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FA LL 2015

A Publication of Maranatha Volunteers International

Growing a Generation for Service

Ultimate Workout Turns 25 INSIDE THIS ISSUE:


PA N A M A P 8


Luz de Javilla, Dominican Republic Members and guests of the Luz de Javilla Adventist Church, located in the greater Santo Domingo area, cheer in gratitude at the dedication of their new sanctuary. The ceremony was one of four Maranatha churches dedicated in the Dominican Republic on September 12, 2015. Photo by Yuma Molina


The Culmination of the Work


wish you had been there. it was september

5, 2015, and we had joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Dominican Republic for a day of church dedications— one of my favorite experiences at Maranatha. The unique contributions of hundreds of people, along with many miracles, resulted in the great privilege of dedicating a church to the glory of our creator God. This time we were actually able to dedicate four churches in less than 24 hours! As I looked into the faces of the people in each congregation, I read gratitude, humility, kindness, and commitment to God. The dedication of a church or school is the final step in the long process that starts with years of prayer, close interaction with church leaders, generous contributions from donors, a time and energy commitment from volunteers, and the overall blessing of Jesus Christ. The dedication is the culmination of all the things that Maranatha does to be part of the process of growing God’s Kingdom. What could be better than experiencing the joy of the dedication celebration? No matter how inconvenient it may be to join in those special events, it is always a huge blessing in my life. Each time, I gain additional motivation to do whatever possible to impact other groups in the same way. As I looked at the beautiful churches we were dedicating, I knew that thousands of volunteer hours had been lovingly committed to each building. In the case of the Dominican Republic churches, young people had done much of the work. What a great contribution they made, and I know that their lives were impacted positively also. If you had been with us in the Dominican Republic, you would have witnessed the positive results of the Maranatha mission experience. The good thing is that we are dedicating churches and schools nearly every week. Why not make a goal of being part of one of those life-changing experiences? We would love to see you there! N

Don Noble, president

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Changuinola By Julie Z. Lee

Photo by Dustin Gienger

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Ultimate Workout Goes to Panama


Changuinola A dventist School was never meant to be a hotel. But for two weeks in July, the school is adopting a new purpose. It has become a boarding facility for 150 volunteers—most of them under the age of 18. There are air mattresses, tents, and sleeping bags in every classroom. The outer halls of the school are lined with makeshift shower stalls, made from black plastic sheeting and a plastic pipe trickling cold water. In the dining hall, bats and large beetles are frequent visitors. It sounds like a disastrous living situation. But Maylina Graham, one of the teenagers, is gleeful as she walks through campus. “This is luxury!” she says, giddy. “I mean, we have flush toilets!” It’s the Ultimate Workout—a no frills mission trip designed to turn a teenager’s expectations upside down. The project asks volunteers to trade in modern conveniences for hard work, spartan living conditions, and an intense focus on God. This year, the Ultimate Workout was held in Panama. Maranatha built the Changuinola school 18 years ago—before some of the participants on this project were even born. Since then, the school has grown, classrooms have been added, and the influence of this place has catapulted Adventist membership to a new level. Several new church plants are attributed to the effect of Adventist education on families throughout this region. So now, Maranatha is back to provide another set of classrooms for the school, construct a church for a local congregation, paint existing churches previously constructed by Maranatha, and serve the local community through various outreach activities. Each day is bookended with intense worships full of praise and Bible study. he

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The result? Aside from a deeper appreciation for basic amenities, young people return home different. Transformed. For Rachel Weberg, a first-time participant from Minnesota, the mission trip has had a deep impact on her

spiritual life. While not an Adventist, Rachel’s best friend is an Adventist, and it was her friend who invited her on the project. The experience has been positive. She’s learned about herself, and her connection to God has been powerful. “The difference from home and here is the people. Everybody here is always talking about God. And we have worship twice a day; at home it’s once a week for an hour …. And I’ve never had the Sabbath day before. It was really neat,” says Weberg, her eyes welling with tears. “Before this trip, I never really prayed on my own … What I plan to do in my new spiritual life is pray before [getting] up in the morning, before lunch, before I go to bed— whenever I feel a need to give thanks and ask for a blessing.”

UW in the United States In late June, Maranatha successfully completed the first Ultimate Workout in the United States. Approximately 90 people participated in the mission trip at Milo Adventist Academy, a third of whom were Milo students enrolled in a summer work program. The rest of the volunteers were from all over the United States and one who came all the way from the Bahamas.

“Emotionally, physically, mentally, I just felt closer to God.”

