PUERTO RICO MISSION
SUMMER 2019 SHORT-TERM MISSION TRIP
We were so blessed to participate in this mission opportunity!
The Minnesota North District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod made plans to send two teams of volunteers to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico to help with construction and repair projects in response to the need of Puerto Ricans who suffered losses during the 2017 Hurricanes that hit the island. Six members of Zion were part of a team of ten individuals made up from other congregations in northern Minnesota who went to Puerto Rico in July. The team helped with repairs and remodeling of the CARD ministry center in Mayaguez and also assisted in community outreach and Vacation Bible School at three housing centers in the area.
Here is some of the back story... In the fall of 2017, two major hurricanes blew across the island of Puerto Rico. Almost 80% of all the homes were damaged. Many of the homes had there roofs peeled off by the high winds. The power grid was knocked out for several weeks and in some places for months. "The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod responded quickly through LCMS Disaster Response and the work of LCMS missionaries in the region." While many people fled the island for safety and refuge in Florida and other parts of the United States, others had nowhere to go. The LCMS mission teams did their best to help meet the immediate needs of food for the residents who stayed behind.
William Torres (pictured above), a lay evangelist for the Lutheran church in Mayaguez, has been working to coordinate the ongoing disaster response for the people in his community. His primary role has been to identify people who are willing to receive help rebuilding their homes or having their roofs repaired. Torres is working with Rev. Arturo Gustavo Maita, the pastor of Principe de Paz (Prince of Peace) Lutheran Church in Mayaguez. They are also working with the ministry team of a newly formed congregation in Ponce. In the summer 2018 publication, Lutheran's Engage, it was reported, "even as bags of food and other staples continue to be distributed weekly in Mayaguez and Ponce, the team is organizing to repair damaged roofs and homes in both communities, all while proclaiming the Gospel." https://engage.lcms.org/puerto-rico-recovery-summer-2018/
Rev. Maita and William Torres spoke to us about the work they are doing and the need for short-term mission teams to come to Puerto Rico to help them in their ministry. This mission trip was an opportunity for our congregation to reach out beyond our community, to meet the needs of others, and proclaim the love of Jesus Christ. It gave our congregation an opportunity to build relationships with the missionaries serving in Puerto Rico. Our long range plan is to continue our partnership with the churches in Puerto Rico and to return again to help them with their outreach ministries. We invite you to watch this recap video of our ministry experience. We encourage your prayers and ongoing financial support for future mission trips. Donations can be made to Zion Lutheran Church (memo: Puerto Rico Mission Team) and sent to the address at the bottom of the page. For more information call or email the church office.