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God is Moving - Puerto Rico

God is Moving - Puerto Rico

Mike Rhoades | Mar 23, 2015

by: Sara Spaulding Pastor Ingmar Rivera doubles his ministry through an elementary school attached to his church. Functioning as school principal and pastor rolled into one has brought great blessings to his community, where average monthly income is $200. Pastor Rivera’s church is in an area of San Juan where a high number of Dominican immigrants have relocated. God had prepared Pastor Rivera to reach out to this Dominican community as he had previously served as a missionary to the Dominican Republic. The parents of many of his students cannot read or write. Emanuel Christian School offers an education to children who otherwise might not have the opportunity to attend a Christian school. The school operates by obtaining grants for its students. “The goal of the school is to give equal opportunity for kids in the low income community as well as from a wealthy community,” said Kevin Gamradt, Puerto Rico Operations Manager for Praying Pelican Missions. Teams who have ministered with Pastor Rivera have taught English classes, helped lead chapel services and ran after-school tutoring. This summer Pastor Rivera plans to run a kids camp to employ his teachers, provide daycare and offer ministry opportunities for mission teams. To reach out to the community Pastor Rivera’s church also serves a free Saturday lunch meal. Several churches in San Juan come together to make food for people in the low income community. Up to 80 people come each Saturday for the free lunch. The ministry not only feeds people, but gives them a sense of hope in Jesus Christ. Seeing the value of this ministry, Pastor Rivera is stepping out in faith to transform the church’s outdoor kitchen into an indoor cafeteria. At Pastor Rivera’s previous church and school in Ponce, in the south of the island, a Praying Pelican Missions team provided funds for the remodeling of the cafeteria after going home from their trip. They returned the next year to see the impact of their donation and continue their relationship with the students. Pastor Rivera hopes to develop similar partnerships with Praying Pelican Mission teams in his new location in the north of the island. “Ingmar is a missionary by heart who desires to reach out to his community,” said Gamradt. “When the Pelican teams come he and his whole family sleep at the church with the Pelican teams. They are instant family.” Pastor Rivera is beyond grateful for the partnerships he has with teams through Praying Pelican Missions. “It is a connection of friendship,” said Pastor Rivera. “The children are always asking when the teams are coming back. And the adults are also always asking when the teams are coming back and how they are doing.” Praying Pelican Missions began sending mission teams to Puerto Rico in 2012. There were only two teams who served that summer. In 2015, 800 participants from 40 teams will make a sustainable and lasting impact on the country.   About the Author: Sara Marie Spaulding is a journalist and missions enthusiast. She began her writing career at the Williston Herald in the oil boom town of Williston, N.D. She has also written for the Anoka County Union Herald in Anoka, Minn. and the Minnesota Christian Chronicle. Her missions experience includes short-term ministry in 10 countries across Asia and the Americas. She is excited to be marrying her phenomenal fiance Andrew Moore in May of 2015.  

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