The Volunteer Spring 2019

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VOLUNTEER A Publication of Maranatha Volunteers International


How you are fortifying a strong educational tradition in India.

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Julie Z. Lee Editor Heather Bergren Designer Dustin Comm Writer

UNITED STATES HEADQUARTERS: Maranatha Volunteers International 990 Reserve Drive Suite 100 Roseville, CA 95678 Phone: (916) 774 7700 Fax: (916) 774 7701 Website: Email: IN CANADA: Maranatha Volunteers International Association c/o V06494C PO Box 6494, Station Terminal Vancouver, BC V6B 6R3 CANADA All notices of change of address should be sent to the Maranatha Volunteers International United States address.

Maranatha spreads the Gospel throughout the world as it builds people through the construction of urgently needed buildings.

HAVANA, CUBA In 1992, the Seventh-day Adventist Church embarked on a partnership with Maranatha to build and repair churches in Cuba. Working in a closed, communist country would be difficult, and Maranatha needed someone with a deep understanding of the culture and country. They asked Tem Suarez, a Cuban-American and Maranatha board member, to lead the effort. “I told them that if we can build one church in Cuba, it’ll be a miracle,” said Tem. “ I was scared, but I said if God wanted to do it, I would do it.”


Christianity was viewed with much suspicion in Cuba, and Tem worked carefully to earn the respect and friendship of government officials. It was a stressful yet rewarding time as the work began to gain traction. Today, thanks to Tem’s initial efforts, Maranatha has completed more than 200 projects in the country. When Maranatha started, there were approximately 12,000 Adventists in the country. Today, there are more than 35,000 members.

About the Cover: A student proudly stands in front of the new Sue Krueger Elementary Education Center in Khunti, India. Photo by Tom Lloyd.




Looking at the earliest days of Maranatha, it becomes clear that God intended to create an organization He could use to make a difference in the world. It is tempting to focus on individuals and see how a movement began; however, the closer we look, the more obvious it becomes that it was God who brought together unlikely individuals with unusual skills and fascinating personalities. These are people you would not pick out of a crowd but seemingly have one thing in common: they allowed God to use them and in the process they were changed. The nature of the people that started Maranatha Flights International included traits of wisdom, patience, courage, energy and resilience—a vision to see what could be and a lack of fear because it was God’s company. How else do you explain how the pioneers survived the early years of operation? In looking through the first few years of corporate minutes from the Maranatha archives, we see the struggle. The first official financial report stated, “John Freeman then reported that Maranatha had a balance of $19.57; that the organization had current liabilities of $500.87.” The logistics were always something that kept the organization challenged

and on their collective knees. Who could draw architectural plans? Do we charge for food? How do you convince a company to insure thousands of unskilled volunteers to serve in construction in a foreign country? The early records clearly show the fascinating process of choosing a project, launching it to the public, selecting leadership, and waiting to see if anyone comes. There is record of one project to Borneo in the early 1970s, where only one volunteer showed up! Nevertheless, the small number of projects grew. The handful of volunteers invited others and soon became an army. Nothing besides a God-given spirit of service impelled people to give to someone else. When I read through these papers, I could not help but feel the pressure of making ends meet while trusting that God is in control. Reading between the lines, we see the financial and logistical struggle of the pioneers. Yet their persistence and the growth of Maranatha shows that faith was always the mission statement. Faith was the business plan. And for 50 years, God has never let the organization down. Over the course of 50 years, thousands of volunteers have constructed nearly 11,000 buildings

around the world. Many projects have sprouted daughter, granddaughter, and even great granddaughter churches. Schools have graduated students who become leaders in their communities and church. Volunteers return home changed and invested in service locally and abroad. God only knows how many thousands of people have been impacted by this work. The giants of Maranatha are people who have placed millions of blocks, given millions of dollars, prayed through thousands of challenges—incessantly. They include church leaders who took a chance with volunteers who at first appeared frighteningly unskilled. They include church members who gave their land inheritance in faith because Maranatha was coming to help them. They include young people, families, who in faith sign up for a project. Today we face the same struggles. In every meeting since the inception of Maranatha, we intentionally request for God to guide. We are certainly standing on the shoulders of giants and can see further. Kenneth Weiss is the Executive Vice President of Maranatha Volunteers International.

