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FA LL 2017

A Publication of Maranatha Volunteers International

Serving in São Tomé & Príncipe

A small country with a big mission





David, Panama In July, 126 volunteers, representing eight countries, participated in Maranatha Volunteers International’s annual Ultimate Workout, a mission trip exclusively for teenagers. The volunteers helped construct a school, church, and a community services building in western Panama. The teenagers also assisted with medical clinics and community outreach programs. In between the work, the volunteers spent a lot of time in worship, Bible study, and prayer— along with a bit of fun enjoying Panama’s excursion options. Next year’s project will take place in Bolivia; look at page 14 for dates.

Photo by Ed Jensen

Photo by Ed Jensen

Photo by Ed Jensen

Photo by Lyana Osborn


A Region Beyond


here is your next trip?” is the most

common question I receive, followed by “Where have you been recently?” Both questions are certainly appropriate since the mission of Maranatha takes us to many unusual places around the world. Earlier this year, my wife Laura and I were in the tiny country of São Tomé and Príncipe. Have you heard of it? When we returned from that trip we got the usual questions about where we had been. We ended up asking nearly two dozen people if they had ever heard of São Tomé. Only one person we talked with had ever heard of the country, and they spoke Portuguese, the language spoken in São Tomé. I suppose that qualifies São Tomé and Príncipe as a “region beyond” in terms of taking the Gospel to distant places of the earth. The interesting thing about São Tomé (short for São Tomé and Príncipe—the country name and the two largest islands) is that the people are really open to the good news of salvation. It is a very poor place (see Julie Lee’s article on page 4), but the people are eager to learn. Only 20% of the 8,000 Seventh-day Adventist members have a Bible, so they get together to share the Scriptures whenever they can. Maranatha has stepped out in faith and ordered 5,000 Bibles with the hope that supporters would join us in seeing the high value of these people having direct access to the Word. With Bibles available to more people, the church leaders are confident that the commitment of the members will strengthen, and the church will grow. We visited the Adventist school along with many church locations. Maranatha plans to build eight new classrooms to expand the school with more grade levels. After spending a Sabbath going from one church group to another, we concluded that God was definitely leading Maranatha to provide church buildings for these members and the many neighbors and friends who would become members. The places they currently meet are primarily under houses built on stilts or temporary rented locations that are not representative of the Creator God. The Boa Entrada congregation really took our hearts as we saw the very challenging place they meet. A group of about two dozen children ran eagerly up to us when we first arrived at the church and sang us a special greeting song that welcomed us and ended with a resounding “Maranatha.” I turned to Pastor Melo and told him we were surprised that they were already aware of Maranatha being in São Tomé. He responded that they didn’t know anything about us, but they always use the Maranatha greeting because they are trained from childhood to look eagerly for the second coming of Christ. That does seem like excellent training! We would very much like to help that congregation with a new church. Would you like to help? Laura was especially touched by a new congregation made up of young people in a place called Monkey Mountain. None of the members were over the age of 25, and they met in a rundown building in a noisy part of town. As we approached, we heard the group singing with great gusto the words of the song “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.” We could see great potential for that group of young Adventists and would love to help them with a simple church. How about you? As usual, Maranatha will be offering volunteer opportunities to participate on a mission trip to São Tomé and Príncipe. You can meet the people yourself and come home with your own stories and experiences. And when people ask you where you have been, you can tell them, “You probably have never heard of it.” Then you will be able to share a great mission story—your story, about a life-changing experience to a true “region beyond.”

