Page 1


M A RC H /A P R I L 20 1 4

A Publication of Maranatha Volunteers International

A Church, A Testimony: How YOU created a legacy in the Dominican Republic INSIDE THIS ISSUE:



C H R I S T M A S F A M I LY P R O J E C T P 1 0

A CHURCH, A TESTIMONY: How you’ve helped to grow a legacy in the Dominican Republic By Julie Z. Lee

“When a church springs up someplace, a testimony begins.” –Catalino Hernandez, pastor in the Dominican Republic


t ’s been more than three

decades since Maranatha first began working in the Dominican Republic. The outreach started in response to Hurricane David, a storm that tore through the island. Volunteers helped to rebuild homes and churches in the early 1980s. Then in 1992, Maranatha returned to launch a multi-church construction effort. It was the first multi‑church effort in Maranatha history—and its success revolutionized the organization’s approach to mission work.

Photo by Leonel Macias

Photo by Leonel Macias

Approximately 1,200 volunteers traveled to the Dominican Republic for an event called Santo Domingo ’92. Working with Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership to identify needs, volunteers built 25 churches in 70 days. Those 25 churches kicked off a growth in Adventist membership, and several of the Maranatha churches produced daughter congregations. Maranatha returned in 2002 to build 50 more churches, which in turn gave birth to granddaughter churches. So in 2013, Adventist leadership asked Maranatha to return to build even more places of worship. “We invited them back to the Dominican Republic because the requirements, the demand for churches in our country has grown very great. The church has had a great growth in membership, and there are many brothers and sisters who are worshipping … in a very precarious way. And we have come to the conclusion that the need for churches is so great

Photo by Maranatha Staff

Photo by Marino Marte

Photo by Maranatha Staff


during a weeklong celebration of thanksgiving. More projects are scheduled for 2014, and they need funding. Please make a gift to Maranatha to support projects in the Dominican Republic! •

Photo by Leonel Macias

that we, alone, cannot take care of all the demand,” says Cesario Acevedo, president of the Adventist Church in the Dominican Republic. In 2013, Maranatha began building in the Dominican Republic for the fourth time. In December, six churches in Santo Domingo were dedicated

w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g

Photo by Leonel Macias

Photo by Leonel Macias


WORSHIPPING IN A SAUNA On Sabbath morning, worship is starting at the Luz de las Palmeras church—and it’s making people sweat. It’s not the sermon topic causing the overheating, but the fact that there is virtually no ventilation in the room. It gets unbearably hot and stuffy, and when it rains, the roof leaks. “It is very uncomfortable here. It’s very hot because it has a really low ceiling, and it is closed in. And when it’s really sunny it is so hot. You’re swimming in sweat inside here because it is just too hot. Also, the roof is deteriorating. When it rains outside, it rains inside, and the benches are getting damaged by the water,” says Felicia Gil Florentina. Years ago, Florentina started the church in her home with just five or six people. Eventually the group outgrew her living room, and they moved to another house. They moved from place to place, until they landed at their current location. “We try to save money to help with the construction of a new church. But it is a bit difficult because lately, none of us have

w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g

steady work,” says Florentina. Any extra funds are also absorbed into the monthly rent, leaving the congregation with little to no savings for a church building. Then, last year, they received word that they had been selected to receive a Maranatha church. “We are so happy because imagine—we didn’t have anything to build the church or to buy the lot! We have seen the work of God, the wonder of God, truly … now Maranatha will come build the church,” says Florentina. “That has always been one of our hopes, that Maranatha … would help build the church because we alone couldn’t even dream of it.”

What You Can Do Today: You can help provide funds for a new church for Luz de las Palmeras. While donations of any amount are needed, the full sponsorship of a church is $40,000. If you are interested in fully sponsoring this building, please call (916) 774-7700.

