Five Concordia Students Serve on Puerto Rico Mission Trip
Five students from Concordia University, Nebraska spent their spring break serving in Puerto Rico on a mission trip led by Associate Professor of Communication, Erica Lamm and Director of Global Opportunities and founder of Mission Minded Students, Julie Johnston Hermann.
The group worked with Fountain of Life Lutheran Mission in Ponce. The Ponce site was established by LCMS International Mission in 2018 as a mercy outreach site after Hurricane Maria. After serving in a few temporary locations, LCMC missionaries found its current location in 2019. Because of the COVID restrictions in the following year, the site had not been able to host any short-term mission teams, which means all renovations had to be done by the small team of missionaries there. Concordia’s group was the first short term mission in Puerto Rico. “Last year, Mission Minded Students had a virtual presentation from a few Puerto Rico missionaries, who shared what they did in their service with the LCMS International Mission in Ponce and Mayaguez. They invited our group to come and serve, so we did!” says Hermann.
Throughout their time there, the students and professors worked on several painting projects at Fountain of Life. They also spent time helping with ESL classes, doing outreach fellowship, and participating in worship. Macy Gebhardt, a sophomore on the trip stated, “I loved how much ownership the entire congregation took in their church. Each member had his or her role. Some helped with repair projects, some decorated and made the area beautiful, and some always made sure that the coffee pot was full. The feeling of community in both churches was something I admired and something I want to replicate in the churches I am a part of!”
In just a week, the students had made a noticeable difference in the community. Hayley Steinbauer, a senior on the trip recalls that, “One of the most fulfilling parts of the trip was seeing Luis, one of the church congregants in Ponce, ask for a picture of just himself in front of the wall we had painted a day prior. Seeing his smiling face and the joy of all the congregants over the mural we painted was so rewarding. God used us and that wall to bring some light to the community.”