Community members and visitors pray during worship at a house church of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico in the carport of a home in the Villas del Sol neighborhood near San Juan. (Photo: Mike DuBose, UMNS)

ATLANTA – In 2023, Encounter with Christ (a ministry partnership between the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas, the Council of Evangelical Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Global Ministries) awarded 21 grants to 13 mission partners from the permanent fund of Encounter with Christ in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ministries receiving these donations will benefit hundreds and thousands of people in Latin America and the Caribbean region. The total amount awarded was $201,257.

Global Ministries established a permanent fund called Encounter with Christ in Latin America and the Caribbean (Encounter with Christ) more than 30 years ago. When the fund reached $1,000,000 in donations in 2005, grants began to be distributed by Global Ministries. Since then, Global Ministries has awarded more than $1,000,000 to regional mission partners.

Encounter with Christ tells the story of vibrant mission in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The Methodist churches in Latin America and the Caribbean work in advancing mission with some of the most marginalized populations in their communities, including women and children, immigrants, indigenous communities and those suffering from racial and gender inequality. The Encounter with Christ permanent fund supports Global Ministries’ efforts to partner with national and regional churches and ecumenical partners in the region by providing program funding for social justice and evangelism outreach efforts.

One of the projects approved this year will touch the lives of women and their families in Colombia. The Colombian Methodist Church seeks to address issues of women’s rights in the context of an increase in  femicides and gender-based violence. They will launch a virtual support helpline for women, including pastoral accompaniment and crisis assistance. They will make field visits to provide training on the rights for women. They will also organize a seminar for the recognition, prevention, and elimination of violence against women from a theological perspective. Global Ministries’ $10,000 grant, using funds raised through Encounter with Christ, will directly impact 260 women, including 10 female clergy, 35 female community ministry leaders and 200 female members of Methodist congregations.

The Methodist Church in Brazil received a $10,000 grant for the “Amazon Medical Mission Boat Ministry.” Through this ministry more than 700 medical consultations will take place as well as 133 dental service appointments. These services will be given through eight trips of the Missionary Boat Hospital of the Methodist Church in Brazil’s 9th region. Nineteen Indigenous villages and 18 riverside communities will directly benefit from this program. The Methodist Church of Brazil will provide 84% of the total $64,000 budget while the Encounter with Christ grant represents 16% of program support.

Medical volunteers coming off the John Wesley Amazon medical boat to serve in the Natal indigenous village near Autazes, Brazil. PHOTO: Mike DuBose, UMNS

The Methodist Church of Puerto Rico received a grant of $10,000 that will equip local clergy and laity for effective evangelization among 103 churches located in Puerto Rico and St. Croix. These two Caribbean islands were devastated by three hurricanes and an earthquake as well as the ongoing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will form a “Bank of Trained and Certified Local Evangelist Resources” through the development of a specialized curriculum to certify local evangelists. They will also create a Discipleship Manual for new members from the perspective and contextual reality of the islands.

The above three projects are samples of the 21 grants awarded to mission partners in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA), Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay. For a summary of all 2023 grants, click here.

Encounter with Christ continues to raise funds to add to its permanent fund so that more support can be given for the region. To learn more about Encounter with Christ, visit its website:

The Rev. Dr. Douglas W. Ruffle is the Mission Interpreter for Encounter with Christ in Latin America and the Caribbean.