Puerto Rico FORO: January 2020

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January 2020 Update

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Ponce Update

People often ask whether the situation in Puerto Rico is being accurately reflected in the media. The answer is both yes and no. On the one hand, the destruction is not nearly as widespread as photos and videos might make it seem. Few if any buildings in Ponce have collapsed, for example. On the other hand, the largest Puerto Rico earthquake was sufficient to cause structural damage to a great many buildings of two stories or more.

The central core of Ponce has a few tall buildings that will be need to come down. Our own church facilities have not yet been deemed structurally sound, and may need to be rebuilt. In order to continue ministry, we have rented a temporary facility near the Neuendorfs residence and not far from the central core. This is where workshops, counseling and worship are currently being held.

A good update article was written for the LCMS Reporter and published January 24. It stresses that the main impact of the earthquake has been psychological and spiritual: people are afraid to remain in their homes, for example. The tremors may well continue for months is not decades, only exacerbating these issues.

How to Help

Many members of the LCMS have offered to come to Puerto Rico to assist with rebuilding efforts. There is not an immediate need for physical care right now. First, because the quakes have not settled down enough. Second, because so many are still awaiting inspections of their buildings and possible insurance claims. Third, because other groups including the national guard are providing very high levels of physical care – shelter, food and water. If you are interested in being “on deck” for possible future construction work, however, you can email Erin Mackenzie and she will add you to the list. 

The immediate need is for pastors and Christian counselors who speak Spanish. If you have those skills, and would like to volunteer your services for a week or two, send this email

If you would like to contribute financially to the ongoing efforts, there are two ways to do so. Contributions to LCMS Disaster Response (Puerto Rico) will aid some of the short term costs. Contributions to the FORO (see the Big Red Button) will help with longer term efforts, including support for our alliance missionaries and for a much-needed local administrative staff person. 

Register for FORO

The Spring Meeting in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico is still on. This will be an opportunity to see the new campus in Ponce and discuss what it will mean to rebuild. It will also be a chance to see what things look like on the ground, hear from our missionaries about their work and plans, and offer prayers and support to the Christians at Principe de Paz and Fuente de Vida. If you are planning to attend, please send Erin Mackenzie an email. If you have questions, or can only come for part of the FORO, please send Charles St-Onge a note.

Spring Meeting
March 13-15, 2020
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

Fall Meeting
October 8-9, 2020
Orlando, Florida

Copyright © 2020 Puerto Rico Foro, all rights reserved.

You are receiving this because you are a valued part of the Foro for Puerto Rico, coordinated by The LCMS Latin America and the Caribbean Region.

Our mailing address is:
Iglesia Luterana Príncipe de Paz
Buzón 409 Bo. Rio Hondo
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 00680

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