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 3 pm service time just happens to perfectly coincide with the ideal angle of the sun for casting shade over our patio.
In the early fall of 2017 Puerto Rico was hit by two major hurricanes that devastated much of this US territory’s infrastructure. In 2018 many people in the island’s smaller villages and interior are still without power and drinkable water. The loss of jobs because of the storm has increased Puerto Rico’s already high unemployment rate. While Puerto Rico has benefited from immediate support from LCMS Disaster Response, the mission in Puerto Rico is looking into the future to establish a vibrant national church body in the territory.