There’s a rising trend in Puerto Rico: funeral homes posing the dead like they’re still alive. In these “outside of the box” funerals, instead of having the deceased lying in a coffin, families are having their loved ones embalmed and then posed to depict scenes from their life. It all started with the now famous case of the “dead man standing” (el muerto para’o), a young man who was mourned by his relatives not laying down in a coffin, but propped upright in his mother’s home, wearing his favorite shirt, sunglasses and cap.
Yesterday my family celebrated one year of missionary service in Puerto Rico. After five years of service in Peru, and then four years of pastoral formation at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, we considered ourselves relatively prepared for our work here. We were nervous and excited as we hopped on the plane with our one-way ticket to the Island of Enchantment, our ten military-grade duffle bags and our three little ones in tow, but we were ready to weather the storms together, by God’s grace.Continue reading
There are a whopping 425 million Roman Catholics in Latin America – almost three-quarters of the region’s total population. Of the globe’s estimated 1.2 billion Catholics, more than 40% call Latin America their casa. This raises the question: why do Lutherans bother sending missionaries to the most Catholic region in the world? Continue reading
Español | I recently had the privilege of meeting three Dominican ladies that are truly blessed. I met them while I was tagging along with a group of seminarians from the Concordia Reformer Lutheran Seminary for their weekly pastoral visits in the barrio (an underprivileged neighborhood) of Pueblo Nuevo. Their names are Doña Ana, Doña Sylvia, and Señora Jinet. Continue reading
Remember Your Baptism– When you were baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” you received the most important things you’ll need on the mission field. At your Baptism, God gave you an identity as His precious and dearly loved child. He gave you His Name to call upon in every trouble. He gave you faith to trust in His promises. He gave you His Holy Spirit to sanctify you in the one true faith. Your Baptism is the single most valuable thing you’ll take with you on your journey. Don’t forget it! Continue reading
The North American missionary to Latin America has his Bible in one hand and his evangelism tracts in the other. He says a quick prayer as he approaches the door and knocks. He rehearses his opening line over and over, hoping that whoever is on the other side of the door will be patient with his broken, heavy accented Spanish. The deadbolt turns. The door creaks open. There’s no turning back now. Buenas tardes. ¿Usted conoce a Jesús? : “Good afternoon. Do you know Jesus?” Continue reading
The following is a letter I wrote to my daughter to celebrate her Baptism a couple of weeks ago. It’s based on baptismal imagery used both by Luther and the early Church fathers, of the Baptismal font as the Christian’s “little Jordan”.
Dear Gabriella Joy,
I’m writing you this letter to tell you about a very special trip you took when you were a baby. On May 7, 2016, when you were only a couple of weeks old, your mommy and daddy took you to a river. It wasn’t just any ol’ river, though. This was a life-giving river, rich in grace and overflowing with forgiveness.