South-to-South Encounter between Puerto Rico and Paraguay
Leaders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Paraguay visited the Mission Co-worker Encounter and the Convention of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico from February 7 to 20, 2019. On this visit, brothers and sisters in Paraguay were witnesses of the mission co-worker and pastoral work of the church in Puerto Rico, as well as the challenges facing the Caribbean island after the onslaught of Hurricane Maria two years ago. The executive for Latin America and the Caribbean of Global Ministries accompanied the Paraguayan delegation, which was received on the island by the General Pastor of the church in Puerto Rico, Rev. Miguel Antonio Morales, and by the president of the Overseas Missions Committee, Rev. Osvaldo Delbrey, and his work team. The Puerto Rican hosts showed affection and hospitality by hosting the Paraguayan visitors in the homes of families of Disciples of Christ congregations. The guests also participated in prayer services, preaching, and pastoral visits through different communities on the island. They met with leaders of other churches in Latin America who work with the church of Puerto Rico and experienced a deep cultural, ecclesial, and missional immersion experience on the island.
The brothers and sisters of the church of Paraguay, led by Pastor Roberto Martínez, president the church, spoke with other counterparts of Global Ministries in Puerto Rico, namely the United Evangelical Church of Puerto Rico, the Council of Churches of Puerto Rico, the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico, Hope Builders Home, and Amaneser 2025. The meeting included discussions on the reality of poverty and the lack of sustainability of the country, its current political crisis, and the aspiration of solutions that benefit a majority of the Puerto Rican people. The Puerto Rican partners of Global Ministries work in the social, emotional, psychological, and economic recovery of the population through solar energy projects, care for young orphans, reconstruction of homes and structures, and by preaching and being in solidarity with the people in their time of need.
In response to what the Puerto Rican leaders shared, Sister Obdulia Rojas, a Paraguayan lay leader, said, “If the Paraguayan people were able to overcome the oppression of the dictatorship and marginalization through faith, we know that this way the Puerto Rican people do the same. They will be in our prayers and with our solidarity.“