On the project, volunteers demolished old decks and rebuilt new ones on staff housing, painted the interior of the boys and girls dorms, and completed several landscaping projects on the sprawling academy grounds. In addition to the work on campus, some teens participated in outreach projects. One of the projects involved conducting a doorto-door survey in Canyonville, a city near the academy. Volunteers walked from doorto-door, asking community members about what services they would appreciate most, such as cooking classes, health seminars, or yard work. They also did some cleanup work at a teen shelter in Medford.

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This was the 25th anniversary of Ultimate Workout. Throughout the program’s history, Maranatha has collected numerous stories of teens experiencing long-term change from the experience. From the very first Ultimate Workout in 1990, with just 14 volunteers, to today’s project of 150 volunteers, pieces of the formula may change, but spiritual transformation and a new perspective on God is the steadfast goal. “Emotionally, physically, mentally, I just felt closer to God.” says Everardo Sifuentes, who has been on two Ultimate Workouts. “It’s just this sense of knowing that Jesus is always there, in everything. It’s a good feeling, His presence right next to you.” •

DISCOVER MORE Go beyond the story at www.maranatha.org • Watch a 90-second video about Ultimate Workout in Panama by going to www.maranatha.org/UW25 • Read more about UW 25 Milo by going to www.maranatha.org/UWMilo


Photo by David Lopez


Photo by David Lopez

Photo by Yuma Molina

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Photo by Dustin Gienger

Photo by Dustin Gienger 1

2 3

Photo by Dustin Gienger



1 Volunteers play with children at a local school during an outreach activity. The children’s ministries team traveled to a new site each day to put on a special program. 2 Pastor Brandon Westgate baptizes Nicole Carrillo. Carillo said, “Throughout this week, God has helped me a lot and He has shown himself to me. And I want my life to change.” A total of six volunteers were baptized on the trip. 3 Volunteers and church members in front of the new Finca 6 church, constructed by UW. 4 Dr. Frank Cantrell gives a consultation to one of the local families who stopped by the UW medical clinic. The clinic traveled to six different locations during the project. 5 Dr. Becky Childers, a veterinarian from California, helps Everardo Sifuentes, a volunteer from Texas, to administer a shot at the UW veterinary clinic. This outreach team traveled to a new neighborhood each day and saw more than 300 animals. 6 Volunteers hold up their Bibles during worship. Many said the morning and evening worships were the highlight of the experience. 7 Volunteers in the early stages of building the Finca 6 Church in Changuinola.

Photo by David Lopez

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Why Building One Church (19 Years Ago) Was More Than Worth It A look at the Las Lomas family tree By Carrie Purkeypile


he construction of a

Maranatha church spurs incredible growth. When Maranatha donors and volunteers built the Las Lomas Seventh-day Adventist Church in David, Panama, in 1996, no one could have predicted what would happen over the next 20 years. According to head elder Roberto Anderson, if Maranatha had not built the church, the small group of Adventists in Las Lomas may never have formed into an organized church. It changed the way they saw themselves. Eventually the congregation grew so large they began breaking off and mentoring small groups in surrounding areas. Today the Las Lomas Church has three established daughter congregations and several more small groups that they still help support. Some of their daughter churches are now branching out to form groups of their own. Recently, something really special happened. Maranatha returned to Panama and had the opportunity to build churches for two of the Las Lomas daughter congregations.

Photos by Yuma Molina

DAUGHTER CHURCH QUITEÑO: Xenia Guitierrez faithfully attended church in a small shack while the Quiteño Adventist congregation prayed for a miracle.

meeting in what local church member Xenia Guitierrez termed an “itty bitty” house. Maranatha built their church in 2013, and the group immediately began to grow. This summer they were establishing a group of their own in Guayabal—a granddaughter church for Las Lomas! The group is necessary because people from Guayabal have been walking an hour to church on Sabbath. The distance prevented them from attending weekday services. Soon that group will be asking Maranatha for a church!