THE PATIO TEMPLE It is a warm Sabbath morning in December, and the Luz de Javilla church is slowly filling with people. They enter, one by one, and wipe their shoes on a small mat at the entrance. Before the members sit down, they kneel and pray. Even small children pray, folding their knees on the cool concrete floor. The reverence and formality is in sharp contrast to the church building itself. It can hardly be called a building since it doesn’t have real walls or doors. Old wood beams hold up a tin roof. Large sheets of discarded plastic—some with advertisements on them—serve as partial walls. The wooden pews are riddled with holes from a termite infestation. It’s not an ideal structure, but the advantage Luz de Javilla has is that they own the land. They purchased the property four years ago, but they haven’t had the funds to build an actual church. So they built the patio structure two years ago, and they have been faithfully meeting there ever since. What You Can Do Today: You can help provide funds for a new church for Luz de Javilla. While donations of any amount are needed, the full sponsorship of a church is $40,000. If you are interested in fully sponsoring this building, please call (916) 774-7700.


GROWING A GENERATION FOR CHRIST: Steve Case and the Ultimate Workout By Julie Z. Lee


Case is not the judgmental type. But after a few years, the fledgling Ultimate Workout [UW] program was about to come to an end. It was too much of a logistical nightmare, too costly, and too time-consuming for the small staff at Maranatha Volunteers International in the early 1990s. So Don Noble, president of Maranatha, told Case he had to pull the plug on the annual teen mission trip. Case had just returned from being a volunteer leader on his third Ultimate Workout. Once again, he had seen the incredible impact of the trip on the teenage volunteers, and he was adamant that the program be saved—even if it meant giving a guilt trip to Maranatha’s leader. “You’ve got to keep this thing going—or you’re not a Christian!” Case launched into a rambling speech about the importance of UW and how the solution was to contract someone to run it—a person dedicated to young people and missions. But who? Bible teachers, youth pastors—Case had scrutinized names in his head but could not come up with a solution. “There’s got to be a unique person who can do this,” he said. teve

Noble, who was a good friend of Case, burst out laughing. “Why are you laughing?” asked Case. Smiling, Noble said, “Don’t you know who the person is? You’re the person.” More than 20 years later, UW has grown from two-dozen volunteers to a regular group of about 150. It’s gone through various iterations as Case and his troupe of leaders have honed the program to make it better and more effective. The result is a well-organized, beloved program that has become one of the cornerstones of Maranatha. For Case, the power of UW is it epitomizes what mission trips are meant to be. “I was struck by the high impact of this mission trip, compared to others that I had been on,” says Case. “There is something to this project that is unique. I think people actually experience II Corinthians 5:17: ‘Therefore if any

man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’” Teenagers, Case says, are ready to “become new.” Developmentally they are searching for identity, and being dropped into a new situation allows them to redefine themselves, away from pre-conceived notions of family and friends at home. “What happens is that when you grow up with people, you have certain expectations of them. And when young people are searching for a new identity, [UW] is an ideal spot to do it,” says Case. The search extends into spiritual identity. On a mission trip with strangers, teens can release the label of what it means to be spiritual back at home and redefine it while on the trip. Says Case, “Some are trying out a new Christianity. They can take the risk, and also because they don’t know other people, they are willing to take different

Photo by Debbie Thompson Kippel


w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g

Photo by Maranatha Staff

w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g

Photo by Debbie Thompson Kippel

Photo by Maranatha Staff

risks because it’s short-term. And when they do that, they find a new intimacy that they didn’t have back at home.” While Case describes the transformation as a natural occurrence on UW, his co-leaders know that the success of the trips is certainly guided by Case and his experience. Case is a youth pastor and founder of Piece of the Pie and Involve Youth, ministries focused on developing a young person’s relationship with God. “What Steve brings to Ultimate Workout is really a complete package ... Steve can do the overall logistics, but more important—what he brings is a skillset in youth ministry and youth mentoring that gives us kind of this complete package. Not just of leading the entire group but developing the leadership of the team,” says Dan Skau, one of the longtime leaders for UW. The adult leaders, who range from contractors to nurses to pastors, are handpicked by Case. He trains them and mentors them on how to best work with youth. After the adults are set, the team weaves teens into the leadership staff—a step that has become one of the most important parts of UW. “[Steve] teaches you without teaching you,” says Aaron Nakamura, a leader who started out as a teen volunteer. “He will simply come up