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A snapshot of volunteers and projects in the mission field.

ZAMBIA Volunteers from Brazil lead children’s ministry in Zambia.

SÁO TOMÉ & PRÍNCIPE Members of the Conde Seventh-day Adventist Church on the island of São Tomé celebrate their new Maranatha-built church. 4 | THE VOLUNTEER SPRING 2019

CANADA Karin Burman and Shari Pope prepare meals for 70 Maranatha volunteers in British Columbia, Canada.

BOLIVIA Volunteers from the West Houston Seventh‑day Adventist Church help build a church for the Coñacota congregation in Bolivia.

BRAZIL Volunteers from Ozark Adventist Academy lay block in Brazil at the Parque Paulista Seventh-day Adventist Church.

ZAMBIA Proud members of the Mutaba Seventh‑day Adventist Church have a new place of worship.

INDIA Volunteers help construct the large 12-classroom building at the Khunti Adventist School.

DOMINICA After being destroyed by Hurricane Maria, the Wesley Seventh-day Adventist Church community center on the island of Dominica is nearly complete. T H E V O LU N T E E R SPRING 2 0 1 9 | 5

News + H I G H L I G H T S

An aerial view of the new Beryl Seventh‑day Adventist Church. The original was demolished by a hurricane in 2017.



n March 9, 2019, nearly 18 months after being destroyed by a hurricane, the new Beryl Seventh-day Adventist Church, built by Maranatha, opened on the island of Dominica. More than 300 people packed into the newly finished church building for a special dedication service, which honored the memory of Maranatha founders John and Ida Mae Freeman. “We wanted a memorial set up for Mom and Dad—not just flowers, but to be used to help others,” said Freeman’s daughter April Sigsworth, who attended the dedication with her three sisters. “When [Maranatha] said they had a church that had been pretty well demolished and wanted it rebuilt, we thought that was great.” The Caribbean has special significance for John and Ida Mae, who died in 2017 and 2018, respectively. 6 | THE VOLUNTEER SPRING 2019

Their initial mission trip to the Bahamas in 1969 sparked what would eventually become Maranatha Flights International. In September 2017, Hurricane Maria destroyed 28 of 34 Adventist churches on the island, including the Beryl Church. “We all know what happened here two years ago, so having a church rebuilt is like the nation is rebuilt also,” said Elie Henry, president of the Adventist Church in Inter‑America. “What’s more, for us it means that the church of God is taking a new step to continue the mission we have here on this island. We want to take this opportunity to thank Maranatha Volunteers International for the work they have done.” Besides the Beryl Church, Maranatha has agreed to build on the island three additional structures that were damaged

by the hurricane, including the Wesley Adventist Church community center. This is the second time Maranatha has assisted with reconstruction efforts in Dominica. In 1979, Maranatha helped to rebuild schools and houses after Hurricane David.



t the end of March, 106 volunteers from 11 separate groups joined in Costa Rica for Maranatha’s annual “Multiple Group” mission trip, which focused on work sites near the town of Guayabo. Volunteers helped construct a kindergarten classroom for the Guayabo Adventist School where Maranatha previously built a large school building in 2000. They painted the Agua Claras and Bagaces Seventh-day Adventist Churches, provided children’s programs in the community near each work site, and led an interactive health education program. At the conclusion of the trip, volunteers not only completed much of the new kindergarten classroom but gave an offering to help pay the tuition for several new students to begin attending the school. “It’s great to get to have a part in

creating a space where children will be safe and will be learning about God’s love for them for many years to come,” said Suzanne Dizon, a volunteer from Sacramento, California. “It’s a joy to be

part of something that has such positive impacts, both immediate and eternal.”



