Rev. James and Deaconess Christel Neuendorf

Serving the Lord in Puerto Rico



Rev. James and Deaconess Christel Neuendorf serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in Puerto Rico. Both have served as missionaries in this region since 2008, based in Panama and then in the Dominican Republic.

James serves as a church planter and pastor in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico. His focus is to establish a strong Lutheran presence in this city which will boldly proclaim the Gospel and meet the physical and spiritual needs of a community that is hungry for the Gospel and for hope. As pastor, James engages daily with Ponce community members to share in their lives and to bring them into the life-giving presence of Jesus in Word and Sacrament. He is also working to create a generation of local leaders and well-grounded laity and future pastors who will be able to continue to spread the Gospel throughout Puerto Rico, around the Latin America region, and the world.

As a deaconess, Christel is involved in the long-term disaster relief efforts at the mission's various Casa de Amparo y Respuesta al Desastre (House of Refuge and Disaster Response) mercy houses. From these places, LCMS missionaries and Puerto Rican Lutherans offer food, water and other basic necessities to community members affected by the hurricane. She is also engaged in assessing needs in the community and coordinating efforts to meet those needs as a congregation and mission.

James and Christel both grew up in Michigan. James, as a pastor’s son, has called many places “home,” most recently Ann Arbor, Mich., where he also attended Concordia University and met Christel. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and earned his Master of Divinity at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. Christel is a native of Flushing, Mich. She also graduated from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich., with a degree in business and received her deaconess certificate from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.


Pray for the Neuendorfs as they serve in Puerto Rico. Ask God to work through James and Christel to bring the Good News to people who are desperate for words of hope. Pray for their safety and for wisdom as they navigate the challenges of church planting in the midst of disaster recovery. Finally, pray for the first generation of Lutherans in Ponce, Puerto Rico that they may faithfully carry on the torch to other cities and generations to come!

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Additional Information

  • Birthdays:
    • James - Nov. 6
    • Christel - Feb. 8
  • Wedding Anniversary: Aug. 8
  • Home District: Michigan

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