to you with a project he needs you to lead and right away puts you in a position where you need to analyze and make important decisions that you, yourself, will carry out. It’s the perfect classroom for young, growing leaders, and he creates it for each young person by simply asking them, ‘What do you think?’ It’s scary and overwhelming … but when you look back, you realize that he was actually teaching and training you up by putting you in a real leadership environment.” Many of the teen leaders that cut their teeth on UW have gone on to become pastors, physicians, and Maranatha staff. They’ve also helped to lead trips for people who have graduated

from UW but are seeking a similar type of mission experience: Collegiate Project, Young Adult Project, and Ultimate Workout Alumni projects. “If Steve hadn’t put his faith in me, a teenager at the time, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Not socially. Not spiritually,” says Rebekah Widmer, a UW volunteer turned leader. “His daily connection with God was evident, and it made me desire to have a similar relationship. That connection also showed me that in order to be a good leader, you have to be a good follower of God, first and foremost.” It’s quite a legacy that has been built. And now, Case is ready to move on. In July 2013, Case led his last UW.


Fortunately, Case isn’t retiring from mission trips. He’s focusing on Summer Family Projects, which he has led for years, and it is one of Maranatha’s most popular programs. He’ll also lead Multiple Group Projects, which invites small teams of 15 or less to join together for a larger mission trip. Both have big potential to change lives—which is what Case loves. “I know nothing that makes as big a change in a short time than a mission trip,” says Case. And through these trips, perhaps no one’s life has been changed more than his

own. When Case started on UW, he was a young pastor. Today, Case is a seasoned leader who has shepherded generations of young people to service. He’s learned a few things over the years. “I think there’s a deepening for me. A deepening trust in God,” says Case. “My trust in God is deeper and my belief in young people is greater … I am very positive and optimistic about young people. Not throwing them to the wolves but mentoring them and empowering them and supporting them. I knew that before, but I believe it even more so because of Ultimate Workout.” •

Photo by Tom Lloyd

“I used two words: ‘It’s time.’ It’s time for a new perspective. I’ve been doing this for 21 years. We need someone who can put a new angle on it and take it to a new level,” says Case. “Steve brought a solid, calm, consistent strength to the Ultimate Workout projects for many years,” says Noble. “His experience and wisdom in working with young people and motivating them to a higher standard has helped to make Ultimate Workout the life-changing program that it has become over the years for many teens. His leadership will be greatly missed.”


w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g

w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g

Mariano da Silva and his daughter Fabiana, stand one last time in the window of a small house their local church family rents. Fifty-six volunteers built two churches in Dias D’Ávila, Brazil in January. One is in the Jardim Garcia neighborhood – a new community Mariano travels to daily to share the good news of Jesus and grow this young congregation.


Photo by Dick Duerksen

Photo by David Brillhart

Inspired to Mission

SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT Volunteers discover a new way to celebrate Christmas By Carrie Purkeypile


fter more than a decade

of traditional Christmas celebrations, 16-year-old Jason and 11-year-old Johann Schafer were surprised to learn that 2013 would be different. “When my husband and I decided to go, we told them— didn’t ask them. They were already asking for Christmas gifts, but we said, ‘We are doing something totally different,’” recounts mom, Elizabeth Entrena‑Chavarria. Their decision was to sign up the entire family for the Maranatha Christmas Family Project, in lieu of gifts. It was a risk, but a risk that panned out. “At the end of the trip [the boys] said, ‘Thank you. This was the best gift we ever got,’” says Entrena-Chavarria. Nearly 100 other volunteers would agree with Jason and Johann’s assessment. Ranging in age from 6 to 86 years of

age, everyone worked to build two block churches, hold two children’s meetings daily, and staff a free medical clinic for local people in Panama. “We loved the fact that it was multigenerational. There were people that were single and with families and with grandchildren. We loved that aspect,” Entrena-Chavarria says. “It is more like real life, and not so compartmentalized.” The Christmas Family Project was also a first for Becky Young and her family. “The project itself was really more than what we thought it would be in terms of it being a wonderful experience,” says Young.

