Puerto Rico FORO: June 2020

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June 2020 Update

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Puerto Rico Ministry Update

As the island begins to reopen, we rejoice that we were able to have our first in-person worship service on Pentecost Sunday. At Iglesia Luterana Fuente de Vida in Ponce, the service was held in the outdoor patio of our earthquake damaged buildings rather than the smaller rented location. This was in order to be in conjunction with the social distancing requirements in place by the government. Besides a brief visit during our FORO in March, this was the first-time church was held at our new property since January due to the earthquakes.
At Iglesia Luterana Príncipe de Paz in Mayaguez, the first in-person worship service was held inside the building with modifications to meet all social distance requirements. This past Sunday both church congregations had new first-time visitors who would like to be baptized. Praise God for our online presence reaching new people seeking Jesus.

Looking Ahead

Hurricane season is officially upon us. Project manager James Krey along with Pastor Gustavo and Deaconess Christel have been busy purchasing supplies for our disaster response kits. Pastor Gustavo is going to be leading courses on disaster training for our members in July to create a response team within the congregations.
A new ministry activity that the team has been busy planning for is a Virtual Vacation Bible School (VBS) for children. The team has been working alongside the Lutheran Hour Ministry (CPTLN) office in Puerto Rico and Director Yaritza Rosa to offer a VBS online. The whole team has taken a part in this new ministry activity. Please pray for this opportunity as we continue to work together to offer this unique VBS and share about who we are as God’s new creation through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

English Outreach

Along with many other aspects of ministry under COVID-19, it was determined that English classes needed to transition to an online format. Ruth Maita worked diligently to make this work. Due to the travel restrictions, all of the short-term mission teams were cancelled; however, it has led to a wonderful new program. Our 5-week English conversation pilot program paired native English-speaking volunteers with students in Puerto Rico desiring to practice their English. Some of these volunteers are those that would have come to serve in PR.
These bi-weekly English conversations were held through Zoom and focused on a different bible story each week drawing vocabulary and discussion from it. These conversations gave both the volunteers and students the opportunity to share their faith. One week the bible story shared was the account of Jesus’ baptism and the discussion from this story was on family and baptism. This particular conversation lead to pastoral follow up with a couple of students expressing interest in learning more about baptism. 
We had estimated that we would only need 20 volunteers for one class. The online excitement of the program drew in triple the expected students which warranted another class. Sixty-five individuals who were interested signed up for the program and in total 44 people joined the classes. As the program was met with such positive feedback, we will be continuing English classes during the summer. We already have 38 students signed up.
The online English classes and conversations have reached many new people outside of our church. From the feedback received two new bible studies have been started, one in English and one in Spanish! COVID 19 has definitely expanded our outreach and presence online.

Worship at Principe de Paz certainly looks different than it did before. The community, though, is happy to be worshipping in person once again.
Community concerns about on-going earthquakes and COVID spacing requirements has led to outdoor worship in Ponce.

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

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