Don Noble, president w w w.maranatha.org


A BIG MISSION FOR A SMALL COUNTRY Maranatha goes to São Tomé & Príncipe By Julie Z. Lee

Photo by Julie Z. Lee

It is almost sunset in São Tomé and Príncipe, a small country located 150 miles off the western equatorial coast of central Africa. A Maranatha team is visiting churches in this little known country, and today, we are driving toward a neighborhood just outside of São Tomé, the capital. The road takes us away from the city and into the rainforest. After about 25 minutes, a left turn takes us onto a gravel road that opens into a wide area. Fog-covered mountains hug the edges of the valley. In one section, there are old brick buildings, organized in rows. Smaller houses dot the perimeter. Toward the center, there is a crumbling mansion. The scene is breathtakingly beautiful yet haunting because of the history it represents and the harsh reality it reveals today. This entire property was once a plantation, and now serves as a remnant of the days when São Tomé and Príncipe was under Portuguese rule, and cocoa was the country’s gold. There are similar plantations all over São Tomé; they are a testament to the nation’s long past with colonialism and slavery. Forty years after they gained independence, the cocoa industry has dwindled, and São Tomé and Príncipe’s economy is suffering. More than 50% of the country’s 200,000 residents live below the poverty line. Food availability is inconsistent, leading to malnutrition. The government is struggling with debt and relies heavily on foreign aid. In the meantime, a steadily growing population is putting pressure on available resources. So today, most of the grand plantations have lost their stateliness, and they are

Photo by Julie Z. Lee

FELLOWSHIP: After worship, the Boa Entrada group gathers outside the basement doors to sing and shake hands with each other. Adjacent to their meeting space, there is a washing station where neighbors come to do their laundry. The noise often competes with their worships.

Photo by Julie Z. Lee

DISCOMFORT IN WORSHIP: The Boa Entrada congregation worships in their basement church. The space is dark, hot, and stuffy. The rent is about $50 for six months—an amount that is a financial burden for the young group.

occupied by renters and squatters. Just 100 yards from the old mansion, there is another large building. It too was built by plantation owners from the past. People live in the building, as evidenced by the laundry hanging outside the windows and children playing outside. Underneath the main structure, there is a dark, stuffy basement. From here, music emanates. People are singing and praying and worshipping. This basement is a church. The Boa Entrada Seventh-day Adventist congregation has been meeting in this dank, mosquito-ridden space for six years. It is too small for the nearly 100 people who meet here every Sabbath. At $8 a month for rent, it is too expensive for these members. An estimated 85% of the Adventist population in the country are young people; most of them cannot find work and are unemployed. It is also a terrible space for outreach. “Some members have told me they are ashamed because they are not able to welcome visitors,” says Luiz Almeida, a

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district pastor for the Praia Loxinga district. “It is too hot. The first time I visited this congregation, I felt sick [from the heat].” Boa Entrada is one of 11 congregations that Almeida oversees. Only three have proper places of worship; eight groups meet in peculiar, borrowed spaces. He says Boa Entrada is one of the worst situations he has ever seen. But based on the churches that Maranatha has visited in São Tomé, Boa Entrada’s contemporaries are not far ahead. Most of them are pitiful structures. All of them need more space. “The Adventist church in São Tomé can potentially grow. People easily accept the Gospel,” says Almeida. “The Gospel can reach many people here.” The problem is they need real churches. IN THE BEGINNING

The Adventist church in São Tomé and Príncipe has already experienced tremendous growth in recent history. According to the local Adventist

leadership, the message first came to São Tomé and Príncipe in 1936 through the work of a colporteur named Jose Frei. Initial interest in the Gospel brought Frei back in 1938. From then on, missionary pastors from Portugal arrived in São Tomé, every three years, until 1974. In 1975, the country gained independence from centuries of Portugal’s colonization. Up until this time, leaders estimate that there were only 500 members in the Adventist church in São Tomé and Príncipe. Then, during the new phase of government, the church underwent some challenges. The leadership nationalized all the schools in the country, banning private education. The Adventists lost their school. Disagreements led to a split in the church. Growth during this time period was slow to non-existent. It wasn’t until the early 1990s, when the government began moving toward democratic reforms, that the church began to grow. Today, there are officially more than 7,000 Adventists in São Tomé and Príncipe, although locals say the number is close to 8,000. They make up

