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A Publication of Maranatha Volunteers International

Filling the World with God’s Glory And how you can help! INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

A N S W E R I N G T H E C A L L I N A N G O L A P4

A DEEPER ADDICTION P8

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Photo by Tom Lloyd

Blossom English Medium School, Northeast India Using sunshine as his only light source, a teacher does his best to give an alphabet lesson to his students. There is no electricity at this school, the mud-caked walls are crumbling, and children have to sit on the floor atop plastic sheeting. The school has 20 students and is run by Adventists — for free — as a way to share the Gospel message with the community.


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

THE GLORY OF GOD FILLING THE WORLD L aura, and I participated in several church and school dedications in India. These celebrations, regardless of the location, are some of the most meaningful and joyous experiences that we have with Maranatha. When one more school or church is dedicated to the glory of God, we know that His kingdom is being expanded in one more place. Lives will be changed, and there will be more people in Heaven. We find that to be very exciting!

Photo by Tom Lloyd

R

ecently my wife ,

Isaiah talks about the whole world being filled with the glory of God. As the love, mercy and kindness of God’s character – His glory – is shared through missionary activities, the world is steadily learning more about the Gospel message and more people are made aware of His soon return. Each school where a child learns that “Jesus loves me, this I know” and each new church that establishes a lighthouse in a community, is a way that God’s glory is filling the earth. Each volunteer that has a life-impacting experience on a Maranatha mission trip also adds to the glory of God. That is why we get excited at church and school dedications, and it is our sincere desire and prayer that these facilities will be used by God to express His glory wherever they are located. In this issue of The Volunteer you will read about the way God is opening the way for His glory to be expanded in the war-torn country of Angola. You will also read about the life of a dedicated volunteer, Luther Findley, and how God is using him to share God’s glory. As you contemplate the eternal impact of these projects and recognize how God is glorified in each one, I invite you to join thousands of others who are praying that God’s glory will fill the whole earth and that He will return soon. And if you can participate yourself, either by supporting financially or actually going on a mission trip, we are sure your life will also be spiritually enhanced as you experience more of the glory of God!

Don Noble, president

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ANSWERING THE CALL IN ANGOLA Why we need your help in Luanda, now! By Carrie Purkeypile

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or the six million people who live in Angola’s capital of Luanda, life revolves around gridlock. Local drivers dart off the highway down a bumpy dirt lane to avoid a traffic snarl. Hours of commute time are avoided by a thorough knowledge of every neighborhood. This is one place that Google Maps hasn’t conquered yet. The population of Luanda exploded during the long wars that plagued the country. People streamed from the countryside into the relative safety of the capital city. Today, stability prevails throughout the country, but people remain in Luanda in an attempt to get their own small piece of Angola’s newfound prosperity.

POVERTY AMONG RICHES Angola has magnificent natural resources. Abundant diamond mines produce an estimated $1 billion in gems each year, making Angola the world’s fourth-largest diamond producer. Additionally, Angola is rich in oil. Angola produces 650 million barrels per year and is the second largest producer of oil on the African continent. But the recent influx in wealth has proven elusive to the majority of the population. Seventy percent of Angola’s 18.5 million people live on less than $2 per day. This means that a huge number of people are pushed to the periphery of Luanda, surviving in shantytowns that stretch for miles. It’s a somber sight. But within the narrow winding streets of the slums, there is brightness and hope. Under rusting metal roofs and plastic tarp walls, there are hundreds of Seventh‑day Adventists gathering for worship on Sabbath. And these congregations are only growing.