Las Lomas Church planted this church in nearby Quiteño in 2002, and it has thrived—even though they were

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Eneida Morales is the personal ministries director at the San Jose de Las Lomas Church and an incredible lady. Years ago she promised to dedicate her life wholly to sharing Christ. From the mother church of Las Lomas, Morales moved to this poor area of the city and built herself a home out of scrap metal, sticks, plastic, and a few cement blocks. She began offering prayer and Bible studies door to door and soon had a small group meeting under a porch overhang. Las Lomas w w w.maranatha.org

DAUGHTER CHURCH SAN JOSE DE LAS LOMAS: The Las Lomas relationship with this yetunestablished community began with visits to distribute supplies and pray with families in need.

supported the group while they were getting started. Even though the space was hot and very uncomfortable, with no access to water or bathrooms, the group continued to grow. Pastor Elvis Ramirez remembers telling the congregation that if they held a campaign and baptized more people, there would be nowhere to put them. The income-challenged group prayed for many years for a solution. They were able to purchase an empty lot, and in 2014 Maranatha built their new church. “I am so happy for this building that you’ve built here in San Jose that I don’t have words to thank Maranatha for having built this church,” says Morales. “Because for us, this was an impossible dream. So God made this possible through each of you. And for that we say thank you Maranatha! Thank you so much.” GROWING MORE GROUPS

Las Lomas is still growing—still forming new groups and new congregations. One of the many groups they have established is the Llano del Medio congregation. Edgar Hernandez lives here in Llano del Medio. Since he became an Adventist, it has been his dream to have a church in his own neighborhood. A

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Photos by Boris Saavedra

MOTHER CHURCH LAS LOMAS: Maranatha volunteers built this church in 1996, and it has spurred the growth of many more churches since.

Thank you to each Maranatha supporter. You are making a difference in Panama and around the world! There are still many congregations in Panama waiting for assistance. Please help sponsor a church today!

CHURCH PLANT LLANO DEL MEDIO: The Hernandez family left their home church at Las Lomas (above) to lead a church plant in their own neighborhood.

few months ago, Hernandez and a few other members from Las Lomas began attending here in Llana Medio. As pioneers, they focus their energies on forging strong relationships with others in the community. Not long ago Las Lomas head elder Roberto Anderson attended on Sabbath morning and was delighted to find that every person participating in the program, from the prayer to the mission story, was a guest—not yet a baptized member! Las Lomas is still growing! BIG IMPACT

Building one church has a big impact that only grows with time! “We have been very blessed by the construction work Maranatha has done with these temples,” says Braulio Concepción, president of the Adventist Church in

western Panama. “It is beautiful to see the buildings are being finished. They are already full! They are starting to fill up and are making plans to go to new places.” •

DISCOVER MORE Go beyond the story at www.maranatha.org •

Watch a Maranatha Mission Stories episode on Panama at www.maranatha.org/panama


Stepping into New Shoes The story of how a volunteer fit into the mission field By Julie Z. Lee

Photo by Yuma Molina

NEW SOLES: (L-R) Kia, Karissa, Rachel, and Kim show a sampling of the shoes they collected from their hometown.


with her parents. She lost in a big way because not only did she go on Ultimate Workout, she ended up falling hard for missions. “I got down there and was like, ‘Well, I’m here. I might as well have an open mind about it,’” she says. “And I loved every minute of it.” She loved it so much that the following summer, she went on the Collegiate Project to the Dominican Republic. While there, she assisted with the children’s ministry outreach and saw something that would nag her conscience for the next few months. “We were out doing Vacation Bible School one day, and I noticed the kids didn’t have proper shoes, or they were

t ’s rude to reject presents, but

Kim Kraulik did not want to go on a mission trip. As a high school graduation gift, Kim’s parents were offering the Ultimate Workout, a mission trip exclusively for teenagers. It was 2013, and the project was slated for the highlands of Ecuador. But Kim refused. “I had every intention of not going. I didn’t want to go,” remembers Kim, who admits she was going through a rebellious stage at the time. “But it finally ended in an argument of ‘Fine. I’ll go, but I won’t enjoy it.’” Ultimately, Kim lost the battle

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Photo by David Lopez

PERFECT FIT: Kia fits a young girl with a new pair of shoes.

worn out, and they were still wearing them. I’m a shoe person, and shoes are w w w.maranatha.org

the first thing I notice!” says Kim. “On the flight home, I made it a point that I was going to bring shoes on the next mission trip that I did.” Months passed, and Kim didn’t forget about the shoes. She scrolled through Maranatha’s upcoming projects and settled on Ultimate Workout 25 to Panama, where she would serve as volunteer staff. With her trip decided,

“You realize that even the smallest thing like a pair of shoes can make a difference.” Kim turned her attention to her outreach project. Her goal was to collect shoes and to distribute them during the Ultimate Workout. It was going to be a small endeavor with most of the solicitation done at her church in Grand Forks, North Dakota. But God had bigger plans for Kim. On a whim, Kim contacted the student council at her old high school. “I said, ‘Is there any way we can make this project part of the school, and then I can get much more shoes,’” says Kim. “[The council] said, ‘Yeah, that would be great!’” Then, the student council representative put Kim in touch with the principal, who suggested that she put an article in the local paper and on the school website to generate more interest. “I thought, ‘Okay, this is growing more than I thought,’” says Kim. “Then the student council advisor came up to me and said, ‘We can make the elementary a drop-off site.’” Soon, Kim had a donation box at the secondary and elementary schools, plus an article in the paper. “Pretty soon, I got a phone call from the bank in the neighboring town, and