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70 groups and congregations meeting in the country. Yet only 20 have permanent places of worship. The rest—all 50—are meeting in borrowed spaces. “The church members are missionaries and active. Because of that, the church has grown in number of members, but the facilities have not grown proportionally. It is one of the challenges faced by the Adventist Church,” says Fernando Melo, president of the Adventist Church in São Tomé and Príncipe. The lack of infrastructure is a looming threat to the progress the church has made in the past few decades. “No more members can join these groups,” says Melo. “We need to expand the congregations, which have already been established. Congregations don’t have a chance to grow because of their poor physical space and because they don’t look like a real church.” HOUSES OF WORSHIP

Melo’s assessment is correct in that few of the worship spaces that Maranatha visited look like an actual

church. One group rents a former disco club, where the remains of an old bar still stand. A congregation meets in a scrap metal box on the side of the road. Yet another group meets under a tarp in the front patio of a woman’s home. The Agua Marçal church, located in the city of São Tomé, is one of the more unusual structures. It is a two-story building with basic framing and a roof. There are no walls and no floor. Eleven years ago, this skeleton was the beginning of a family home for Manuel Frota. He had been living in his mother’s home and planned to build a house next door. But not long after he started the project, the construction materials were stolen, and Frota’s meager wages as a shoe cobbler could not afford him more wood. He gave up on the project. A couple years later, Frota’s church, Boa Morte Adventist Church, asked him to host Bible studies on his property. “It started as a small group. We invited people to study. And then we had a service and prayed. Others showed up.

Neighbors came, and the group grew,” says Frota. He invited his small group to join Boa Morte. But with all the outreach, the congregation grew so large that they could no longer fit into the church. As a solution, church leaders asked Frota to start a separate group at his property. Now, there are 70 baptized members and many visitors worshipping at Frota’s church, which was named Agua Marçal. On average 140 people gather at this unfinished structure every Sabbath; half of them have to sit outside. “We have some issues because the space is small. We need to expand the place,” says Frota. Space isn’t the only issue. “When the dry season comes, the place gets full of dust. The movement of a large number of people raises the dust, causing serious health conditions,” says Francisco Bonfim, pastor of the Agua Marçal church. “When the rainy season comes, we have difficulties, too.” Despite the challenges, Bonfim is grateful to Frota for his hospitality. But

STRANGE TEMPLE: Members spill out from the skeletal structure that is the Agua Marçal church. On some Sabbaths, the 70-member congregation will double in size because of visitors and children.

MISSIONARY: Pastor Fernando Melo, president of the Adventist Church in São Tomé & Principé, says 50 out of the 70 congregations in the country have no church of their own.

Photo by Leonel Macias

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Photo by Julie Z. Lee


Photo by Leonel Macias

DOWNTOWN: Taxis and merchants crowd the streets of São Tomé city’s busiest marketplace.

Photo by Leonel Macias

UNFINISHED HOME: Manuel Frota and his daughter sit in the worship space that he built. The unfinished structure was originally intended to be a home for Manuel’s family.

everyone knows that Agua Marçal needs a change. “It is not ideal to have the service at a member’s home because then they do not have privacy. Some people do not come here because they feel uncomfortable attending a church settled at somebody else’s place,” says Bonfim. As for Frota, he’s still living in his mother’s home with his wife and daughter. The hope of finishing his house is still alive, but until Agua Marçal finds an actual temple, the dream has to be put on hold. “One day we will construct a temple, hopefully,” he says. “We’ll have the meetings here until the day we have a temple.”

expand the presence of the church where there are no Adventist congregations.” A few years ago, Adventist leadership in São Tomé and Príncipe contacted Maranatha, asking for assistance in the construction of churches. They also requested help in expanding their recently constructed Adventist school. After years of discussion and research, Maranatha committed to working in São Tomé in 2017. “Those who want to be part of this project will not only help to build temples, they will also build a history of transformation in this community,” say Melo. “We need temples in São Tomé. Temples that represent the Gospel message 24/7. Temples that can help to attract and save people through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” As with any Maranatha project, the challenge will be raising enough funds for the projects. The Adventist Church in São Tomé and Príncipe has identified property for several churches, and Melo’s team has started purchasing land. The process is never easy for any of the areas where Maranatha works, and it is a tremendous financial challenge for the Adventists in São Tomé, where many of