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With no infrastructure, and very people. Those who came to meetings few buildings at all, Adventists are still in the shack gave money for rent. sharing their message of hope with Sometimes, they gave a little extra for others. Just one example is Daniel the dream of one day having a real Diando. Daniel and his family grow church. After several years, they were sweet potatoes, peanuts, and beans for finally able to use the $5,000 they had their own table, and they also sell at the saved to purchase a property. But what market downtown. But several months next? of the year are too dry to farm. So Daniel and his friends dedicate that time to evangelism. Daniel found lots of people who were eager to learn more about God. They soon had a group that met under a big tree. After a few months they began renting a small piece of land and built a structure with four thin poles and a rattling tin roof. Daniel Diando is a farmer and volunteer missionary Still, they continued in Angola who has reached dozens of hearts for to give Bible studies Christ. As his little group grew, so did their need with more and more for a church building.

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Photos by Kyle Fiess

Luanda is the capital of Angola, and it is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Yet four million residents spend their lives in a bleak wasteland of city slums. Maranatha is helping address the need for churches and schools in and around Luanda.

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A representative from Maranatha arrived in September of 2013. In just one day, he and his crew built the church Daniel and his friends had been praying for. Now that they have a building, they are officially the Bem Vindo Church. They are on fire, encouraged by God’s direct answer to their prayers. They began building brick walls immediately. They treasure this place of worship and treat it with honor. Thanks to donors like you, Maranatha has built 75 churches in Angola in the last few months. For now all those churches have been located in or around the capital city of Luanda. There are still many Luanda congregations in need, but groups in the rural areas are also requesting help. In total, the country has requested 1,000 churches, and 6,000 classrooms. Though it sounds like a lot, the Adventist Church in Angola desperately needs infrastructure to rebuild what has been destroyed through years of conflict.

A NEED FOR SCHOOLS The Adventist Church has also asked Maranatha to help rebuild its education system in Angola. Many schools are needed throughout the country. Our first step is to build a new school in one of the neighborhoods of Luanda. This school will offer preschool, primary school and high school education to the community. The campus will include a 12-classroom Education and Evangelism Center and approximately 30 One-Day School classrooms.

THE URGENCY FOR YOUR SUPPORT For a long time, Maranatha put projects in Angola on hold because no one knew how we could afford to build in one of the more expensive countries in the world.

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Photo by Eder Lucca

MARANATHA RESPONDS

Members of the Bem Vindo Adventist Church in Angola rejoice with the new building Maranatha donors provided! They immediately began building the walls. But they still had time to share Jesus with their neighbors. This new church will soon be full!

After waiting more than a year to hear the results of a grant application, we realized that God was waiting for us to get started, exercising faith that He would make the projects possible. So we got started, and almost immediately learned that our fears were unfounded. Instead of being the most expensive place to build churches, Angola was a reasonable place to build thanks to government subsidies on construction materials. We realized that God has opened a window of opportunity in Angola, and it is our responsibility to make the most of it. After sharing this information with Maranatha supporters, several people stepped forward to make it possible to set a goal for 400 churches in 2014. Funds have been donated to cover 400 church kits and roofing. To reach this goal, we need to raise funds for the shipping of the church kits and the cost of constructing the

churches. If you’d like to help provide churches for congregations like Bem Vindo, we invite you to join the effort. •

YOU CAN HELP ANGOLA TODAY Your donations are needed to fund churches and schools in Angola. Please donate today. Donate online at www.maranatha.org, send a donation in the enclosed envelope, or call us at (916) 774-7700.

Thank you!

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Photo by Ismael Morales

In the early to mid 1900’s, Adventist missionaries helped establish mission stations that served the physical, spiritual, and social needs of the people in Angola. Many included clinics and schools as well as churches. The Adventist Church grew and became well recognized in Angola. During the civil war, every single Adventist mission station and many churches were destroyed, leaving only rubble. Though the ruins are still only scars on the land, the reputation and spirit of the Adventist Church is still strong.

Photo by Kyle Fiess

ACTIVELY SHARING CHRIST

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A DEEPER ADDICTION One man’s journey from drugs to service in the Lord By Carrie Purkeypile

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f you’ve met

Luther Findley lately, it seems that every word and action is filled with humility and seems to rotate around God as the center of it all. “It’s hard to be lost while you’re serving others,” says Luther, a soft-spoken man whose life has been dedicated to service nearly 24 hours a day for the past several years. But life didn’t always follow this pattern. Luther has undergone a complete turnaround, from addict to missionary.

