anxiety, frustration, safety.
  • Continued response on the Fuente de Vida facebook page.





Neuendorf · PO Box 647 · Flushing, MI 48433 · USA

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