The prayer for a temple is a loud one, coming from all corners of São Tomé. “This is the most important request people make,” says Melo. “[The people we invite] say, ‘If a congregation had a temple, they would go.’ We need temples to settle in people properly, attract those who would not go to someone’s house— only a temple. Moreover, temples help to 8 | TH E VOLUNTE E R FA LL 20 17

the members are impoverished. As an example, only 20% of the membership own Bibles; the rest cannot afford one. (See “How You Can Help” box) Now, Maranatha is actively fundraising for projects in São Tomé. Given its isolated location and scarcity of resources on the island, construction materials will be expensive. But Melo is hopeful that people will be touched by the plight of São Tomé’s people. Melo himself is a missionary from Brazil, and he has been in the country for a little more than a year. In that time, he has witnessed the difficulties of a life lived in poverty and the strength of a hope found in Jesus Christ. Life in São Tomé has dramatically changed his priorities. “I realized how people, residents from other places, spend much money on frivolities, while people here live under such basic conditions. I think the money I spent in the past could have helped people here. I think about how much money my friends have in contrast to the people here, who have so little,” says Melo. “Every time I have a chance to talk with friends [back home], church members, and those who love God and the Gospel mission, I share the experience of being here [in São Tomé],” he says. “I have seen many needs and w w w.maranatha.org

challenges, but I believe the challenges are smaller than God’s blessings.” Starting in January 2018, volunteers will head over for multiple mission trips to build churches. Projects will also include the construction of school classrooms at the Adventist school in São Tomé. It is the only Adventist school in the country, and it took 11 years for the church to save and build a small campus, which accommodates students in preschool through third grade. A couple years into operation, the school has earned a solid reputation, and parents are asking for more grade levels. Yet construction funds are scarce, and the government is threatening to seize land that is not occupied by classrooms. Time is ticking on the property, and Maranatha will help by building eight classrooms. Considering São Tomé and Príncipe is Africa’s second smallest country and only about one-third the size of the state of Rhode Island, it seems like a big project for such a tiny country. But São Tomé and Príncipe has a big heart and a big mission. The membership is working hard to share the Gospel, using

every resource and every space they have to welcome people into their faith community. All they need now is a bit of help with construction. “I pray for those who feel touched by [our story]. It does not matter how big your donation is—it will make a difference,” says Almeida. “Open your heart and let God use you for Him. It will help the church, the ministry, and the mission. We have to make disciples to all nations, and now we have to make disciples in São Tomé.” • DISCOVER MORE Go beyond the story at www.maranatha.org • Learn more about São Tomé and Príncipe by checking out our infographic on page 15.

HOW YOU CAN HELP • Volunteer in São Tomé and Príncipe! Check out the opportunities on page 14. • Sponsor a Bible for someone in São Tomé by donating $5. • Sponsor a church or school by making a donation to projects in São Tomé and Príncipe. Use the attached envelope, call (916) 774-7700, or donate online at www.maranatha.org

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION: Children study at the local Adventist school. There is only one Adventist school in the country, and it offers limited grade levels. They have requested Maranatha’s help in expanding the school.

MARKET DAY: A woman waits for a customer in downtown São Tomé. While fish and fruit seem abundant on the island, studies have shown that a significant percentage of children are malnourished, and much of the country’s food has to be imported.

