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A Publication of Maranatha Volunteers International

Water for Kenya

The dire need and how you can help INSIDE THIS ISSUE:




Embu das Artes, Brazil In June, Maranatha participated in the dedication of a Seventh-day Adventist Church near SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil. The only Adventist church in town, this congregation was formed in 2011 and has worshipped in various temporary spaces. Most recently they worshipped in a rented parking garage! The new church is the result of a collaborative effort between the congregation, the Adventist Church in central Brazil, and Maranatha. Maranatha provided the structure and roof, and a group of Maranatha volunteers from Brazil participated in the construction process. The entire project was completed in 30 days.

Photo by Kyle Fiess




n a recent trip to india, my wife laura

and I went to see a church that Maranatha had completed a few months earlier in a village called Pola. When we arrived, we saw a lovely church, but we also noticed that closely associated with the church was a Seventh-day Adventist primary school that had 138 students. Most of the buildings on campus were in terrible condition. The teachers told us that the families in the surrounding village, mostly of the Hindu faith, wanted to send their children to the school, but there was no more space. All the teachers are Adventists, and they have been praying for classrooms and other facilities that will allow them to educate more children and also share with them about Jesus.

As we walked around the campus, it was easy to see the potential. But how could we help them? Maranatha gets thousands of requests for projects. So many of them have great potential to transform their community, and it is always exciting when we can say “yes!” As we prepared to drive away from the small campus with the new church in the middle, we could clearly see that the teachers wanted us to give them some hope that Maranatha would help. I sincerely wanted to tell them we would be back, but I knew the resources were not currently available; it would take about $250,000 to do a nice project for them. I can tell you that there is nothing more satisfying— nothing we would rather do—than to say, “Yes, we will help with this project.” In this particular case, the best I could do was encourage them to continue praying. I definitely believe in the power of prayer, but I also wanted to give them the response they so desperately wanted. I felt a bit sick when we drove away, but I trust God to provide the “yes” where it is most needed. Students from the local Adventist school in Pola check out the new church.

The main reason we at Maranatha love to say “yes” is that each new school, church, or water well is used by God to reach more people for His kingdom. There is really nothing more satisfying than that!

In this Volunteer magazine you will learn how Maranatha is saying “yes” to the request for water wells in Kenya. In many places we have found that building a church or school is a secondary need when compared to the critical need for life-giving water. Once the need for water is met, schools and churches are very effective in teaching and educating about life and eternity. At Maranatha we can only say “yes” when you partner with us to respond to the many possibilities that God places before us. You can help by saying “yes” to volunteer on a Maranatha project or by making a financial gift. Perhaps you could even help us say “yes” to the children of Pola, India!

Don Noble, president

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Water for

Kenya By Julie Z. Lee

Photo by Leonel Macias

The dire need for wells and how Maranatha is making a difference


hen i arrived, the people

were waiting for me. I was in the village of Gacheeuni, located in central Kenya. It is a small, rural area, only accessible by long drives on bumpy dirt roads. Here, Maranatha Volunteers International was in the process of drilling a water well, directly in front of the local Seventh-day Adventist church. The crew had already been there for hours, and there were murmurs of a dry hole—no water. Maranatha works with local geologists to complete feasibility studies in the area and determine where and how far to drill. But the reports are never guarantees, and sometimes the best intentions can end in heartbreak. The crew had already drilled quite deep, but they decided to keep going in hopes that the day would end in success. Like so many rural communities in Kenya, Gacheeuni does not have a water well. They must travel to a seasonal riverbed to dig for water or head to a dam, where there are troughs for livestock. Neither offer safe water to drink; both are contaminated and have led to illness and even death. While the crew continued to work, the local Adventist pastor led me to the shade of a tree to sit with a group of people. They were there to share their stories of sadness, exhaustion, and desperation from the need for water. One by one, people shared their stories. Grace, a 67-year-old woman, said she walks 2 and a half miles, twice a day, to get water. The chore has taken a toll on her body, and she can only carry half of the 40 pounds she used to haul. Over the years, she and her family have suffered from typhoid, amoebas, and even pneumonia from the exhaustion of carrying water, day after day. Amina is 16 years old. She has to wake at 4 a.m to make the trek for water before school. She travels for miles to the dam, waits her turn for water, then lugs it home before heading to school. Most of the time, she says, she is late. The process repeats in the evenings. Amina gathers water, then makes the two-kilometer journey home, usually in the dark. The walk is dangerous, and by the time she gets home she is too

