MDS Blog

Past VSers come back

June 11, 2018

March 6, 2018


Psalm 133:1  “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” NIV

Linda and Joe Christophel joined the MDS P.R. team for the month of February to assist us in creating structures to the MDS experience here on the island. It was a joy to see them come back 45 years after serving in Aibonito where they had done volunteer service (VS). They even shared their love story of meeting during their VS term. What a delight to receive their cultural sensitivity and the gift of having lived here before.

 Joe and Linda Christophel

Puerto Rico has experienced political and social impositions first from Spanish and in the last 100 years from the United States. Although the imposition comes with good intentions, but their suggestions come with orders attach. In addition, there are assumptions that Puerto Ricans do not know what to do when we have North America coming to help us. Sure, we need help, but we do not need more orders to follow.

But the Christophels came with the spirit of listening to the local coordinators and ask: how can we help you? These two attitudes were always displayed in our meetings and followed by concrete actions.

Now they have returned to Indiana and we are grateful for their spirit filled service. Linda and Joe truly humbled themselves, asked questions to understand, kept quiet, disagreed kindly and offered support.

They always had a smile on their face and a genuine disposition to serve together. They walked the talk. Linda and Joe knew what their strength was and understood they were serving in a familiar but still foreign land.

Such are the qualities of the MDS leaders who work with the MDS coordinators in Puerto Rico. The model of empowerment is present, not overwhelming a system that is always fragile after Hurricane Maria. Making decisions together, responding to the many needs that arise from Aibonito to Utuado.

This is the serving path the Christophels leave behind. For these ‘Gracias por su Servicio en Puerto Rico.’’!! [Thanks for all your service in Puerto Rico.] And MDS, I trust, will continue to find a few more of these faithful servants.

Puerto Rico se Levanta con Dios y Unidos! [Puerto Rico will be lifted once again with God and in unity!]

February 1, 2018, P.R. coordinators meeting with the Christophels.