A MOMENT FOR MISSION
"May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor." Psalm 72:4, NRSV
Sonia Vargas-Maldonado is a missionary in Santurce, one of the most populated areas of San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a church and community worker, Maldonado ministers to the poor, the unemployed and the homeless in an initiative to transform her native country.
This initiative consists of five churches that "minister to people who are homeless, who are drug addicts, who live on the street," she said.
"We see women that are victims of domestic violence and abuse by their partners, and they are damaged physically and emotionally. They reach out to our communities, looking for help."
The churches offer mentoring and support programs for schoolchildren. "We help our young people understand the importance of education and why they must make it their first priority," Maldonado added.
Maldonado herself benefited from mentors.
"From an early age," she explained, "I had the privilege of seeing men and women who served the church as missionaries, who brought Bible into homes in my community. This changed my life and touched me deeply by establishing some deep and basic principles for … the importance of God in my life.
"God has given us so much so that we can share and we can love the world."
Thanks to your congregation's support of the World Service Fund, church and community workers, related to the General Board of Global Ministries, share God's profound love. Thank you!
Caring God, you show us how to care for our sisters and brothers. You have given us so much. Teach us to be innovators, to reach out in new ways. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
From Discompleship Ministries: Epiphany Sunday - Living God, your radiance shines in the beauty of creation. In Christ your Son, you have given the world eternal light that burns brightly in the midst of darkness. Like the magi, when you draw us near, we are overwhelmed with joy! Lead us by your Spirit to share your warmth and grace with our neighbors. Let our lives in this new year be an offering. We pray through Christ, the light of the world. Amen. (Matthew 2:1-12)
"One cannot live alienated from the community or the world," asserts missionary Sonia Vargas- Maldonado. "There are needs, and we can contribute with a grain of sand to the mutuality of life of our brothers and sisters, no matter their situation.
"We must be part of the solution to the social problems of our communities, our neighbors, our friends … including the homeless that you see whenever you cross the street, every morning."
The General Board of Global Ministries commissions church and community workers like Maldonado to serve in ministries that uplift the poor and disenfranchised in rural and urban areas primarily in the United States. Their assignments include cooperative parishes, ethnic ministries, criminal justice programs, congregational health projects, immigration and disaster response.
"I want to serve these people," Maldonado said, "because Jesus did it for me so that I can do it for others.
"God is putting in your heart the feeling, the love, the need, to care for others. It's there that you'll recognize that God is calling you."