tired to study. Peter is a teacher at the local primary school, where 600 kids attend. There is no running water on campus, and the children leave class once a day to collect water for washing hands, cleaning classrooms, and cooking. Fortunately, the dam is not far from campus. Unfortunately, the water is dirty. He says there was a cholera outbreak in the area, not too long ago. There were at least half a dozen stories, with more people sitting around to listen and watch. As we talked, the giant rig roared in the background, sending plumes of red dust into the air, as it twisted and turned into the earth. When Maranatha first agreed to work in Kenya, the primary request was for churches and schools. “Our main request was for Maranatha to do churches within the un-entered areas of our conference, where we don’t have the existence of the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” says Timothy Guto, director of Stewardship Ministries for the Adventist Church in central Kenya. “We also did request that in certain places where our presence did not feel felt, if they could go ahead and build schools as a form of evangelism.” In 2015, Maranatha started building One-Day Churches in rural parts of northern Kenya. Many of the structures are in Samburu and Turkana tribal villages, where local missionaries have already established Adventist congregations. But as Maranatha ventured into these areas, it was evident that there was a crisis for water. Everywhere there were women walking with plastic yellow jerry cans or barrels, cutting across the bush in search of water. In dry river beds, women could be seen digging in the dirt and collecting cups of water from seep holes. Ronald Kedas, who is Maranatha’s Kenya director, has spent the last three years traveling extensively through the country. Though he has worked for Maranatha in a number of countries and seen tremendous need, he is still shaken by the desperate situation in Kenya. “At 6 | THE VOLUNTE E R SU M M ER 201 8

Photo by Julie Z. Lee

some level, as human beings, it hurts. You say, ‘Wow.’ How can someone go through this? How can someone live like this? How can you drink this type of water? How can you walk miles and miles and miles in search of water? And also it’s not clean water. It’s just dirty, dirty water.” The circumstances have been especially tough in recent years because Kenya has been suffering through a drought. “In this part of Kenya, the water crisis is so serious because in the last ten years, the rains have been so minimal; there have not been rains at all,” says Guto. Kenya needed wells, and the Church asked Maranatha to get involved. “The Adventist Church in Kenya recognizes that providing water for people should be a priority—and is just as important as building churches and schools. When people see that the Church cares about physical needs, they are more receptive to spiritual conversations,” says Kyle Fiess, vice president of projects for Maranatha. Many of the requests were for places where Maranatha is already building churches. However, these sites are not easily accessible as they are far off the beaten path. “Some of the places where we are working are in the remote parts of the country. Some of them, you drive


more than 300-400 kilometers to get to those villages. There are no roads. There is no electricity… some of these places where these people live, they have been abandoned for many years or centuries,” says Guto. He says there has been a lack of government attention given to these tribes, along with years of broken promises from various non-profit organizations. “They feel that everybody rejects them.” Providing wells in this area would be difficult as it would require everything— from geologists to equipment and crews—to travel a great distance over subpar roads “It would be easier and cheaper to stay in towns,” says Kedas. “But then who would come out here? It costs more to drill out here, and most people would think it’s not worth it. But then who would reach these people?” Maranatha started drilling a couple wells soon after starting in Kenya. Then, in 2016, Maranatha received a donation for the purchase of a well drilling rig. The ownership of a well rig is a major development for Maranatha’s water program. Prior, Maranatha had to hire contractors to drill, which would mean working within their schedule and paying more for the work. Now, Maranatha’s crews can respond faster to requests, better manage the costs of each site, and improve the quality of each well.

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Photo by Julie Z. Lee


Photo by Julie Z. Lee

4 Photo by Julie Z. Lee

After finishing up a water program in Zimbabwe, the water crew moved into Kenya and began drilling in June 2018. It’s a monumental project with lots of challenges. Crews have to dig deep to reach water in Kenya and provide different types of wells to access the water. While in other countries, Maranatha installed simple hand pumps, in some parts of Kenya, crews will have to provide solar pumps and water tanks. The project is more elaborate, more costly, and entirely necessary. “Can we in some way make a small difference? You can’t solve the problem of the entire country,” says Kedas. “But you can make a difference. You can choose to say, ‘Let’s help. Let’s do something.’” In any community, the establishment of a safe water source has its obvious benefits, such as improved health and hygiene. In parts of Africa, where women and girls are responsible for collecting water, the existence of a well in a village allows women to invest their time in family and an income-producing industry. Girls can focus on school, rather than splitting their time with w w w.maranatha.org