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they said, ‘We saw your article in the paper, and we were wondering if we could get you some shoes when Old Navy has their $1 flip-flop sale,’” says Kim. “As I got off the phone, I got hit so hard with, ‘This is such a God thing.’” By the time the shoe-drive was over, Kim had collected 372 pairs of shoes, baby clothes, and more. “It was so amazing. I thought it was just going to be the church getting together, and [the shoes] would fill one suitcase. But I managed to get six suitcases,” says Kim. With the help of her two sisters, Kia and Karissa; a close friend Rachel Weberg, and other volunteers going on the mission trip, Kim hauled the suitcases to Changuinola, Panama, the site of Ultimate Workout 25. On the last Friday of the project, Kim gathered her sisters and fellow volunteers to hand out the shoes in a rural neighborhood, referred to them by local government workers. The teens set out tables, organized the shoes by size, and waited. Slowly, families drifted out of the homes and toward the table. Men, women, and children surrounded the volunteers as they knelt down on the muddy grass to fit each person with new shoes. When the last person had been served, the team began to pack for the next location. There were still hundreds of shoes left. Before they left, Kim and her sisters soaked in the moment. “It’s really a touching experience to see the looks on their faces when they get a brand new pair of shoes,” said Kia. Weberg agreed. “It feels really good to know that all the work we have done is making an impact on this little community.” “You realize that even the smallest thing like a pair of shoes or flip-flops can make a difference,” said Kim. It’s hard to believe that it was only

Photo by David Lopez

GRATITUDE: An Ultimate Workout volunteer brought 372 pairs of new shoes to distribute to people in need during the mission project in Changuinola, Panama.

two years ago that Kim wanted no part in missions. Now, she’s become a catalyst for change. The sisters began to get emotional; they laughed when they noticed that they were all wiping tears from their eyes. They struggled to find words to describe the experience. Kia, the middle of the three Kraulik sisters and the most outgoing, piped up, offering a perfect summary to a perfect morning. “Maranatha is all about connecting to Christ through service. And I think this plays a big part in that. This whole experience on Ultimate Workout, the shoes—it’s really helped us to grow closer to God.” • DISCOVER MORE Go beyond the story at www.maranatha.org • Watch Kim and Kia tell their story at the Maranatha convention at www.maranatha.org/kraulik


Photo by David Lopez

Photo by David Lopez

Photo by Leonel Macias

UW 25 - Milo Volunteers on the Ultimate Workout 25 at Milo Adventist Academy had no idea work could be so much fun. UW 25 featured several community outreach opportunities that included fixing up a widow’s home. Teens worked by day and camped at night with plenty of time for fun and worship at the secluded campground. Many volunteers took great pride in their work, including a team that got to demolish a rotting deck and build a new one. Photo by David Lopez


Brazil Team First to Volunteer in Angola At Maranatha, mission trips are practically an everyday occurrence. On average, Maranatha mobilizes more than 2,400 volunteers each year. But in 2015, there’s one project that has been a first for Maranatha. On August 27, a small team of 14 volunteers arrived in the country of Angola to build a church. After two years of building churches in Angola—solely through local crews—this is the first volunteer team to work in Angola. In April, Maranatha debuted a Portuguese-language version of Maranatha Mission Stories called Maranatha Histórias de Missão. The show airs three times a week on Novo Tempo, a Seventh-day Adventist television and radio network, and can be viewed in South America, as well as Europe and parts of Africa. The show quickly generated support for Maranatha’s mission, along with requests for volunteer opportunities. “This Angola volunteer project is a response to Brazil’s enthusiasm for service,” says Kyle Fiess,

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Maranatha’s vice president of marketing and projects. “It’s exciting to see Brazilians get involved with Maranatha’s mission, and we look forward to seeing how they impact the world.”

Young Adults Build in Panama

Thirty-six volunteers joined Maranatha on the 2015 Young Adult Project in August. The team headed to Changuinola, Panama. While there, volunteers built a Sabbath School classroom for the Finca 4 Seventh-day Adventist Church. This is a church that Maranatha constructed back in 1996. Nineteen years later, the congregation has grown, and they have needed more space. Volunteers also built One-Day Church structures at two locations. For one church, volunteers had to hand-carry all construction materials up to the hill-top site. Additionally, the team organized several outreach activities, including food distribution, children’s programs, and a special ministry for women. The Young Adult Project is designed for volunteers ages 1835 and is offered every summer.