Photo by Julie Z. Lee

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Photo by Julie Z. Lee


Maranatha in Bolivia

The mission and how you can help By Julie Z. Lee


t was the last country in

South America to discover the Seventh-day Adventist message, but 120 years later, Bolivia is a thriving mission field with a growing Adventist membership. Today, there are nearly 120,000 Adventists in the country— thanks to the work of the local people. “Adventists in Bolivia are very spiritual people, and, above all, very missionary-minded people,” says Henrry Mendizibal, treasurer of the Adventist Church in Bolivia and director of the Global Missions department. “We are constantly amazed at how God uses ordinary people as preachers from among His people. We can see brick masons, builders, peasants who get behind the pulpit on Saturdays and preach powerful sermons.” The increase in membership has created a challenge for the church in Bolivia. They need more places of worship. People are opening up their homes, renting community centers, or traveling long distances to worship. In response to a request from the Adventist church in Bolivia, Maranatha will begin mobilizing volunteers to build churches in Cochabamba, located in central Bolivia, starting in January 2018. Eventually, Maranatha will branch out to serve other parts of the country, including La Paz. Bolivia is a captivating country with a diverse range of landscapes, colorful culture, and warm people. Volunteers

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Photo by Tom Lloyd

PATIO CHURCH: The Fortaleza congregation worships in the patio of a church member’s home. They have managed to purchase land for a church but cannot afford the materials to construct a building.

will have the opportunity to experience contemporary life in downtown Cochabamba, where high-rise buildings and upscale restaurants are the norm. Outside the main city, volunteers will see a life where the country’s oldest traditions are still maintained. Most important, volunteers will witness the urgent need for churches in the country. The people have been generous in opening up their personal space for meetings and Bible studies. But not every place is fit for worship. Few congregations can afford to build a temple on their own. “Every day or every month, we have new places where preaching takes place. Through a very progressive

approach, new pulpits are being opened for preaching by going into new neighborhoods,” says Mendizibal. “This makes the construction of new temples a necessity. As a church in Bolivia, we have approached Maranatha’s ministry to express our need for help in addressing the growth of the church. It is a significant growth which we are unable to manage solely with our own resources… Hand in hand, we can all come together and meet the needs of the church in Bolivia.” •

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Photo by Tom Lloyd 1


Photo by Tom Lloyd 3

1 Members of the Colina Ecologica church stand in front of the local community center, where they currently meet for worship. 2 A woman with her daughter shop in the local marketplace. Many in this area maintain the traditional culture of Bolivia, including dress. 3 Downtown Cochabamba is the heart of the Cochabamba valley and home to more than 600,000 people. 4 Bolivia is full of incredible landscapes, including the famous Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable body of water in the world. There is an Adventist congregation that worships on the lake in a floating church—built by Maranatha. 5 Daria Chipana and her daughter have morning worship at their home. They are members of the Colina Ecologica church.

Photo by Tom Lloyd 4

Photo by Leonel Macias

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Photo by Tom Lloyd


Poroko, Kenya A Maasai woman stands in front of her new One-Day Church, which was built by volunteers during the Family Project in July. This is one of seven One-Day Churches that the team built in seven days, and its location on Maasai land is a miracle. Decades ago, Seventh-day Adventist missionaries tried to befriend the Maasai and share the Gospel with them. They were shut down and unsuccessful in their work. Twentyyears later, times have changed and the people are more open to Christianity. This Maasai tribe welcomed Maranatha volunteers with open arms and celebrated the dedication of their new church. Photo by David Brillhart


Brazil Project

to take personal time and money to help us. We’re used to seeing Americans do this overseas, but this is a new paradigm, and everyone appreciates it,” said Woods. This year, Maranatha has more than 70 service projects scheduled in a dozen countries around the world. Approximately 38% of the projects are in the United States, assisting domestic organizations.

