Thirteen volunteers from St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Esko, Minn., travelled to Puerto Rico Nov. 12–19, 2022, for short-term mission work at Príncipe de Paz (Prince of Peace) Lutheran Church in Mayagüez and Fuente de Vida (Fountain of Life) Lutheran Church in Ponce.
“It was wonderful to have this team returning after serving here in 2019. Both the missionaries and church members love continuing to build those relationships with fellow Lutherans from the United States,” said Ashley Lehr, LCMS missionary to Puerto Rico.
At Fuente de Vida in Ponce, the team completed maintenance projects, including leveling church pews, remodeling and painting closets, and painting the staircase’s ironwork at Fuente de Vida’s mercy center, as well as the trim and tiles of the building used for Bible study.
The team also transformed the church’s parking lot into a recreational area for children. They poured cement between the parking lot’s two slabs of concrete in order to level the area and prevent the court from becoming overgrown with grass and weeds. Then they power-washed and painted the concrete to create a basketball court.
In Mayagüez, at Príncipe de Paz, the team painted the entire interior of the sanctuary. The formerly white chancel is now a rich teal. The team also painted the cross on the roof of the sanctuary.
The volunteers also put a lot of work into Príncipe de Paz’s short-term volunteer housing. Projects included taking inventory of disaster response supplies and organizing them to be easily accessible, painting the kitchen, and installing a hood and a gas stove. The new gas stove will be especially helpful in the event of a hurricane because it can be used when the power goes out.
After working all day, the St. Matthews volunteers continued into the evening, teaching English-as-a-Second-Language classes to adult students.
“What a beautiful week it was,” said Lehr. “Many thanks to St. Matthews Lutheran Church of Esko, Minn., for their great work at both churches!”
Learn more about Lehr’s work in Puerto Rico at lcms.org/lehr.
Posted Feb. 20, 2023