ROUGH START Luther had a rough start in life – to say the least. His father fought in World War II and came back a different person, often beating his children. When Luther was 12 years old, his father committed suicide, leaving his widow with six children trying to find their way. Luther quickly found his way into a lot of trouble. He attended Sacramento Union Academy (now Sacramento Adventist Academy) but was asked to leave. He then tried public school before he dropped out and got his GED. He was smoking pot at 13, and by 16 he was the best customer at the neighborhood liquor store. Luther soon fell deeper into addiction. As a young adult he was doing drugs all the time; he was unable to function or hold a job. At home, Luther’s mother was praying. “Out of all her kids, my mother

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really didn’t hold out much hope for me,” says Luther. But change was coming – in a way no one could have imagined. In 1988, Luther met a beautiful exotic dancer, and they started dating. Her name was Claire. “I really liked her,” he remembers. “We were both addicted to drugs and alcohol – so we got along pretty well!” But after a weekend of partying in the mountains, the two sobered up on the trip home and started to talk religion. She practiced Baha’i and was talking about reincarnation and other beliefs, but Luther countered with the beliefs of his childhood. “I was giving her a Bible study right there!” he remembers. “We both wanted to get out of drugs and alcohol, but it is so hard once you are involved,” says Luther. “You don’t set out to become a drug addict. It just sort of happens.” He suggested that the

two could go to Carmichael Adventist Church, where he had attended as a child. They went that very week, and Luther says his mother almost fell out of the pew. At Carmichael, Luther and Claire felt so loved that they kept coming back, week after week. They started Bible studies with the pastor and soon decided to marry and get baptized.

A NEW CHAPTER The couple’s drug-free life was very different from their past. Claire studied to become a nurse assistant, and Luther started a construction company with his brother. In time they were completing million dollar jobs all over California. Luther and his brother were gaining a reputation as quality roofers and effective contractors. In 1994, a friend invited them to a Maranatha project in Monterey, California, that coincided with Maranatha’s annual convention.

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Photos by Boris Saavedra

Luther’s testimony of spiritual struggles, drug addiction, abuse, loss, and ultimately, a complete dependence on God has touched the hearts of countless people.

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Luther remembers being inspired and excited about using his talent for God. From then on he started attending volunteer projects most every year, often taking his son along. He loved supporting missions however he could. But work with his company became more and more stressful, threatening the most important relationships in his life: with God and with his wife. In 2005 Claire began to feel sick

and weak. At first she attributed it to side effects of a medication she was taking. But it kept getting worse. Her arms got so weak that she could not open pill bottles, and when she almost dropped a patient at her job as a nurse, she had to quit her job. It was two years before doctors found a diagnosis for Claire’s ailment. She had Lou Gehrig’s Disese [ALS], an incurable neurodegenerative disease

that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Claire’s muscles were progressively losing the ability to receive stimulus from the brain and atrophying. ALS progresses differently in different bodies. Claire lost the ability to move her arms at first, but she could still walk and talk. The couple counted this as a blessing. But over time, the muscle death continued to spread. Luther had to quit working in 2007 to care for his wife, supporting her to walk, eat, and, eventually, turn over. By 2011 Claire was incredibly frail and almost completely immobile; she relied on a feeding tube and respirator to stay alive. As if dealing with Claire’s impending death was not enough, the bank was foreclosing on their home. Both had quit their jobs because of Claire’s disease, but the bills kept coming. Then, in late 2011, a local reporter heard about their story and interviewed the couple. The Sacramento Bee newspaper published a moving photo essay on their plight – pictures that showed Luther caring for his now paperthin, motionless wife. Within days the bank called to say they would postpone the eviction. The couple would be allowed to stay until after Claire’s death. “At the end, she could only move her thumb and her toes a little bit,” says Luther. “But she could talk right up until the end. That was a blessing. A little bit before she died, she looked up in my eyes and said, ‘I’ll see you in heaven.’” Claire had just turned 60 years old.