Young helped build the Triguera church, which meant driving an hour and a half from their home base every morning and back again in the afternoon. “It really pushed me out of my comfort zone and that was really good for me personally,” she says. With all that time on the bus, the volunteers really got to know each other and become friends. But she felt that the biggest reward was watching the reaction of the local church members at the end of the project. “Going to church on that last Sabbath and seeing it fill with the people—and seeing that building in contrast to what they were worshipping in before … ” says Young, full of emotion. “We worked really hard on that all week, and it is just a bunch of blocks. But when you see it fill with people it is a whole different thing.” Both of the church dedication programs were packed with members and visitors, as well as with the volunteers who helped build. “People

Photos by Vickie Wiedmann


w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g

were standing outside worshipping through the windows,” says Pastor David Sitler, who also served as the spiritual coordinator. This year marked the Sitler’s third Christmas Family project. After participating for two years, they stayed home for a traditional Christmas in 2012—a decision they regretted. Says Sitler, “We just moped around on Christmas and said, ‘We are never doing this again!’” So the family returned to the Christmas Family Project in 2013 and loved every minute. Ten-year-old Anella Poljak is another enthusiastic devotee and loves her Maranatha Christmas experience. “Before, we just did what everybody else did. Presents, a tree. But here we actually do something over Christmas. I don’t miss my old Christmas because I think this is much more fun!” Not only are projects fun, they are also an opportunity for self-discovery and learning. Like all Maranatha trips, the Christmas Family Project is designed to accommodate and train beginners, including children, while utilizing the talent of more experienced volunteers. Every person has something special to offer; it’s a lesson that every participant can take home with them. “Leaders encouraged everyone to share their talents,” says Entrena-Chavarria. “People felt good about bringing whatever talent they had.” The experience has instilled a confidence in her son that has lasted even after the mission trip. “Last night the coordinator of children’s ministry here at our church called him and asked him, ‘Johann would you mind giving a presentation at children’s church?’ He is not the type of child who likes to present but he said yes. I was very surprised.” The kids declared the mission trip their “best gift ever,” and it was a pretty great gift for mom and dad too. “We wanted them to value others and not just material things,” says Entrena‑Chavarria. These memories, friendships, values, and perspectives will probably last a lot longer than whatever was on that Christmas list. • Photos by Danilo Poljak

w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g


Last Project in Ecuador

Photo by Boris Saavedra

More than 400 Maranatha volunteers traveled to the highlands of Ecuador to build the Ambato Adventist School. This sprawling campus replaces a crowded, narrow school that was wedged between two buildings downtown. Thanks to your support, hundreds of students will have an improved space to not only gain an academic education but also learn about Jesus Christ!



A School in Tamale, Ghana A team of 27 volunteers traveled to Tamale, Ghana, in October to build a One-Day School campus. It was a project that almost never happened. In this part of Ghana, land is under the control of tribal chiefs. In this case, the regional chief had granted 51 acres for a new school. But by the time Maranatha was invited to build, a new chief was in power. He refused to surrender the land. After some negotiation, church leadership finally convinced him to give half the property promised. Tamale is one of several places Maranatha is working in Ghana. In total, Maranatha is constructing 78 One-Day School classrooms, one education and evangelism center, and 40 churches in Ghana.

One-Day Church Withstands India Cyclone When a severe cyclone struck the state of Odisha, India, in October, tens of thousands of homes and structures were destroyed. After the storm, Maranatha’s team checked on One-Day Churches

Did You Know …

Tamale, Ghana built in Odisha. Tackling debris from the aftermath of the cyclone, team members reached the church in Golpalpur. Toppled trees were stacked around the building, torn from the ground by 155 miles per hour winds. But the church was still standing with no damage.

Béré Adventist Hospital Gets Another Addition The Béré Adventist Hospital in Chad, Africa just got a little bigger thanks to our supporters! In January 2014, 21 Maranatha volunteers traveled to this west central African country for a second expansion project at the facility. The first project was a year ago, when a team built several patient wards, an operating room, staff housing, and laboratories. This time, volunteers built an on-campus nursing school and also finished up other work that was started by a previous Maranatha team. Béré Adventist Hospital is the only hospital in a district of about 200,000 people. The Maranatha projects have expanded the hospital to provide better and increased space for patients, surgery, and recovery.

