The Puerto Rico West District of the Church of the Nazarene hosted Encuentro 2022, with more than 100 Puerto Ricans and 276 visitors from the continental USA, including families, youth and children.

Encuentro is a ministry that provides opportunities to individuals and groups in the USA to share the message of the gospel both in their communities and outside of them. This goal is accomplished through service to the community.

Encuentro was held June 26-30. The team held VBS events with games and Bible stories for the children. They rebuilt the roof of a church building that was in poor condition. They also mixed and poured cement to repair the parking lots and walls of several church buildings.

In one of the Nazarene academic institutions, they provided materials for and built ramps to make the area accessible to people with special needs.

“At the beginning of this missions trip, I hoped to make a difference in the life of just one person, but I did not realize that person would be me,” said Shasta Risner, a member of the Church of the Nazarene in Valparaiso, Indiana. “I have never felt closer to God than I do now after my experience in Puerto Rico. I am grateful to each person I met and that I will be friends with for the rest of my life.”

On July 1, they held the closing service in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, where Rev. Jerry Porter, General Superintendent emeritus, preached a message from the Word. More than 500 people attended the event. That afternoon, about 100 young people accepted Jesus as their Savior, including both Americans and Puerto Ricans. “We praise God for what he is doing in our youth!” said Alanys Plaza, who serves in Communications and district NYI.

“Encuentro 2022 represented quite a challenge in times like these. Nevertheless, when God is in the middle of something, it’s worth the effort,” said Marta González, Puerto Rico West District Superintendent. “Encuentro has led to an awakening of the mission and unity in the Church that marks this generation of Nazarenes to impact others with the love of Jesus and to continue His work.”

Alanys said it was a week filled with challenges, but they saw the hand of the Lord work every day. “We are fortunate to be a part of such a special church, where the Lord allows us to connect with other people! It was a privilege to serve with our American brothers and sisters and we will never forget this incredibly blessed experience.”

Source: Alanys Plaza, Communications, Puerto Rico West District