n May, after an 18-month effort, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in São Tomé and Príncipe dedicated the eighth and final Maranatha church in the country. The eighth church, called Fundação Popular, provides a permanent place of worship to 80 people who have been meeting in a makeshift shed on the property of a church member. The ceremony was a joyous occasion for the congregation and their friends, who came out to celebrate the dedication and opening of the beautiful new church. The completion of the Fundação Popular church marks the close of Maranatha’s efforts in São Tomé. Since 2018, crews and volunteers have built eight churches on the island. According to local church leadership, 80 percent of the congregations in São Tomé do not have a proper place of worship. Yet

overall church membership continues to grow. In addition to the churches, Maranatha also constructed eight classrooms at the Cosme Mota International School. The new structures

will allow the school to extend its academic program to include more grades. Cosme Mota is the only Adventist school in the country.

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GROWING A LEGACY How Maranatha is fortifying a strong educational tradition in India. By Dustin Comm Photos by Tom Lloyd


n the northeast of India lies one of the very first Seventh-day Adventist schools ever opened in the country. Located in the state of Jharkhand (meaning “bushland”), the Khunti Adventist School has a quiet, rural setting but a booming enrollment. More than 1,300 students attend the school which opened in 1937. The campus started with humble beginnings–the Adventist families in the community constructed a mud hut classroom with a thatched roof and hand-dug a water well. However, the campus has grown from a single building to today’s sprawling 37-acre campus, with classrooms for elementary and high school students, dormitories, a cafeteria, and staff housing. Although it is a Christian school in a majority Hindu region, the Khunti school has come to be regarded with distinction. The people here live in villages and lead simple lives, earning humble wages through a trade, like tailoring or pottery-making. As one of the only English-speaking schools in the area, families are eager for their children to attend Khunti, where they also learn about Jesus and the Bible. Student Arzoo Warsi comes from a Muslim family but has attended the Khunti school where she learns about Christianity. “I learned many things about Christ,” says Warsi. “I learned how to read the Bible. I learned how to pray to God in every situation—not only in need, but in every situation when I am happy or sad. I carry one Bible always with me, and in morning and before going to bed, I read it, and I pray to God. Whenever I’m alone—I feel

“I learned how to read the Bible. I learned how to pray to God in every situation.”

Students at the Khunti Adventist School pose with Maranatha leaders during a special dedication ceremony of a new 12-classroom school building.

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lonely—I open my Bible and pray to God. God has helped me.” Warsi is one of many students at Khunti who are not Christian. Like Warsi, they are also learning about the love of Jesus by going to a Christian school. Because of the quality of education students receive at Khunti, non‑Christian families are willing to send their kids to an Adventist school. “Christians have a special place in the society,” says V.P. Singh, president of the Adventist Church in northern India. “Although some people do not like to become Christians for various reasons, they know Christians are good people, and the education that they get in Christian schools is good education. In fact, those who oppose Christianity or conversion, they themselves want to [be] educated in our schools.” Because of the demand, the Khunti school could increase its enrollment, but it simply doesn’t have the space. Each year the school turns hundreds of families away. Classrooms are crowded, elementary grades are scattered throughout campus, and there is no space large enough for the entire school to assemble. Deteriorating buildings are also a deterrent for prospective and existing families. With the campus being more than 80 years old, many structures have leaky roofs, crumbling walls, and broken windows. “When parents come to the school they actually look for the infrastructure,” says former principal

“On behalf of the school I would like to thank the donors for helping the students in getting their Christian education.”


