Saving Sonlights in Puerto Rico
“We’re asking you to remember what it felt like as you came down off that mountain,” says Jeff Cherok, of Sonlights of Puerto Rico, speaking about the Walk to Emmaus retreats that have been held in Puerto Rico for more than 20 years. “We’re asking you to look back into what it meant for you, and to see how you can help keep that going for other believers.” Today, Sonlights in Puerto Rico, the organization that holds the annual Walk to Emmaus spiritual retreats in English, is in trouble. “We really only have 6 active people in the organization, and we must have a quorum of 12 to operate,” Jeff explains. “And when you don’t even have 12 people to serve on the board, you certainly don’t have enough people to put on a whole Walk to Emmaus.”
There will be a meeting at Second Union Church in Guaynabo on Wednesday, August 10, at 7 PM where the Emmaus Walk organization from the US will have representatives to gauge interest and decide the future of Sonlights. “Basically, there are three alternatives,” explains Jeff. “One, we can show enough interest and we continue to operate. Two, there is enough interest for an English walk but not enough to exist as a separate entity, and they roll us into Emmaus de Puerto Rico. Three, they decide to disband us altogether.”
Listen to the special interview. (Story continues below.)
JoAnn Medina, Jeff’s wife, notes that the Emmaus Walk was instrumental in saving their marriage. “We need to save Sonlights because we have a message of discipleship and growth,” she says. “We need to preserve this uniquely powerful ministry for all the believers, no matter where they are on their journey.”
Pastor Joe Ramos, who helped to organize Sonlights of Puerto Rico over 20 years ago, agrees. “We were several of us who went to an Emmaus Walk in the state of Arkansas. Then we said, ‘This must be shared. This must be brought to Puerto Rico.’ So we got together and we formed Sonlights.” He says that as a pastor, he believes firmly that Emmaus is the best discipleship program out there. “Show me any discipleship program that gets the same results, that is better – and we’ll stop talking about Emmaus and do that one. I have been through many discipleship programs, looked at many more. This is the best, most efficient, most cost effective program out there.” He also shares that God used Emmaus to bring him into the ministry. “I was a businessman,” he says. “And people started talking to me about going into ministry. I was like, ‘God, I don’t want to do that. You have to deal with people!’ But through Emmaus, I learned how to be a servant, and then I received a call to the church.” Pastor Joe continues working both as a businessman and as a pastor of Palmas Community Church in Humacao.
If you are interested in continuing the important work of Sonlights of Puerto Rico, please come to Second Union Church in Guaynabo on Wednesday, August 10, at 7 PM. Also, please signal your interest by calling Jeff at (939) 940-8891 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.