1 A group of women walk home after collecting water. They carry anywhere from 20-40 pounds on their heads. 2 A man at the local water station pumps water from a dam. However, the water has been polluted by all the livestock who also share this source. 3 Women drink, wash, and fetch water from a seasonal river. It is muddy and contaminated, but it is their nearest source of water. 4 Maranatha prepares to dedicate a new well and water tower in northern Kenya. In some areas of Kenya, deeper wells have required Maranatha to install solar pumps and water towers. 5 A woman digs in a dry seasonal riverbed in hopes of finding a small pocket of water, which is usually dirty.

Photo by Tom Lloyd


fetching water. Yet in Kenya, the ramifications of a water well may change culture and tradition, specifically for the Samburu tribe. The Samburu people are nomadic pastoralists. The tribes settle wherever there is water and pasture for their large herds of cattle, sheep, goats, or camels. They settle in groups of 5-15 families and build clusters of manyattas, which are huts made of mud walls and thatch roofs. As the tribe travels with the pattern of rainfall, several groups can end up in the same area to create a sizeable village. When resources for

their animals run out, the families move on to a new location. This cycle can last anywhere from several weeks to a year. This lifestyle makes it difficult to establish schools or a church. How can you build permanent structures or organizations when people are constantly moving? The Samburu are also known for their unwavering commitment to tribal tradition; they are resistant to adopting any change that will disrupt their custom, including the idea of a permanent settlement. However, in several Samburu groups that Maranatha has worked with, the people are begging for the one thing that


could change everything: water. A few years ago, an Adventist missionary drilled a well in the Samburu village of Lolparaui. Immediately, the people planted a garden to grow food. Women, who no longer had to spend hours searching for water, started earning an income by making and selling handmade items—like beaded accessories. The children became healthier and cleaner than those in other villages. In time, someone started an Adventist school and built classrooms. A congregation began meeting under a tree. When Maranatha started its effort in Kenya, volunteers constructed a One-Day Church in Lolparuai. Not too long after the church, Maranatha also provided two more classrooms to augment their thriving school. Today, there are more than 50 Adventists in Lolparuai. There are more than 60 students at the school. The teacher is asking for more classrooms, because mothers want their kids to receive an education. “By drilling that well in Lolparuai, a permanent settlement has taken place, because people don’t move in and out,” says Guto. “Life concentrates around the village now. You get the same people consistently living there, and the lives— especially of the mothers—have become manageable… life is transforming in that village.” But there’s more to this story. The Adventists of Lolparuai weren’t content to keep the Adventist message to themselves. They saw the difference the Gospel made in their lives, bringing more peace and unity among the tribe. So they became missionaries. Without traveling to get water every day, they have had more time, so the women started visiting other villages. They shared the message, and now, there are two more Adventist congregations in two more villages.

In central Kenya, the Gospel grew, and it’s continuing to grow. This growth? It all started with water. Water changes everything. In Gacheeuni, the crews were still drilling. I was nervous. Last year, I was in Zimbabwe, following this same crew on their quest for water. Despite a thorough report from a geologist, out of the three sites I visited, two had turned up dry. It’s rare, but it happens. In that little village in Zimbabwe, the people were crushed. I was crushed. As we drove away, I could hardly look at the people, who were walking toward the dry riverbed to dig for water. I kept picturing the faces of those thirsty children, drinking that dirty water. It’s difficult to leave people suffering, knowing that you’ve tried and failed. I’ve worked for Maranatha for more than ten years, and I’ve never felt that kind of disappointment on a trip. When we build a church, we finish it. When we build a school, we fill it with children. It always ends in joy. But well drilling is different. You have the chance to transform the lives of more than 500 people—that’s the average of how many will use the well once you drill it. You also have the chance of building up hope only to have it crumble into dry sand.

BUSINESSWOMEN: Women from Lolparuai make beaded accessories, such as traditional necklaces, to sell. Now that they don’t spend hours collecting water, they can pursue other interests.

Photo by Julie Z. Lee

CHURCH HOME: The Lolparuai Adventist Church, built by Maranatha. This thriving congregation has helped to start two more groups in other Samburu villages.


