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A Publication of Maranatha Volunteers International

Sol贸n, Panama






David, Panama Long after volunteers leave the project, local church members still treasure the memories! The Ultimate Workout Alumni Reunion project built two Sabbath School classrooms for the Varital Este Adventist Church a few months ago. When a Maranatha crew arrived recently, church members couldn’t wait to share the photos, videos and good memories.

Photo by Carrie Purkeypile


This is How We Grow


s i looked around the large table, it

occurred to me that this leadership group was primarily made up of young men. Some of them had even worked for Maranatha when they were teenagers, helping to prepare church and school locations for volunteers. Now they are the leaders of the brand new Panama Union, an administrative area created to manage a region within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This Panama meeting was a typical one for us at Maranatha. We sat down with the church leaders, listened to how God is working in their area of the world, discussed the need for churches and schools, and finally put a partnership plan together to accomplish the goals. I asked the group of leaders, based on their experience, what role the churches and schools play in church growth and membership retention. They seemed a bit surprised at my question. One of the young leaders, who seemed to be speaking for the group, stated simply, “This is how we grow.” Maranatha has worked in Panama off and on for many years. Hundreds of volunteers have experienced a positive, life-changing mission event, and the generous gifts of many donors have made the projects possible. Many seeds have been planted in terms of churches, schools and volunteer involvement. So, we ask the question, “Is it worth all the effort?” In Panama, the seeds seem to have landed in good soil and have helped to grow a positive and vibrant church that is eager to introduce people to Jesus. The growth has been so strong that this new Union was necessary. With the involvement of such positive young church leaders—leaders who understand the evangelistic role of churches and schools—I am sure that the projects being planned will also be a great success. They will be worth any effort necessary to make them happen. As the final plans come together for these Panama projects, more information will be available about how you can participate. I encourage you to become involved in this Panama endeavor for God by either supporting financially or volunteering to go to Panama on a Maranatha mission trip. Lives will be impacted spiritually and many people are sure to be in the Kingdom of God as a result of the new churches and schools. Yes, as the young pastor said, “This is how we grow.” What a blessing it is to partner on a project like this that will certainly have eternal results!

Don Noble, president

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Taking a Church to the people of

SolÓn By Carrie Purkeypile

Photo provided by Maranatha volunteer


or as long as anyone can remember, life for the Naso

people in Panama has centered around the river. They even refer to her as “grandmother.” The river is a source of food, freedom, and for many, faith, as the Naso people traditionally hold a sacred relationship with the water and land that sustains them. The Naso people live in 11 villages that comprise the Teribe territory, ruled to this day by a king. Though many of their traditions live on, three decades ago the Seventh‑day Adventist message was planted in this very fertile soil. “The Adventist message is widely accepted here in the community of Solón and in all of Teribe,” says Rigoberto Sánchez, head elder of the Adventist church in Solón, one of the communities in Teribe. Rigoberto’s father, Pastor Sánchez, is the one who brought the message here to Solón, after discovering Bible truths in a neighboring village. He shared his new conviction with his family, and later with friends and neighbors, and hosted the church on his home property. Years later most of this fairly isolated village is part of a strong Adventist tradition. “The members of my church are good people,” says Rigoberto. “They have sympathy for others.” FOLLOWING CHRIST’S METHOD

Rigoberto’s son, who we will call Junior, is a 16-yearold third generation Adventist. He is living out his faith every day. “We follow Christ’s method,” he says. “Christ helped people in need, and later He told them, ‘Follow me.’” “Our church worries about the people in need,” Junior says. Though they all live simply, the congregation took

Photo provided by Maranatha volunteer

up a year-end offering in December to help the poorest of the poor among them. They used the offering to purchase food for one person, not a church member, living in very poor conditions. They also committed to helping him build a new home for himself. Rigoberto and other church members have been so effective, loving actively as Christ did, that he says there is not a single person in the entire area who refuses their visits. “They are actually waiting for us when we arrive!” he says with a kind smile. The congregation has small groups in other communities, but they all come together on Sabbath, hiking up and down the hills in thick rubber boots to combat the deep mud and the snakes. They have been meeting in a small wooden church for years and have taken excellent care of God’s house. But it is a hot and humid climate, and wood does not last forever. They’ve been waiting for Maranatha to arrive for more than two years. VOLUNTEER ADVENTURE