Ramesh Fendall. “Good classrooms. And that we do not have. Once they see the classroom and the facilities, for elementary especially, they go back. They don’t come. They take applications but never come back with the applications. Many of the parents also give suggestions that we update ourselves, make good infrastructure for the children to have good education.” Suleman Topmo is one of the school’s teachers. He has spent much of his life at the Khunti school; growing up, his parents worked on the farm the school operated. “We don’t have proper classrooms,” says Topmo. “They aren’t well‑equipped and are very old. They are the same classrooms I studied in when I was a student! Students are increasing, but classrooms are getting crowded. We are really facing a problem to get more students.” In 2018, Maranatha agreed to construct a large, 12-classroom school building on the campus of the Khunti school. The new building could house elementary grades, provide a space for assemblies during the week, and host church on Sabbath. In April 2018, Maranatha broke ground on the project, and over the past year 115 volunteers helped construct the new building. “Compared to many of the structures we construct around the world, the scale of this building is different because it’s simply much larger,” says Kyle Fiess, Maranatha’s vice president of projects. “At more than 13,000 square feet, it is a big steel structure with long spans, so it can take more time to complete. Yet, as large as it is, it is simple enough that volunteers can still help build it.” On May 2, 2019, a special dedication was held with more than 1,000 people in attendance. Maranatha president Don Noble was present to

Photo by Christina Lloyd

participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony. “This building is much more than a structure,” says Noble. “Future Seventh‑day Adventist Church leaders come through this school, and it provides a less-fortunate area with opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have.” The building was made possible, in part, by a generous gift from the Krueger family in memory of Sue Krueger. Krueger, a longtime volunteer and supporter of Maranatha, had a passion for education and a special affinity for India, and the building is named in her honor. After the ceremony, students and teachers explored their new classrooms. These large, clean classrooms are a far cry from their old, deteriorating buildings. Students and teachers’ smiles showed their approval. And when enrollment opens in January, there should be even more smiles. “One of the parents at the dedication told me his daughter didn’t want to go to school at Khunti anymore because of the conditions, so they pulled her out,” says Noble. “Then they saw the construction going on, and with this new building, and she’ll be returning to the school next year.” The excitement for the new school building extends beyond the Khunti campus. Families are taking notice and children who have never heard of Jesus may soon be attending the school. One of the first Adventist schools in India that started with a mud hut now has a substantial building to be a beacon for the Gospel for years to come. New principal Patmas Murmu knows this building will make a big difference in sustaining Adventist education into the future. “On behalf of the school I would like to thank the donors for helping the students in getting their Christian education and hope someday these children in return will come out good and serve the community at large in their surroundings,” says Murmu.





NEW SCHOOL: 1 Khunti students assemble in the central

auditorium of the new Elementary Education Center. 2 Student Arzoo Warsi learns in the classroom. 3 Maranatha president, Don Noble cuts the ceremonial ribbon at a dedication ceremony. 4 Teacher Esther Kujur teaches in her new classroom. 5 Students try out their new classroom after the dedication.

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Purpose-Driven TRAVEL

First-time volunteers find purpose and perspective on a mission trip. Story and photos by Julie Z. Lee


ddie and Dwanna Falconer love traveling. In fact, they’ve gone on multiple trips to see exotic sights, and last year’s vacation took them to Europe. It was everything you’d expect from a European vacation, but Eddie and Dwanna returned feeling a bit empty. “We just felt like it was great, but something was missing. We felt that it was because it was all about us,” says Dwanna. “We needed to do something where we combined service and travel, and we thought of Maranatha.” Dwanna began researching trips on Maranatha’s website. She came upon a project in Kenya at the Kajiado Adventist School and Rescue Center. The project involved building a new dormitory for Maasai girls who have escaped female genital mutilation and child marriage. Some of the girls were picked up by school staff, and others ran away from their villages to find a new start at Kajiado. At the time, there were more than 150 girls living on campus—far more than the school’s capacity of 80. So the students had to sleep two to three to a twin bed. Maranatha’s new dormitories would provide more space. The more Dwanna read about the project, the more convinced she became that this was going to

“We needed to do something where we combined service and travel, and we thought of Maranatha.”


be their next trip. “The Kajiado school just really struck me in a really deep and personal place. I just wanted to serve and do whatever was needed for the young ladies that went to the school,” says Dwanna. Eddie, however, needed convincing. Counting travel days, work days, and an optional safari, total time away from home would be nearly three weeks. “There’s always a fear of finance… I’m self‑employed. How much money am I going to lose?” says Eddie. “And then you realize, well, God can take care of us. And that’s where we made a decision. Dwanna began to make plans, and everything just kind of fell in place.” It would be their first mission trip. They carefully read all the material that Maranatha sent for instructions on travel, visas, and packing. They started daydreaming about Kenya, the girls, and the experience of serving on a mission trip. But really, they had no idea what to expect.