Photo provided by Luther Findley

LIFE AFTER CLAIRE

Luther and Claire thanked God, even through their greatest trial – her debilitating illness and death.

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After five years of caring for his wife nearly 24 hours a day, Luther was alone. Jumping back into the life he used to have just didn’t feel right. Within a few months of Claire’s death, the house was repossessed and Luther moved in with his mother. The bills were pouring in, and Luther took a few small jobs to make some money, but his heart was elsewhere. “I just wanted to volunteer,” says Luther. On his many projects with Maranatha he had always felt at peace. “The spiritual high you get doing mission trips, being stretched to the limit beyond your own

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Photo by Dick Duerksen

capacities and relying upon God … We see miracles every day,” says Luther. “When you go to the same job, the same place every day, you get in a rut.” He had even mentioned the plan to Claire before she passed. The couple had spent hours in conversation. “She said she wanted to pick me out a new wife. I said, ‘I don’t think that will be necessary.’ I thought with the kids grown up and not having a wife, it would be a lot easier to do mission projects. I told her, ‘After you are gone I would like to work with Maranatha.’ She liked that idea.” After years of learning to lean completely on God, he was ready to trust Him to care for his needs. And as soon as he made up his mind to dedicate his talents to the Lord, he got a call. A reporter in Bakersfield, a city in central California, called to ask how he felt about the school raising money for him. “What school?” asked Luther. A newspaper in Bakersfield had reprinted his story from the Sacramento Bee, inspiring a local Catholic school to collect funds for him. The students had raised nearly $22,000. All Luther could say to the reporter was, “Praise God!” The donations helped pay bills and funded Luther’s airfare to Nicaragua, where he participated in three Maranatha projects in 2012. Then he kept himself busy by volunteering on a local project. The Samoan Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento was in the process of converting an old medical office into a church building. Luther got involved when the project supervisor, Bob Holmes, needed someone to shepherd the project during his vacation. Luther stayed on long after Bob’s vacation – spending almost every day at the site, not only constructing a building but also building people. “I just think of Maranatha’s mission statement – building people through the construction of urgently needed buildings – what a miracle it is! I have been in construction a long time and doing multiple jobs, trying to keep everything going, and keeping the jobs staffed is a lot of work. That Maranatha

Luther loves the freedom of completely trusting in God to “handle everything.” He loves serving others in India, Africa, Latin America, and in his own community.

construction has all these jobs going concurrently all over the world is a miracle!” In the past year, Luther has also made time for several other projects with Maranatha, in California, Malawi, Dominican Republic, India, Nicaragua, and Zambia. He has been a nearly full-time volunteer with Maranatha for the last two years, lending his quiet leadership and expertise to project after project. Recently he has begun working full-time in groundskeeping and maintenance at Sacramento Adventist Academy, where he attended school decades ago. In addition to managing the many facilities on campus, he engages with student workers daily. “It’s a mission field right here at home,” he says. Luther’s talents in construction are accompanied by something much more rare – a true and tested faith in God. Luther draws inspiration for a simple, God-led life by watching those around him. “The people over in Africa, they are just content with what they have. Even though they just live in mudbrick houses with a thatch roof. There is no bathroom or kitchen, but they are content and happy. Even more so

than we are. I see that too in India or the Dominican Republic. That always amazes me.” Luther has told his story, over and over, to individuals working alongside him or at evening worship with Maranatha teams. “Some people say that it is amazing how my testimony touches different people’s lives in different ways.” From experience in an abusive home to drug addiction, job stress, and loss of a spouse, his life resonates with the struggles of many. His story has become another way his life can serve others. “I’ve decided I’m just going to devote my talents to the service of God,” says Luther. “As long as God keeps opening doors, that’s what I want to do. It is just a blessing that I am able to do this. Just letting God handle it is really enjoyable.” While Luther was working one day at the Samoan church project, a woman entered the building. She hadn’t been there for months. She stopped short, surprised by the huge changes, and began to weep. “It was better than a paycheck,” says Luther. And he really means it. •

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Tucson, Arizona

– Leroy Kelm, a volunteer who helped to build the Esperanza church

Photo by Leonel Macias

Volunteers like you have great things to say about the Maranatha experience. “The Lord has given me talents, and now I have the opportunity to use those talents to help somebody else. I’m hooked!”