The day finally came for Maranatha to bring the new church structure to Solón. It proved to be an unforgettable event, not only for the Sanchez family, but for the small team of volunteers as well. Glenn Abbott was one of the adventurous volunteers

who made the trek to Solón with the new church frame. “The whole process of bringing it up and carrying it back through the mud was truly an experience you will never forget,” he says. “Like something you read in the missionary books. ‘They came down a river and then they built a church for the people.’ And that is pretty much what we experienced!” The volunteers boarded long, handcarved boats and headed upriver. Upon arriving they were faced with a very tall, very steep bank to climb while hauling up all the supplies, including metal sheeting and trusses. Thankfully many of the local people

“We follow Christ’s method,” says Junior. “Christ helped people in need and later He told them, ‘follow me.’” rushed to help. Erick Torres was the lead when it came to maneuvering the materials up the river on the slender boats. “It was very difficult because if one didn’t take care for even a second, the boat could tip and lose all the materials,” says Erick Erick is a taxi boat driver on this stretch of the river. He was also raised an Adventist and left the church as a young adult to work full time on the river, seven days a week. Yet he still pays tithe faithfully. After ferrying volunteers and watching the new church go up, he thinks it may be almost time to return to the church of his childhood.



It is unusual for foreigners to visit Solón. So when a large group arrived, local faces gathered to watch. Volunteer Glen Abbott noticed a young man standing close by; he looked particularly intrigued. It was Junior. “He kept watching me, and I turned around. I looked at him and gave him my drill and asked him to help me. … He grabbed the drill very eagerly,” says Glen. “I was touched by his eagerness and willingness to help.”

come, they plant the seeds, and now they leave. But because they planted that seed, it stays planted, and it will germinate. Upon germinating, later it will make more seeds as fruit. We are very grateful that Maranatha has done this, because it means more growth in the church.” •

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

Glen had a special Bible in his bag to leave with someone on the mission project. While working with Junior, he knew that he had found the right person. When the team took a break, Glen pulled out the Bible and gave it to Junior, saying, “You should be a pastor!” Glen mistook the expression on Junior’s face for confusion, but more likely it was shock. Junior’s father, Rigoberto, has been encouraging him to be a pastor for his whole life. So hearing it from this complete stranger had special significance. “My dad has always, since I was little, dreamed that I would be a church pastor,” says Junior. “As I grew older I kind of left that idea behind. I didn’t agree with what he said about me being a church pastor. But when the brothers arrived, and they told me that I could be a pastor, it has really been on my mind again -- that I could be a pastor!” LASTING IMPACT

The church construction made a big splash up and down the river communities of Teribe. “Some have told me that this is the first, most beautiful church in all of Teribe!” reports Rigoberto. The family is sure that many more people will begin to attend the church now. “Maranatha does the same work that Christ did,” says Junior. “Because they

You can visit Solón and meet Junior by watching the Maranatha Mission Story at www.maranatha.org/solon See the envelope in this magazine to learn how you can help sponsor the Solón church!

BUILDING A CHURCH IN SOLÓN: 1 Volunteers labored alongside local church members to carry the metal structure, sheeting, and tools up the steep riverbank to Solón. 2 A few adventurous volunteers from the Panama Open Team agreed to travel to Solón in long dugout canoes. 3 The new church frame will increase capacity and improve airflow. The rust-resistant roof is important in humid, rainy areas like this. 4 Volunteers built the church frame, right in front of the small wooden building they have been using. Immediately, word started to spread about the big new church. 5 Rigoberto Sanchez and his namesake, Junior, are passionate followers of Jesus. Their dedication to serving others has made their church a beloved component of the community.

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Photo provided by Maranatha volunteer

Photo provided by Maranatha volunteer 1


Photo by Boris Saavedra 3 4

Photo provided by Maranatha volunteer


Photo by Boris Saavedra

Hands-on Leadership

Adventist Leadership Builds Church in Dominican Republic By Julie Z. Lee

Photos by Tom Lloyd

OUT OF THE OFFICE: Members of the Adventist Church president’s council of executive officers took a break from meetings to put their hearts and hands to work building a church in La Romana, Dominican Republic.