Open Hearts

On the first day of the project, 26 volunteers arrived at the Kajiado school to find a line of girls and boys at the gate. They sang as people unloaded the bus, then each child reached for a volunteer’s hand. Together, they walked to the site of their future dormitory. “When I saw the kids sing, and then I saw everyone just kind of lined up, I felt very small because this was way bigger than I am, you know… All the emotions were there,” remembers Eddie. After a formal welcome, the volunteers

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

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.

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to the United States and traveled plenty as an adult, but the deepest fulfillment of his childhood dream took place under that acacia tree. “The reality of that came when I was standing before the people, brothers and sisters, just having the opportunity to tell them about the love of God. It’s one of the greatest, most fulfilling experiences that I’ve ever had in my life,” says Eddie. That night, the students invited the volunteers to a social in their multi-purpose room. The girls performed Maasai songs and invited the volunteers to join. Hugs, laughter, and conversations were abundant as everyone took time to get to know each other. “The night when we had that get together, I had a chance to really speak with some of the girls, one on one, and they were sharing a bit of their experience. Then one of the most profound things happened to me. Me and my wife were walking past two girls, and I waved to them… within about 15 minutes they were calling us mom and dad,” says Eddie, his eyes welling up with tears. “It really melted my heart. It really did.” For the rest of the week, the girls called the Falconers “mom and dad.”

“When you are here, doing what God has called you to do, it will change your New Home Nine days after starting the project, the dormitory was finished. The final steps life forever.”

involved moving in bunks and dressing the beds with new mattresses, sheets, comforters, and pillows. The dormitory was a flurry of color as volunteers moved through the room with stacks of brightly patterned blankets. When the doors finally opened on March 8, the room filled with a joyful pandemonium as girls claimed their beds and squealed in delight. “Thank you, Maranatha!” a group of girls sang from the top bunk. The new dormitory fits 72 beds. This was the second dormitory finished in March; the first was constructed by another volunteer group. Earlier in the week, Maranatha had also drilled a well, which will allow the campus to have running water for the bathrooms. In the upcoming months, more volunteers will arrive to build a dormitory for the handful of male students enrolled at the school; their presence on campus helps the girls to build healthy relationships with males after a history of trauma. Maranatha is also building bathrooms and showers with plans to build offices and staff housing. The work will make a significant impact on the aging campus, which was established in 2001 and has served an estimated 2,000 girls. “Honestly, our hearts are melting with joy since you have turned over a new leaf in our lives,” said Happiness Nempiris, a student, during the dedication service. “We




thank you for your valuable priceless talks and smiles we’ve shared together. We are so grateful for the sleepless nights and tiresome days you’ve had, just to ensure that we get new dorms, water, modern washrooms, and even new plans you have for our school. We may lack words to express our joy and happiness, but in our hearts we are really praying for you.”

Heart of Service

On the last day of the project, Eddie and Dwanna were feeling emotional. In the past ten days, they’d learned how to lay block, danced with the Maasai, and gained a slew of “adopted” daughters. The experience had been transformative, and there was a good chance that fancy vacations would be replaced by mission trips from here on out. Dwanna says, “Those trips—they’re wonderful, they’re beautiful to see history, and you meet beautiful people. But you kind of come home, and you go, ‘That was great. We spent a lot of money, but it wasn’t spiritually fulfilling.’ Because even when [you say] ‘I’m going to talk to as many people about Jesus,’ it’s not the same. It’s not the same. Serving with your whole heart—it’s been so rewarding. I mean, I’ve been full from day one.” But it’s more than future vacation plans that have changed. Life has changed. “Everything I came in knowing, a lot of it I’ve had to get rid of because in no way was I fulfilling what God has called all of us to be. And this is why it is life-changing for me,” says Eddie. “I think God desires us to be more loving. More kind. To be His hands and feet. To mingle and to just hear other people’s experience, how they come to Christ. To have that experience is far more joyful. The experience and the joy of being a Christian is so different than having a one-track mind of all the cliches of Christianity and Adventism. When you are here, doing what God has called you to do, it will change your life forever.”