In July, a total of 85 volunteers, including eight from Brazil, spent nearly two weeks at Union Springs Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist boarding school in western New York, for a major renovation project. Much of the work focused on the boys and girls dormitories, where crews painted, removed carpet, and installed new flooring. Volunteers also replaced the roof of the campus church and assisted with landscaping. The Brazil volunteers were recruited through Maranatha Brazil’s social media channels. This is the first time Maranatha has actively recruited international volunteers for a North America project. Since 2015, following the establishment of a Maranatha Brazil office and the debut of a Portuguese-language television show, Maranatha Histórias Missão, there has been a growing interest in short-term service from Brazilian Adventists. Maranatha has coordinated multiple mission trips to places such as Angola, India, and Brazil. David Woods, director of North America projects and construction superintendent on the Union Springs Academy project, says that the diversity of the volunteer team was a positive experience for all the participants. “I think it was encouraging for the stateside volunteers to meet people from other countries who are willing

Family Project

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In July, 113 volunteers on Maranatha’s Family Project served at Getare Seventh-day Adventist Academy near Kisii, Kenya. Participants of all ages, from 2 to 93 years old, helped to build a large classroom on campus, as well as six churches in the surrounding communities. Medical clinics and Vacation Bible School programs rounded out the project. The mission trip was designed specifically for families, so in addition to construction and outreach activities, the Kenya Family Project included a day camp for kids. The young volunteers learned how to lay block and assisted in building the walls of the classroom. They also interacted with students at the Getare school and had numerous opportunities to immerse themselves in aspects of Kenyan culture. Currently, Getare serves more than 600 students. The new buildings replace mud classrooms that were disintegrating from

wear. With the new Maranatha classrooms in place, school officials expect enrollment to increase immediately.

Do your giving while you’re living, so you’re knowing where it’s going. This is a favorite saying of Calvin Krueger, Maranatha Volunteers International board member since 1979. He has seen how his support, through God’s leading, has helped to change communities all over the world. Calvin and his wife, Sue, have been blessed over the years, and their greatest joy is sharing those blessings with others. They see, firsthand, the needs all over the world, and they would like to push the Maranatha vision to a new level. Calvin and Sue have decided to give a minimum of $1,000 each month ($12,000 annually) to Maranatha, and they invite you to join them in this commitment to elevate the Maranatha mission. It’s called the Maranatha Builder’s Circle. Some can commit to $1,000 per month and some $10,000 a month. Whatever your ability, the Maranatha mission needs you. If you would like to learn more about the Maranatha Builder’s Circle, please contact Karen Godfrey at (916) 774-7700.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES Clark County Adventist Community Services Project WASHINGTON, USA

Zimbabwe Project HWANGE, ZIMBABWE

Camp Frenda Project ONTARIO, CANADA

Kingsville Adventist Church Project MISSOURI, USA


Multiple Group Project DAVID, PANAMA

Leadership: Leroy Kelm October 1 - 15, 2017

Leadership: Susan & David Woods October 2 - 11, 2017

Leadership: George Carpenter, Jon Harvey October 12 - 23, 2017


Leadership: Sheena Smith, Lorin Rubbert October 18 - 29, 2017

Kenya Project MERU, KENYA

Leadership: Merrill Zachary, George Alder November 15 - 30, 2017

Christmas Family Project DAVID, PANAMA

Leadership: Claudio & Elizabeth Japas, Caleb Batista Dec. 20, 2017 - Jan. 1, 2018


Leadership: Dan Skau, Daniel Medrano, Jose Luis Diaz Dec. 27, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018

São Tomé & Príncipe Project SÃO TOMÉ, SÃO TOMÉ & PRÍNCIPE Leadership: Karen Godfrey, Peter Thomas January 11 - 23, 2018


Leadership: Judy & David Shull January 31 - February 13, 2018

Kenya Project MERU, KENYA

Leadership: David Lopez, George Alder January 31 - February 14, 2018

Odessa Adventist Church Project TEXAS, USA Leadership: Leroy Kelm February 18 - March 11, 2018