14, 2015, top leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church spent a day building churches with Maranatha in the Dominican Republic. The activity was part of an annual meeting for PREXAD, the Adventist Church president’s council of executive officers. PREXAD is comprised of regional presidents and other administrators representing the Adventist Church. The PREXAD project took place in the city of La Romana. Volunteers n january


began construction on a new church building for the Villa Caoba congregation. They also completed the framework for a Sabbath School classroom. Other tasks included landscaping and painting existing structures on the property. The experience not only offered PREXAD a break from administrative meetings, but also provided an opportunity for service and teamwork. “We have a good opportunity to study the Bible together, to pray, to then look

at our administrative questions. But the really exciting thing is that we’re taking one full day out of that schedule in order to do a One-Day Church and work together. And there are all kinds of benefits from that,” said Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the Adventist world church. “You can develop a real camaraderie. You’re working together as a team, you’re helping the local community, and you help people see that as leaders we’re not just up on some lofty plateau somewhere, but we’re

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helping on the frontlines, and it’s really an exciting opportunity.” Said Barry Oliver, president of the Adventist Church in the South Pacific region, “It’s one thing to plan, it’s one thing to talk about it, it’s another thing to actually put your shovel in the sand and do something practical. I think all of us need that kind of practical involvement. Make our faith walk the walk, talk the talk.”

“I think all of us need [this] kind of practical involvement. Make our faith walk the walk, talk the talk.”

During the day, the group took a break from construction to dedicate a water well on the church property. The new well, provided by Maranatha, will supply the local community with fresh water. Currently, residents are purchasing water from a water truck that passes through the neighborhood. Villa Caoba is a great, great granddaughter church of Piedra Linda. In 1991, Maranatha constructed a church for the Piedra Linda congregation. The new building triggered rapid growth, increasing membership enough to create numerous daughter groups over the years. •

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

Watch what the PREXAD participants have to say about the project at www.maranatha.org/prexadvideo

Ella Simmons, General Vice President, Adventist world church

Ted N.C. Wilson, President, Adventist world church

Lowell Cooper, General Vice President, Adventist world church

John Rathinaraj, President of Southern Asia Division

Mark Finley, Assistant to the President, Adventist world church

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LEADERS AT WORK: Volunteers building and painting on this project included top leaders from many divisions of the world church, and General Conference Officials.


Bridging the Gulf through Missions

A Volunteer Shares His Experience in India Reporting by Josue Rosado


n maranatha mission stories,

you often hear that “Maranatha builds people, while building urgently needed buildings.” Although this sounds like a cliché, it takes on flesh when you experience, first hand, a Maranatha project. In my case, my first Maranatha mission trip took place half way around the globe in Samzuiram, India, on the Chwang Open Team Project (December 23, 2014 - January 4, 2015). It never ceases to amaze me how God’s love can bridge the gulf of culture, tradition, and ethnic differences. For many of the Rongmei Naga people, it was the first time they had encountered someone from western culture. Yet a common

“It never ceases to amaze me how God’s love can bridge the gulf of culture, tradition, and ethnic differences.” - Josue Rosado


Photo provided by Dick Duerksen

EXPANSIVE EDUCATION: Thirty-one volunteers from the United States constructed 12 One-Day School classrooms. They are replacing several deteriorating buildings on campus. These new rooms will serve more than 450 students on campus.

mission, purpose, and motivation— directed by God’s love—bridged the gap between people who embraced us and adopted us as “family.” I am a different person now and will look at life and my spiritual journey differently because of what God led me through the 20 days I was in India. •

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

Watch how education is impacting the future of India and more about Maranatha’s work in northeastern India at www.maranatha.org/india-schools

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FELLOWSHIP OF LOVE: Volunteers Judy Skandunas and Yin Schaff prepare materials for the construction site, along with their new friends. The girls are excited to be helping build their school.

SERVICE OF HEALING: Dr. Sophia Kim was one of many volunteers who served the community through medical outreach.

Photo by Dick Duerksen

Photo by Brenda Duerksen

Photo provided by Josue Rosado

Photo by Brenda Duerksen

CHANGED LIVES: Josue Rosado (left) with his wife Ruth, and Ronnie Patrick, a young man from the community who helped the volunteers. He told the volunteers he hoped to one day become an Adventist.

OFFERING BOUNTY: Produce from Samzuiram church members’ gardens, rice paddies, and chicken coops line the front of the sanctuary as an accompaniment to tithe and 13th Sabbath offering. Volunteers worshipped each Sabbath with a local church, which has more than 400 baptized members.

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Manipur, India

Photo by David Lopez

How to spend Sabbath in India? The Manipur Open Team volunteers teamed up with local church members to pray with people in the community. “We also reminded them that they can pray directly to our great God,� says project coordinator, David Lopez. After prayer they offered each family a small packet of essentials, enough to feed the family for two weeks.

NEWS New School Finished in Brazil

The brand new elementary school building in Castanhal, Brazil, near the city of Belém is finished, with 10 classrooms, and a large auditorium. The Adventist community there is thrilled for the infrastructure to begin their new school.