TRANSFORMATIONS: 1 Eddie, in the red and black shuka, preaches to a Maasai congregation. 2 First-time volunteers Kristy Richardson and Renee Harry work together on the dormitory. 3 Kajiado students welcome volunteers to their school. 4 Everyone gathers to witness the miracle of water on campus. 5 The dormitories boast new beds, bedding, and tile floors; students celebrate the opening of their new home.

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TEENS RAISE $15,000 FOR WATER Story and photos by Julie Z. Lee

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s with most neighborhoods in the United States, the Del Mar Mesa community, in San Diego, California, has running water. Simply turn a faucet and clean water is readily available. Given this fact, the sight of nearly 20 girls, in an affluent neighborhood, carrying buckets of water up a ravine was out of the ordinary, to say the least. But the walk was for a good cause: clean water. “What we’re trying to do is represent what African women do on a day to day basis… the fact that they have to travel several miles—several hours—to just get water,” says Emma Reeves, an 18-year old senior in high school from Del Mar Mesa. “And it’s not even clean water, so we try to replicate that by taking our own buckets and getting a bunch of ladies in our community—from elementary school to high school—and kind of show what they have to go through every day and to see the importance that clean water would have.” Reeves heard about the plight of African women from her neighbor Elizabeth Rabbitt. Rabbitt has been on two mission trips to Kenya with Maranatha Volunteers International. She’s also attended the annual Maranatha convention, where she learned about the water crisis in sub‑Saharan Africa. The situation motivated her to start raising money for Maranatha’s water program. Last fall, Rabbitt raised more than $18,000 on #GivingTuesday, the international day of giving in November. Rabbitt also began talking to her friends and neighbors about what she had seen in Africa. Among the listeners were Reeves and her best friend Mia Goldman. Both teenagers have known “Miss Elizabeth” since they were toddlers. “Well, the girls in this neighborhood, they’ve been coming to my ranch here since they were, you know, 4 or 5 years old. They were tiny, and they hang out here, and we were painting, and they were talking about going to college. And they knew I’d been to Africa, and they were asking me questions about what I learned and what it was like, and I was sharing with them,” says Rabbitt. The story of young girls spending long hours to collect water struck a chord with the teens. When Rabbitt suggested a fundraiser, Reeves and Goldman jumped on board. The three started organizing the details of the event, calling it “Walk for Water.” Participants would be asked to find sponsors, and on the day of


the event, each girl would walk nearly a mile to a pond in the neighborhood, scoop water into their buckets, and walk home. The goal? $15,000. Reeves and Goldman recruited members of Female Athlete Volunteers (FAV), a teen service club in San Diego. Rabbitt bought bright yellow buckets, much like the yellow jerry cans used by women in Africa, and decorated them with Walk for Water stickers. Using Maranatha’s online fundraising platform, each participant created accounts and webpages for sponsors to donate. The local newspaper, Del Mar Times, interviewed the girls and ran a story on their event. After three months of planning, on May 3, 16 girls, ranging from elementary to high school age, gathered at Rabbitt’s driveway. They wrote name badges, selected Maasai bracelets that Rabbitt had brought from Kenya, and picked up buckets. Then, the participants walked up the street and down a ravine. At a pond, they collected water into their buckets, then hiked up the rocky trail back to Rabbit’s home. “Carrying that water was kind of a challenge, and I wasn’t even carrying that much water. I couldn’t believe how difficult it would be. Girls—little girls—travel hours with that much water everyday, and it would be exhausting,” says Reeves. The team finished their afternoon with a pizza party to celebrate a successful event, which raised $15,485. The amount is enough to fund a simple well for a village—a gift that will impact hundreds of lives. Now Reeves, Goldman, and Rabbitt are thinking of making it an annual event. “It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I

