Above photo: The empty streets of Ponce, Puerto Rico, by Johanna Heidorn
Story by Missionary Ashley Lehr, who works with the ESL program and other outreach and disaster response efforts in Puerto Rico.
On May 2nd, 2020, a major 5.4 earthquake hit Puerto Rico near the city Ponce. Some two hundred families lost their homes in the earthquake. About twenty families were moved to a hotel near the church. The hotel was already near capacity with all of the people displaced by January’s earthquake. The pandemic has not stopped the Church’s response or outreach!
The Church was able to gather together various donations of basic-need items to bring to these families and some toys for the children. In addition, they provided packs of crafts for the kids to be able to join in the “Encerrados con Jesus” online program. The hotel has been very inviting to us. Pastor James Neuendorf is offering pastoral care; conversation and prayer three times a week at the hotel. We pray that we can continue serving the people in this area.
We continue to bring the Gospel to the people of Puerto Rico through online church services via Facebook, pastoral letters to church members, bi-weekly pastor Bible Study, online art classes, ESL conversations, “Encerrados con Jesus,” and Sunday school.
Exciting news in PR: Churches can gather but must maintain 6-10 feet of distance, which means about 25% capacity. Our current plan is to open on Pentecost with an outdoor service and then return to online for the following few weeks.