Maranatha Launches Portuguese TV Show

Maranatha Mission Stories is now bi-lingual. In April, a Portuguese version of the show debuted on Novo Tempo, a television and radio network headquartered in Brazil. Maranatha Histórias de Missão airs three times a week and can be viewed in South America, as well as Europe and parts of Africa. The show will be similar to the English-version, with most segments being translated for a Portuguese audience. Elmer Barbosa, country director for

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Brazil, is the host. Barbosa, who is from Brazil, has been working for Maranatha since 2007, when he assisted with projects in Mozambique. Novo Tempo is part of The Hope Channel, the official television network of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Breaking Ground in Gwanda, Zimbabwe

Sibanda, requested an extension. He listed off several schools that Maranatha had already built in the country and insisted that Maranatha would soon be in Gwanda to help. Patience paid off, and in 2014, Maranatha committed to a OneDay School campus in Gwanda. After years of waiting, the town mayor called the news “a dream come true.” The project will help relieve overcrowding in local primary schools.

FREE PLANNED GIVING SEMINAR In late February 2015, Maranatha Volunteers International joined local government and Seventhday Adventist church officials in breaking ground on a highly anticipated new school in Gwanda, Zimbabwe. “It was by far the most rewarding and enthusiastic response to starting anything we have done here in Africa,” said David Woods, country director for Maranatha, who participated in the event. Progress on the Gwanda school, which will eventually serve primary students, came just in time. Local government offered the property to the Adventists more than 12 years ago in hopes that the church could build and operate a school. But the lack of funding prevented progress, and the land sat empty. Last year, the town council announced that they would have to take back the property, but the president of the Adventist Church in west Zimbabwe, Jefrety

Learn the importance of creating a trust and how proper estate planning can benefit you and your family at our free planned giving seminar, offered during Maranatha’s convention weekend. Presented by Tim Murphrey, JD, CPA, CFP, and owner of Capital Wealth Management.

Building a Legacy Seminar October 2, 2015 Rolling Hills Community Church 3550 SW Borland Rd Tualatin, OR Seminars presented at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The seminar will be held in conjunction with the annual Maranatha convention (see backpage ad). Free registration at www.maranatha.org/convention or call (916) 774-7700


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

Yreka Open Team CALIFORNIA, USA Leadership: Leroy Kelm June 7 - 17, 2015

Dominican Republic Open Team

Sacramento Adventist Academy Open Team CALIFORNIA, USA Leadership: Luther Findley June 21 - July 3, 2015

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.

Ultimate Workout 25 Panama

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leadership: David & Judy Shull June 4 - 14, 2015

PANAMA Leadership: David Lopez July 22 - August 3, 2015

Ultimate Workout 25 Milo

Milo Academy Open Team

OREGON, USA Leadership: David Lopez June 17 - 28, 2015

OREGON, USA Leadership: Leroy Kelm August 2 - 19, 2015

Summer Family Project

Young Adult Project 2015

PANAMA Leadership: Steve Case June 18 - 28, 2015

PANAMA Leadership: To be determined August 5 - 16, 2015

Thanks for Serving! The following Group Project teams are serving during the months of April - June, 2015:

CANADA The Place Adventist Fellowship CALIFORNIA

INDIA Taiwan Adventist International School TAIWAN


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One of the services Maranatha offers is creating mission trips for private groups. We match teams to a project, provide construction materials, and offer logistical support. We call these trips “Group Projects.” Anyone can create a group project through Maranatha as long as they have a team of at least 15 volunteers.


Go on a site visit several months prior to your actual project. Work with our field staff to choose accommodations, determine resources, and plan outreach opportunities.


Contact Maranatha to discuss destination options and begin planning process.

Determine a timeframe and number of volunteers.




Set a budget, recruit volunteers, and fundraise.

Travel with your team to project site, where all building materials will be ready for your team to begin. Our in-country crew will be there to support you throughout the project.



Non-Profit U.S. Postage


Roseville, CA Permit No. 111

990 Reserve Drive, Suite 100 Roseville, CA 95678



HOME October 2-3, 2015 Rolling Hills Community Church 3550 SW Borland Road Tualatin, Oregon Friday, 7 p.m. Sabbath, 10:00 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. Free Admission & Lunch Featuring musical guest Wintley Phipps www.maranatha.org/convention Friday afternoon seminars Children’s Programming available Sabbath Registration Recommended

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. 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 ON THE COVER: Rigoberto SĂĄnchez, Jr. is re-inspired thanks to volunteers who traveled up the river to build his new church. Photo by Boris Saavedra.

Profile for Maranatha Volunteers International

The Volunteer Spring 2015  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.

The Volunteer Spring 2015  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.