can be giving back to other people because living in this bubble is great, but I haven’t been able to really experience the outer world,” says Goldman. “This is just so eye-opening, and I just really want to give back.” This attitude of generosity is exactly what Rabbitt hopes to inspire in the young women. And this summer, Goldman’s world view is expanding with a trip to Kenya. Goldman, along with her brother and mother, is joining Rabbitt on a Maranatha project to build a school. This will be the family’s first mission trip and venture to Africa Rabbitt hopes the experience will fuel the fire to keep serving and ignite positive change. “We’re in San Diego, in beautiful homes. We wake up every morning and you’re just in paradise. And when you think about how lucky we are— doesn’t that make us responsible for sharing our luck and sharing our wealth with others?” Says Rabbitt. “I mean, imagine a world where nobody shared, if nobody was willing to give back. If we all just kept it to ourselves. I mean, we really depend on people and their generosity and their need to share. To make the world a better place and help people.”


1 Emma, Elizabeth, and Mia get ready for their fundraiser for water. 2 A group of girls walk down a ravine to collect water from a local pond. 3 This team worked together to raise more than $15,000 for a water well in Kenya.

If you’re interested in creating a fundraiser for Maranatha, check out our online fundraising platform. This program is perfect for crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising. Last fall, we encouraged everyone to use it for #GivingTuesday, and our supporters raised more than $100,000! Go to

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Wear the World Maranatha shirts throughout the years Photo by Tom Lloyd


t’s a longstanding tradition that participation in a Maranatha mission trip results in a t-shirt. Over the years, the design has featured specific countries, or Maranatha itself. The shirts are not only a keepsake, they are a way for Maranatha staff to recognize the volunteers during airport pickups. It’s also a great way to wear and share the mission of Maranatha!



A look at how your support is making a real difference for communities around the world.


BEFORE Members of the Lwendge Seventh‑day Adventist Church used to meet in a mud structure with a thatch roof.


AFTER Now the congregation has a strong steel structure that will last for years to come.



s longtime Maranatha supporters, John and Pat Bullock decided to give to Maranatha when John passed away. Using life insurance funds and with the help of Maranatha’s planned giving experts, Pat set up a charitable gift annuity that provides annual income to her and supports the mission of Maranatha. “My gift annuity allows me to not worry about finances, and I’ve always been a supporter, so it was an easy decision,” says Pat. To learn more about how you can take care of your family, provide for gifts to loved ones, and include a charitable gift for Maranatha Volunteers International, contact our office of planned giving at 916-774-7700.




This year, Maranatha is working in 13 countries to provide churches, schools, and water wells to communities in need. Here are a few programs that urgently need your prayers and financial support.



Maranatha is still going strong in Kenya as we continue to drill water wells and build churches and schools in the country. Currently, the biggest need is for churches, and we urgently need more funding. Maranatha is building One-Day Church frames in Kenya, and full sponsorship is $7,500. You can give for a full sponsorship or make a donation of any size for church construction in Kenya. Every dollar makes a difference!


Maranatha crews and volunteers have completed nearly 1,000 projects in Brazil. Now, we are hoping to drill water wells in areas of need. However, the most urgent need is funding for churches. Please help to provide a place of worship for congregations that are meeting in garages, patios, or rented spaces by making a donation to church projects in Brazil. The cost of a One-Day Church frame in Brazil is $7,500


One easy way you can make a tremendous difference for the mission is by giving to Maranatha’s $10 Church. This program asks you to give just $10 a month toward church construction. The combined donations of thousands of people fund at least one church a month—sometimes two! As the cost of construction goes up, this simple program has been critical in providing funds for churches around the world. If you haven’t already joined, please give today!