India Project INDIA

Leadership: Phil Becker, Paul Karmy March 1 - 14, 2018

Leadership: Ed Jensen, Leroy Kelm March 18 - April 8, 2018

Leadership: Steve Case, Luther Findley March 22 - April 1, 2018

College Place Spanish Adventist Church Project WASHINGTON, USA

Leadership: Marti Hartnell, Leroy Kelm April 17 - May 8, 2018

Blue Mountain Academy Project PENNSYLVANIA, USA Leadership: Betty Beattie, Roger Hatch, Ed Burgan April 18 - May 2, 2018

Camp MiVoden Project IDAHO, USA

Leadership: Doug and Melody Wheeler, Jerry Wesslen May 6 - 17, 2018

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

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 set a budget, find a site and accommodations, organize your team, and provide in-country support from our staff. For groups ranging from 5 105, call for a consult, and we’ll help every step of the way.

Kenya Project KIUTINE, KENYA

For more information, call (916) 774-7700 or email leaders@maranatha.org

Ultimate Workout 28: USA TBD, USA

Thanks for Serving!

Family Project: Bolivia COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA

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

Leadership: Loretta Spivey June 14 - 28, 2018

Leadership: Rebekah Shephard June 21 - July 1, 2018

Leadership: Steve Case, Bob Holmes, Danny Poljak June 21 - July 1, 2018

Young Adult Project KIUTINE, KENYA

Leadership: Angela Boothby July 4 - 18, 2018

Union Springs Academy Project NEW YORK, USA Leadership: TBA July 15 - 22, 2018

Ultimate Workout 28: Bolivia ENTRE RIOS, BOLIVIA Leadership: David Lopez July 18 - 29, 2018

Leadership: Loretta Spivey February 14 - 28, 2018 14 | TH E VOLUNTE E R FA LL 20 17

You Can Serve on a Mission Trip with Maranatha!


La Sierra Academy Team — California, USA Chiswick Adventist Youth Team — England


Finland Maranatha Team — Finland

*Volunteer opportunities open to the general public will now be listed as “Projects” instead of “Open Teams.” Please note the naming change has not yet been made to all projects listed on the website.

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Where in the world is



Located about 150 miles off the western coast of central Africa, São Tomé and Príncipe is a little known nation of islands. Blink and you might miss it while surveying a globe! But this tiny country is home to a thriving population of Seventh-day Adventists. They desperately need more churches—and Maranatha has taken notice. Starting in 2018, we’ll be mobilizing volunteers to build churches and classrooms in the capital city of São Tomé.





Population: 201,025 Size: 1,001 square miles Language: Portuguese Economy: Government expenditure, farming (cocoa), tourism Religion: Catholic 55.7%, Adventist 4.1%, Assembly of God 3.4%, none 21.2%, other 15.6%




Seventh-day Adventists in São Tomé and Príncipe.

70 congregations and groups, 50 need a Out of

permanent place of worship.


More than 60% of the population is under the age of 25.

The country is the second smallest in Africa, after Seychelles.

The islands are part of a non-active volcanic mountain range.

Only 20% of the Adventist membership owns Bibles.

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Sponsor a Bible for the people of São Tomé and Príncipe for $5! THE VOLUNTEER FALL 2017 | 15

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 TELEVISION SERIES ABOUT CHANGING LIVES! Take a look into the heart of missions with Maranatha Mission Stories, a half-hour program about how your support is impacting the world. Each episode takes you on an adventure to countries around the world, where Maranatha volunteers are helping to spread the Gospel through service. Watch anytime, anywhere by going to www.maranatha.org/missionstories or subscribing to the Maranatha Channel on Roku.

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

Broadcast Airing Schedule (Pacific Standard Time) 3ABN Hope Channel

Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:00 p.m. Friday, 9:00 a.m. Saturday, 9:30 p.m. Sunday, 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.

ON THE COVER: A member of the Agua Marçal church in São Tomé greets us at the door to her home, where the group meets every week for worship. Photo by Leonel Macias

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 Heather Bergren, Designer

Profile for Maranatha Volunteers International

The Volunteer Fall 2017  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.

The Volunteer Fall 2017  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.