PLANNED GIVING

NEWS

Did You Know …

Ecuador Has Most Volunteers in 2013 In 2013, Maranatha mobilized more than 2,400 volunteers, and many of them went to Ecuador. More than 500 volunteers served in this South American country last year mostly due to a major school campus in Ambato, consisting of a large Education and Evangelism Center (EEC) and additional One‑Day School classrooms. Panama also saw a lot of Maranatha volunteers with 491 people building churches and an EEC. In the United States, more than 400 people helped on various renovation projects at churches, schools, and campgrounds. In total—including the structures built by field crews—Maranatha built well over 1,000 structures in 2013.

Ambato, Ecuador

Volunteers Build Church in Tucson More than 60 volunteers spent two weeks in February building a new church for the Esperanza congregation in Tucson, Arizona. The construction project is the culmination of years of prayer and fundraising. Thirty years ago, a small group of Adventists started a church plant and began meeting in a home for worship. As they grew, they moved to a school then eventually

Tucson, Arizona purchased a church. When they also outgrew this building, they organized fundraisers and individuals sacrificed to give to the church fund.

India School Dedicated In March, Maranatha celebrated a building dedication on the campus of the Manipur Adventist Boarding School in India. Hundreds of people, including local dignitaries, attended the celebration, packing the new school auditorium. The Manipur school was established in the 1960s, and it serves 800 students in primary and secondary school. But after more than four decades, the campus is severely deteriorated. There are holes in the classroom walls, the dormitory structures are crumbling, and staff housing is flimsy and unsafe. The new Maranatha building is the start of a larger renovation and reconstruction project, requested by church leaders in India.

Manipur School, India

For the past several years, retirees with IRA’s have been able to make direct contributions from their IRA to a charity with favorable tax consequences. But the provision expired at the end of 2013. However, the legislators are again considering extending this favorable treatment of IRA contributions. If Congress approves the provision, what would be the potential?

Consider these numbers: •

Average amount of taxes paid on retirement income in the U.S.: From 0% to 13.3%, depending on the state.

Most tax-advantaged way to give an IRA to charity: Direct contribution

Taxes paid to the IRS on the contributed funds: $0

Maximum IRA gift: $100,000

Number of One-Day Churches a $50,000 IRA gift will build: 11

Number of seats in those churches: 1,375

Number of classrooms a $100,000 IRA gift will build in Zimbabwe: 6

Number of children studying in one classroom: 40

Number of children learning on one campus: 400

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Create a Project!

PROJECTS CALENDAR 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.

High-school aged teenagers

Zimbabwe Painting Open Team

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

HARARE, ZIMBABWE Leader: To be determined October/November 2014

Hardeeville Spanish Adventist Church Open Team

KATIMA MULILO, NAMIBIA Leader: Karen Godfrey December 2014

HARDEEVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA, USA Leaders: Betty Beattie, Roger Hatch, & Ed Burgan July 9 - 23, 2014

Collegiate Project 2014 College students, ages 18-25

JUAN ESTEBAN, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leaders: Ethan Weber & Luther Findley July 17 - 28, 2014

Zimbabwe Open Team SIKOMBINGO, ZIMBABWE Leaders: Terry Schwartz & Mark Herscher July 23 - August 6, 2014

Young Adult Project 2014 Ages 18 - 35

BARAHONA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leaders: Michael Paradise & Dan Klein, Sr. August 1 - 11, 2014

Perry Adventist Church Open Team PERRY, FLORIDA, USA Leaders: Roger Hatch & Dave Schwinn October 2014

Panama Painting Open Team DAVID, PANAMA Leaders: Ted & Sadie Torrez October 15 - 27, 2014

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.