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Here’s where Maranatha is working this year. BOLIVIA





Anyone can join a Maranatha mission trip! Check out our upcoming opportunities here or go to for the most updated list.






Jul. 29 - Aug. 20, 2019

Lake City Academy Project


Gerry Anderson, Judy Leeper

New school construction/addition

Aug. 5 - 20, 2019

Oshkosh Camporee Project


Betty Beattie-Chrispell, Wayne Moon

Helping with logistics, set up, and tear down of the structures for this large event

Aug. 19 - Sept. 6, 2019

Pacific Union College Project


Edward Jensen, Leroy Kelm

Dorm renovations

Sept. 8 - 20, 2019

Leoni Meadows Camp Project


Susan Woods, David Schwinn

Camp renovations

Sept. 8 - 20, 2019

Rio Lindo Academy Project


Melody Wheeler, Roger Hatch

Dorm renovations, painting staff housing and roofing

Sept. 30 - Oct. 11, 2019

Camp Frenda Project


Jim Mills, Betty Beattie-Chrispell

Camp renovations

Oct. 1 - 15, 2019

Asian American Church


Leroy Kelm

New church construction

Oct. 16 - 27, 2019

Bolivia Project


Brandon Westgate, Peter Thomas

School construction

Oct. 24 - Nov. 3, 2019

Zambia Project


Rebekah Shephard, Mark Jones

School campus painting







Dec. 19 - 31, 2019

Family Project Peru


Kenneth Weiss, Danilo Poljak

School and church painting, brick construction

Dec. 23, 2019 - Jan. 5, 2020

Ultimate Workout Alumni Project 2019


Sam Dinzey, Dan Skau, Daniel Medrano

Church construction - foundation and structure

Jan. 1 - 10, 2020

Camp Kulaqua Project



Camp renovations

Jan. 31 - Feb. 11, 2020

Côte d’Ivoire Project


Karen Godfrey, Peter Thomas

Church construction

Feb. 3 - 21, 2020

Camp Alamisco Project



Lodge remodel

Feb. 6 - 16, 2020

India Project


Vickie and Bernie Wiedmann

School construction

Mar. 4 - 17, 2020

Kenya Project


Loretta Spivey, Lorin Rubbert

School construction

Mar. 19 - 29, 2020

Multiple Group Project 2020


Steve Case, Luther Findley


Jun. 8 - 29, 2020

Mount Pisgah Academy Project


Ed Burgan

Dorm renovation

Jul. 2 - 12, 2020

Family Project Peru


Steve Case


Thank You



The following Group Project Teams served during the months of April, May, June: PANAMA

Glendale Adventist Church Team Arizona

Deer Lake School Team British Columbia, Canada


Riverside Korean Adventist Church Team California

Walla Walla University Team Washington


Gucha Family & Friends Team USA

T H E V O LU N T E E R SPRING 2 0 1 9 | 2 3

Non-Profit U.S. Postage


Roseville, CA Permit No. 111

990 Reserve Drive, Suite 100 Roseville, CA 95678

ANNUAL CONVENTION SEPTEMBER 19-21, 2019 Trinity Life Center | Sacramento, CA

Travel into the mission field and see how God is leading ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference in communities around the world with our television program, Maranatha Mission Stories.


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

Join us in celebrating 50 years of service with a mission weekend in Sacramento, California.


Registration is free! SEPTEMBER 19 Anniversary Dinner

The Maranatha Channel App Download our app at the App Store and Google Play stores. Music by Christian Edition

SEPTEMBER 20 Seminars 50 Years of Mission Program | 916.774.7700


SEPTEMBER 21 Morning program Sabbath lunch Afternoon program View all episodes online at Maranatha’s website. Find segments by using our online “Search” function. Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Download The Maranatha Channel to watch all current and archived episodes and other videos on demand. YouTube Go to to watch. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and automaticallywreceive w w . m aupdates.

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