Yreka Builds Church After Three-Decades In June, volunteers gathered in northern California to construct a new church for the Yreka Seventhday Adventist congregation. This is a group that has been meeting in a gymnasium for 29 years while fundraising for a new church building. During the project, the Yreka Open Team completed framing for the 3,600 square foot sanctuary, sheeted the roof, completed half of the rough electrical, and more. This project is part of Maranatha’s North America Project Assistance program, where we mobilize volunteers to help with construction projects in the United States and Canada. Maranatha does not help to raise funds, but we do provide volunteers to assist with labor. Projects range from renovations of existing buildings to new construction.



Create a Project! If you are interested in taking a team on a mission trip, let Maranatha guide you through the process! We’ll help you to set a budget, find a site and accommodations, organize your team*, and even provide in-country support from our staff. For more information, call (916) 774-7700 or email groups@maranatha.org. *Group Project teams must have a minimum of 15 participants; leaders recruit their own teams.

Photo by Yuma Molina

You can serve on a mission trip with Maranatha! From construction to cooking to outreach, there are many ways to help, and no experience is necessary. Simply look through the opportunities listed below or visit our Volunteer Opportunities page at www.maranatha.org. For more information, email us at volunteer@maranatha.org or call (916) 774-7700.

Christmas Family Project

Ultimate Workout - USA

BONGO ARRIBA, PANAMA Leadership: Vickie & Bernie Wiedmann December 20 - 30, 2015

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA Leadership: David Lopez June 16 - 26, 2016

Ultimate Workout Reunion

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leadership: David Lopez July 20 - August 1, 2016

COROZO, PANAMA Leadership: Dan Skau Dec. 28, 2015 - Jan. 6, 2016

India Open Team KALPANI, ASSAM, INDIA Leadership: Bruce Fjarli February 3 - 14, 2016

Multiple Group Project PANAMA Leadership: Steve Case March 17 - 27, 2016

Vanuatu Open Team

Ultimate Workout – DR

The following Group Project teams are serving during the months of October/November/ December:

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Palm Coast Adventist Church Team FLORIDA

PANAMA Arden Adventist Church Team NORTH CAROLINA

Dominican Republic Open Team SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leadership: To Be Determined February 2016

Camp Yavapines Open Team PRESCOTT, ARIZONA Leadership: Sadie & Ted Torrez May 8 - 18, 2016

PORT VILA, VANUATU Leadership: Peter Koolik, Peter Thomas March 30 - April 11, 2016

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Thanks for Serving!

Opportunity for Small Groups Maranatha’s Multiple Group Project is a great option for small teams of 2-15 volunteers. If you have a small group of volunteers, contact us about attending this project. It is a great way to experience Maranatha service and train group members as leaders for a future project.

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Non-Profit U.S. Postage


Roseville, CA Permit No. 111

990 Reserve Drive, Suite 100 Roseville, CA 95678

About Maranatha Maranatha spreads the Gospel throughout the world as it builds people through the construction of urgently needed buildings.

A LEGACY OF SERVICE For Don and Alice Kirkman, missions have been an important part of their lives. From their time as a young family to life after retirement, the Kirkmans have helped Maranatha to provide urgently needed buildings around the world. Now, they have partnered with the Maranatha Volunteers International Foundation to be sure that this commitment to service lives on. What will your legacy be? Call the Maranatha Foundation to speak with a Planned Giving specialist. (916) 774-7700

ON THE COVER: Lena Wilkie, Ultimate Workout volunteer, at the Changuinola Adventist School construction site in Panama. Photo by Yuma Molina.

All notices of change of address should be sent to the Maranatha Volunteers International United States address. United States Headquarters: Maranatha Volunteers International 990 Reserve Drive Suite 100 Roseville, CA 95678 Phone: (916) 774-7700 Fax: (916) 774-7701 Website: www.maranatha.org Email: info@maranatha.org In Canada: Maranatha Volunteers International Association c/o V06494C PO Box 6494, Station Terminal Vancouver, BC V6B 6R3 CANADA

Julie Z. Lee, Editor Carrie Purkeypile, Managing Editor Heather Bergren, Designer

Profile for Maranatha Volunteers International

The Volunteer Fall 2015  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.

The Volunteer Fall 2015  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.