Population: 3.7 million (2012)
Capital: San Juan
Official languages: Spanish, English
Major religion: Christianity
IFES movement: Asociación Bíblica Universitaria de Puerto Rico (ABU)
Puerto Rico is a beautiful small island in the Caribbean that struggles with great social problems. Although the vast majority of Puerto Ricans claim to be Christian, many are nominal. It is a challenge to live with Jesus as the centre of everything, to walk according to the values of God’s kingdom, and to share the truth with those who think that they already know it.
- 1 state university with 11 campuses, 40 private universities and technical colleges
- ABU groups on two campuses, contacts at other universities
- 5 volunteer workers
- no organised graduate ministry: graduates meet annually
- two ABU groups with around 10 and 15 students
The strengths of ABU are the sense of fellowship and a commitment to studying the bible. The main challenge for them is to maintain continuity when student leaders graduate or volunteers move away.
In recent years, a reduction in staff numbers has led students to take more initiative within the movement. In addition, both GBU groups have joined with other organisations to help the community near the university with social problems: the rehabilitation of young drug addicts and support for the homeless and HIV/AIDS patients. This helps them to see how the gospel transforms all of their lives and their communities.
View from the inside
Gisela Muñoz Cruz is the General Secretary of ABU. She says, ‘Student ministry transformed my college experience and made me grow in the knowledge of the gospel and our holistic mission in this world. It provided me with a community who have supported me until now, and challenged me and gave me tools to see the bible as faithful and relevant.’
She shares one inspiration for her ministry: ‘The lives of our ABU brothers that have already gone to be with the Lord constantly inspire me to continue serving. We have seen how several who struggled with serious illnesses placed their trust in the lord during the hardest periods of their lives. Despite pain and physical weakness they supported the movement with their presence, prayers and by mentoring students.’
- for students to have a passion for Jesus and commitment to his mission in this world;
- for them to manage their time between many commitments and honour God in their studies, families, jobs and other areas of their lives.