Neuendorf_Latin America_May2020

A few notes from LCMS Missionaries, James & Christel





In His Perfect Timing

We had our first in-person worship service in the reopening on Pentecost Sunday. We met in the outdoor patio of our earthquake damaged buildings rather than the much smaller rented location where we could barely seat 10 people under the strict social distancing requirements. 

Because of our position on the globe, Puerto Rican summers are hot, and Ponce is the hottest part of the island; but fortunately, our usual 3pm service time just happens to perfectly coincide with the ideal angle of the sun for casting shade over our patio. Like clockwork, we set up the altar and sound system under a blazing sun, and the cool shade swept over the impromptu sanctuary right at 3:00. Having recently spent a lot of my free time being fascinated by precise orbital mechanics because of the recent SpaceX launch, the timing of it all really struck me. So much of what we are doing lately seems like we are making it up as we go, yet God was always a step ahead. 

The shade came from a quenepa tree that was probably planted when the historic house that is now our mercy center was built, perhaps 100 years ago. A church member reminded me that they were dealing with their own pandemic in Ponce back then. This type of tree is a symbol of the city, and every year there is a festival to celebrate the harvest of the delicious quenepa fruit, (you may know it as the Spanish lime.) The seedling of that tree made many trips around our sun before it was ready to provide that perfectly timed shade, patiently marching towards its purpose for 2020. 

It was not only the position of the sun on the horizon however, but of the earth around the sun. Pentecost Sunday is the day we celebrate the church emerging from its enclosure in the upper room and spreading into the whole world. We celebrate the beginning of a new era, the harvest that comes with God’s perfect timing. God had waited patiently since the time of creation for the right moment to pour out His Spirit on mankind again, to begin the harvest season of the righteousness of His Son. The seed planted at the dawn of the world had grown and put out its leaves to bear fruit, patiently marching its way to the day of the Lord. 

In my sermon, to those gathered under the shade of that tree, I pointed out the implication in Joel’s prophecy which is cited in Acts, that the “Last Days” begin at Pentecost. I directed their attention to the crumbling towers and rubble all around us and asked, “is this what the end of days looks like?” Perhaps we are all so concerned with determining the times and knowing if this is the end of the world, that we have forgotten what the “end” means to our Lord. It means that the long-awaited fruits of the tree planted long ago are ripe. It means it is time for the harvest! I directed their attention to the quenepa tree above them, filled with the tiny beginnings of thousands of fruits, (they will be ready to pick in August). 

This is what Pentecost means, this is what God’s timing brings, and this is where we are at in our long trip around the sun. Our little congregation has re-emerged after months of lock-down. In the midst of the ruins of our city, you can see the little buds and shoots of new relationships, of interest in the Gospel of Jesus Christ for sinners, everywhere.  We don’t know what is next, it’s hurricane season now, but all time is God’s time, and He has declared it harvest time. 

-Pastor James Neuendorf



LCMS Neuendorf





We have not met in our church on Calle Salud since early January apart from a brief visit during the Foro due to the earthquake damage. 

As you read earlier, we have a beautiful Quenepa tree in our patio along with a mango tree in the back that drops its leaves perpetually. Because of that we were in need of some major clean up. Many of the members came out a few days before the Pentecost service and cleaned up the grounds! This was the first time we had all seen in each together in months! We had a fun time and at least for a few hours things seemed to be back to normal. 



Virtual VBS! We have begun working as a team alongside the Lutheran Hour office here to offer a VBS online. We are sending out boxes of crafts and special snacks to participants in June to be used over a span of three weeks in July. 

We hope to send you videos of what the team will be sharing over zoom.

COVID 19 has definitely brought our ministry efforts together even more as a team, and this VBS is certainly one of them. We ask for prayers as we continue to work together on offering this unique VBS this year to share about who we are as God’s new creation through Jesus’ death and resurrection!



Welcome Baby Joseph Tion DiLiberto, born May 15! Thank you for your prayers for the DiLiberto family! Joseph was brought into the family of God through the waters of Baptism on May 23.


A big congratulations to Deaconess Intern Stephanie Wilde and to Cindy Pine, Associate Business Manager for Latin America,  for completing one year with the Office of International Mission. 

We often think of a missionary’s service beginning once they arrive to the field, but it really starts once you accept the call or appointment and begin your journey at orientation. 

We keep joking with Stephanie if she expected to go through all of what she has in the last six months on her internship. However, because of all of that, Cindy is here with us in Puerto Rico! Through it all, the Lord is faithful! 

We also celebrate along with Cindy and Stephanie, Kate Philips (also on her internship) and Courtney Zalmanoff for their one year anniversary as well!



Hurricane season has officially started. As we prepare for the usually more intense months (August and September), we are stocking back up a little bit each month at each Mercy House. In July we are planning a Disaster Response course with Rev. Gustavo Maita for the members of Fuente de Vida. Our goal and prayer is that this kind of preparation becomes more and more a part of the congregation’s identity and something they lead each year in preparation for hurricane season.





  • Continued reopening of church and community activities in Ponce
  • Thanksgiving for a safe delivery of baby DiLiberto
  • Thanksgiving for Stephanie and Cindy on completing one year of service 





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

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