Namibia Open Team

Kerala India Open Team NEDUMKANDAM, INDIA Leader: Bruce Fjarli December 4 - 16, 2014

Christmas Family Project 2014 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leader: To be determined December 18 - 29, 2014

Christmas Open Team DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leader: Jose Bourget December 19 - 29, 2014

Chwang India Open Team CHWANG, INDIA Leaders: Dick & Brenda Duerksen December 23, 2014 - January 4, 2015

Dominican Republic Open Team

Thanks for Serving! The following group project teams are serving during the months of May - June, 2014: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Florida Hospital Waterman Team Florida Madison Mission Adventist Church Team Wisconsin

PANAMA Dallas Oregon Mission Team Oregon Orchard Park Adventist Church Team Tennessee

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leader: George Carpenter February 2015

Panama Open Team PANAMA Leaders: Merrill & Diane Zachary February 2015

India Open Team

Photo by Lisa Emmanuel

Ultimate Workout 24

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.

KARNATAKA, INDIA Leader: To be determined March 2015

TENTATIVELY SCHEDULED PROJECTS

Black Hills Open Team HERMOSA, SOUTH DAKOTA, USA Leader: To be determined Late Summer 2014

Gaylord Adventist Church Open Team

Airway Heights Adventist Church Open Team

GAYLORD, MICHIGAN, USA Leader: Ernest Wolf Late Summer 2014

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON, USA Leader: Leroy Kelm Early Fall 2014

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THE MISSION SCENE

Are you

friends with Maranatha Volunteers International on As of May 2014 Maranatha’s office Facebook page had 2,927 Likes.

hat t s i W hy or t an t ? imp

?

Anyone who presses the “like” button gets ongoing updates including photos, news and announcements about mission news as it happens!

1 Our most viewed slideshow in 2014 was a collection of photos from a recent building project in Bere, Chad. Second runner up was the completion of the Ambato School in Ecuador.

2 Most

Maranatha

fans live in Peru

124

Brazil

117

Canada

89

Maranatha fans are: Men

40%

Follow us on Twitter @MVI

Women

60% Of all the cities represented, residents of Charlotte, North Carolina, were the most engaged!

United States 1,612

Ecuador

79

(Want to see your city represented? Check out Maranatha’s Facebook posts and like, comment, or share!)

Did you know? Everytime you interact with Maranatha’s content (like a post, comment on a picture, etc) everyone you are connected to on Facebook gets a chance to see it too. Your online participation multiplies! It’s an easy way to spread the word about the good things happening with Maranatha around the world. w w w. m a r a n a t h a .o r g

Facebook fans can “review” Maranatha. Almost every single user rates Maranatha with 5 stars. Have you rated Maranatha yet?

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Non-Profit U.S. Postage

PAID

Roseville, CA Permit No. 111

990 Reserve Drive, Suite 100 Roseville, CA 95678

About Maranatha

MAR ANATHA VOLUNTEERS INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION

with

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.

SEPTEMBER 19-20, 2014

where:

E

ADVENTURE CHRISTIAN CHURCH 6401 STANFORD RANCH ROAD ROSEVILLE, CA 95678

·

FRIDAY, 7 P.M. SABBATH 9:30 A.M. & 1:30 P.M. (FREE LUNCH)

E

FREE ADMISSION

featuring musical guest

Wintley Phipps 916.774.7700

MARANATHA.ORG/CONVENTION FRIDAY AFTERNOON SEMINARS BEGIN AT 3 P.M. CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING REGISTRATION RECOMMENDED

ON THE COVER: Children in Angola. Photo by Kyle Fiess.

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

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

The Volunteer May June 2014  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.