Odisha, India

w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g

You can donate your low interest rate CD to Maranatha and receive a higher rate of return for life, while receiving a charitable deduction. You can donate your home to Maranatha, take a charitable deduction, and live in it for the rest of your life. You can donate stocks and other securities to Maranatha, not pay tax on the capital gains, take a charitable deduction and receive more income for life than you currently receive in dividends. You can easily make a donation to Maranatha from your estate by just naming Maranatha as beneficiary on your retirement assets or life insurance policies. Call us at (916) 774-7700 for more information on these or other planned giving ideas!


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.

Photo by Leonel Macias

For more information, call (916) 774-7700 or email groups@maranatha.org. *Group Project teams must have a minimum of 20 participants; leaders recruit their own teams.

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 the online Project Calendar at www.maranatha.org. For more information, email us at volunteer@maranatha.org or call (916) 774-7700.

Thanks for Serving! The following group project teams have served during the months of January - April, 2014: BRAZIL

Blue Mountain Academy Open Team PENNSYLVANIA, USA Leaders: Betty Beattie & Roger Hatch April 20 - May 4, 2014

Camp Yavapines Open Team ARIZONA, USA Leaders: Judy Leeper & Dave Schwinn May 5 - 15, 2014

Camp MiVoden Open Team IDAHO, USA Leader: Don Bais May 7 - 22, 2014

Faith Adventist Christian School Open Team MISSISSIPPI, USA Leaders: Betty Beattie & Dave Schwinn June 11 - 25, 2014

Family Project Dominican Republic DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leaders: Steve Case & Wills Teal June 19 - 29, 2014

Zimbabwe Open Team ZIMBABWE Leader: To Be Determined July 2014

Family Project Brazil BRAZIL Leader: Karen Godfrey July 2 - 13, 2014

Ultimate Workout 24

High School aged teenagers

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leader: David Lopez July 3 - 13, 2014

Hardeeville Open Team SOUTH CAROLINA, USA Leaders: Betty Beattie & Ed Burgan July 9 - 23, 2014

Collegiate Project College students, ages 18-25

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leader: Ethan Weber July 17 - 28, 2014

Young Adult Project Ages 18 - 35

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leaders: Michael Paradise & Luther Findley August 1 - 11, 2014


West Houston Adventist Church Team Texas

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Amazing Grace Academy Team Alaska Thunderbird Academy Team Arizona San Gabriel Academy Team California Milo Adventist Academy Oregon Madison Academy Team Tennesse Arlington Adventist Church/Burton Texas

PANAMA Fletcher Academy Team North Carolina Oklahoma Conference Oklahoma Chehalis Adventist Church Team Washington Enumclaw Adventist Church Washington Palisades Christian Academy Washington Wisconsin Academy Wisconsin

w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g























In 1991, Don Noble, president of Maranatha, was in the Dominican Republic to plan what would eventually become a 25-church construction effort called Santo Domingo ’92. While there, he met the La Caleta congregation. Thirteen members were meeting under a tree in a park near the airport. They had been gathering as a group since the 1970s, but never in a church of their own.





The congregation was selected to be a recipient of a Maranatha church. The construction launched a rapid membership growth that birthed multiple daughter and granddaughter churches. Today, La Caleta has 150 members. The extended family of churches has a combined membership of nearly 1,200 members.

w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g


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. All notices of change of address should be sent to the Maranatha Volunteers International United States address.

Save the Date!

2014 Maranatha Volunteers International Convention Adventure Christian Church Roseville, California

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

S E P TE M B E R 1 9 -2 0 You won’t want to miss: Uplif ting volunteer testimonies Exciting news from the mission f ield Inspiring musical performances

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

Special Musical Guest

Wintley Phipps

ON THE COVER: Nuevo Renacer II Church, Dominican Republic. Photo by Leonel Macias

In Canada: Maranatha Volunteers International Association c/o V06494C PO Box 6494, Station Terminal Vancouver, BC V6B 6R3 CANADA

Profile for Maranatha Volunteers International

The Volunteer March/April 2014  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.

The Volunteer March/April 2014  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.