gathered to pray. Then, the work started. Having never laid block, Eddie and Dwanna took lessons from the construction superintendent and the Maranatha crew. After a few clumsy attempts at spreading mud on the brick and getting it to stick, the Falconers caught on. They put in a full day of work, and by the time they got back to their rooms, their bodies were dusty and tired, and their hearts were full. Later, as Eddie lay in bed, he began to sob. “I realized that night, after I went back to the room, and I was laying there, I said, ‘Well, these children, they were praying, and we are the answer to that.’ It really blew me away,” says Eddie. “You know, it just got me. It got me right here… I [didn’t] want to be anywhere else.” It was only the first day, and the week was about to get more emotional. For the first Sabbath of the mission trip, the group was invited to worship with a Seventh-day Adventist Maasai tribe, and Eddie was asked to give the sermon. He reluctantly agreed. On Sabbath morning, the bus drove over bumpy dirt roads to a rural area with www.maranatha.org
rolling hills. As the bus slowed to a stop, Eddie’s eyes scanned the area in search of a building. “When I got there, I’m still looking for the church. Where’s the church?” remembers Eddie. “And then I saw we were going to worship under a tree!” A large group of Maasai people came out to welcome the volunteers by singing and wrapping them in shukas—a traditional Maasai blanket. Then everyone gathered under the shade of an acacia tree. The members sang, the volunteers performed special music, and Dwanna gave the children’s story. Then Eddie preached his sermon. As he stood there, he was struck with memories of growing up in Jamaica. His family was not wealthy, and his childhood resembled the simplicity of life at the Kajiado school, where kids haul basins of water for laundry, take bucket showers outside, and eat simple meals each day. As a boy, Eddie used to lie in the grass at night, staring at the stars and the occasional airplane that blinked across the sky; he longed to be on a plane that would sweep him to far away lands. He eventually immigrated
After returning from a European vacation last year, Dwanna and Eddie Falconer decided to pursue a different kind of experience for their next trip— something with more meaning and a focus on service. Their research led to Maranatha.
T H E V O LU N T E E R SPRING 2 0 1 9 | 1 3
The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.