Neuendorf_Puerto Rico_Jan2021.pdf

They call it the Pica Pica, which might literally translate to the “itch-itch tree”. It definitely has earned its name! Recently as we were working together as a team to prepare our CARD center in Mayaguez for re-opening our in-person classes (which we hope to have coincide with the return to schools in March), we had an encounter with this legendary tropical tree. 

I was working in one of the classrooms when I began to feel my arms itching and burning. I looked over to see others on the team doing the same and asked them if they were feeling alright. “No!” came the answer, everyone was starting to itch like crazy. What was going on? Well, it turns out that outside of the building, during the long lockdowns, a Pica Pica, an “itch-itch tree” had grown up and was releasing its millions of miniscule needles onto the beautiful Puerto Rican January breeze and straight into our skin.

Trying to remove the tree and its wickedly dangerous fruits was a challenge to say the least, the closer we came to the tree the more the invisible airborne needles would fend us off. Moving the fruits in the least way would be met with vengeance; and we needed to clip them from afar one at a time in a way that could safely capture the needles in a bag or drop them over a cliff. We sprayed the tree with poison, and next plan to chop it down and burn the roots. 

Our sin is a lot like that Pica Pica tree, while you aren’t looking it quietly grows and latches on to everything that it can, then does all it can to stop you from finding it and rooting it out. Getting close to it requires a willingness to suffer its barbs and deal with it, to destroy it once and for all. Until it has been dealt with however, it makes all of the space around it unusable and unpleasant. It takes ownership of the very air around it. 

The good news of the Gospel that we proclaim is that Jesus has come to deal with this horrible and dominating oppressor that we don’t dare to approach. Jesus takes the barbs upon His own skin, and by His death on the ultimate cursed tree, sets us free from this oppressive ruler and clears the air and retakes the territory for us. The chaos surrounding us in these recent days has been a lot like that tree, the consequences of sin seem to get into every nook and cranny of our society and family and lives, ruining everything they touch. By the end of the day, I learned to truly hate the Pica Pica tree, and days later I still find areas of my skin that must have these needles still lodged in them. 

I imagine that lately you have come to hate your sin, and the sin of the world more and more as well as you see it take over everything it touches and make it untouchable and unapproachable. Perhaps the Pica Pica was one of those first weeds that came in to curse the ground after the fall, but our Lord is a gardener who is equal to the task!  If you have the equivalent of a Pica Pica tree growing somewhere in your own life, take care to not let it grow too large, and most importantly, bring it to the attention of your Savior, who has taken all sin upon Himself. He is merciful, even when our sin is not. This is good news for all people, and what you have sent us to Puerto Rico to proclaim!

Together, let us rejoice and share the good news of Jesus, the new Adam who keeps the garden better than we could ever imagine!



LCMS Neuendorf

Mañana de Manualidades (Craft Morning).  Missionary Ruth Maita and I (Christel) hosted our second in-person craft event this last Saturday in Ponce. We will repeat this in Mayaguez this coming weekend. 

It has been a huge blessing to receive people into our church building that we have met online over the quarantine time.

We continue our weekly art classes on Facebook Live. This month we are focusing on Bullet Journalling.

Every month we continue with our Exploradores de Creación club. We meet on zoom with the kids who joined our VBS in July. They listen to “Carlos” who is a an explorer (and puppet) share about his adventures and the Bible story for the month. 

This month, Stephanie designed and planned the craft that we mail out to each participant a week or so ahead of time. We record a “how to” and watch it over zoom after our story time.

Our team has been working a lot in our CARD centers in getting them up and running for more in-person classes and events. In Mayaguez they are moving around the short-term team housing areas to accommodate for a learning center on the lower level for ESL and music students. Paso a paso.

Working on the educational building! There is a small building behind the church building that was used for offices from the previous owner. This month it has been cleaned up and rewired to be a place for Bible classes, Sunday school, workshops, etc. Pictured to the left is one of the members of Fuente de Vida spending his Saturday painting the walls.

There is a local cafe by church that we walk to sometimes for lunch. They usually have a plate of the day. The photo on the left is of “Canoa” which is a a ripe plantain, cooked and then stuffed with ground meat and cheese. On the right is “Piñon” which is like lasagna but slices of plantains instead of pasta. Each accompanied by rice beans.

Always good.

We found this place as it’s across from an elderly center that we taught a Bible study at. Unfortunately after the earthquakes the building was closed and has not yet been repaired.

Are you a Mission Sender? Mission Senders committ to praying and supporting missionaries on a monthly or quartely basis. Find out more here.

We are tremendously thankful for our Mission Senders. They give us the blessing of continous encourgament and financal support. 



  • Continued visitation
  • Remodeling of church and CARD center
  • Confirmation Class

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Neuendorf · 1428 Calle Aloa, Buena Vista · Ponce, PR 00717 · USA

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