But the experience taught me an important lesson. In the mission field, for every story of a life redeemed, there are also those that remain unchanged. Those are the stories we hardly hear about. Yet here’s the thing. Success inspires, but failures are what motivate us to try even harder. That day, I was near tears at the reality of not finding water for those people. But then something made me grit my teeth and pray for another chance. So in Gacheeuni, I prayed. Between the stories of loss, hardship, and pleading from people who have gone so long without clean water, I prayed. About an hour later, we hit water. Gacheeuni has a well. •

Photo by Leonel Macias

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The Privilege of Opportunity By Becky St. Clair

“We can give the help that is needed. We can be the hands and feet of Jesus when we support Maranatha.”

Photo provided by the Marsa Family

MISSIONARIES FOR LIFE: Gordon and Lyn Marsa grew up in the mission field, and they share a love for service. They support the mission by volunteering and giving to Maranatha.


ordon and lyn marsa have

had a passion for service flowing through their veins from very early in their lives. Born to missionary parents, they were raised in various countries throughout Africa. Gordon and Lyn first met each other in Cape Town, South Africa. Eventually, they were married and worked together at the Yuka Hospital in Zambia—he as a physician and she as a nurse. In 1969, they settled in the United States, but the couple never forgot about Africa. For them, it was still home. Then, decades later, Lyn and Gordon were presented with an opportunity to revisit the mission field. Maranatha Volunteers International came to their church in Greeneville, Tennessee, to share how people could get involved in missions. “When Maranatha presented at our church in 2010, I was moved by what w w w.maranatha.org

was being accomplished,” recalls Lyn. “When they mentioned a volunteer trip to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, I was all ears.” Lyn told Gordon that she was going—whether or not he came along. They went together, and Lyn says it was life-changing for both of them. “That trip sold us on Maranatha,” Gordon admits. “Volunteering with Maranatha reinforces the knowledge that God’s family transcends any nationality, race, or culture,” Gordon says. “We’ve had the privilege of getting to know many wonderful people who live in very different cultures and circumstances than we do. People we would feel blessed to have as neighbors.” Though they have served in various countries, the Marsas have volunteered most of their time in Africa, since “that is where my heart is,” Lyn says. Even when they aren’t on volunteer trips, the

Marsas continue to support Maranatha financially. “We know the money is well-spent, and we see the good it accomplishes,” says Gordon. “It has also made me less selfish. Giving to these projects is money better-spent than on ourselves for new ‘toys.’ God could send his angels to do everything Maranatha does, but He gives us the privilege of participating for our own benefit.” The Marsas also appreciate that Maranatha runs on faith, making plans and trusting God to provide. “We can give the help that is needed,” Lyn says. “We can be the hands and feet of Jesus when we support Maranatha. • Gordon and Lyn Marsa are dedicated supporters of Maranatha through their service and gifts. They have also worked with Maranatha’s planned giving consultant to make an even bigger impact for missions. If you are interested in a free consultation with our planned giving experts, please contact Don Lloyd, Maranatha Volunteers International Foundation, at (916) 774-7700.


Before and After As a Maranatha supporter, you’re helping to transform the world through construction. Whether it’s an urgently needed church building, a new school structure, or a water well, your support is making a dramatic impact for hundreds of communities each year. Below are some examples of how you’ve helped.

KENYA The kitchen at the Kiirua Seventh-day Adventist Secondary School was in a tiny, windowless shed; there was no cafeteria for the students, either. Today, they have a beautiful cafeteria and an attached kitchen with ventilation.





The Number 5 Seventh-day Adventist Church used to meet in a cramped room for worship. Now the congregation has its own church building to accommodate more than 100 people.

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El Quemado congregation used to worship in an open-air patio at someone’s home. Now, they have a beautiful new church that is protected and provides room for growth.


ZIMBABWE In Chilimbe, women and children had to navigate a steep ravine, several times a day, to collect water. Maranatha was able to drill a water well near their new One‑Day Church, providing safe, easy access for hundreds of people.



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Theodore, Canada

Photo by Ed Jensen

Maranatha projects take all ages! Lydia Manly (6) and Lillian Matiko (89) work together at Camp Whitesand in Saskatchewan. Lillian shared her years of experience with others while painting and cleaning, and Lydia helped with landscaping and caring for another volunteer’s young children. On the last day of the project Lydia played her violin and shared a story of answered prayer, followed by a special celebration for her seventh birthday.


Serving in North America

Missions Event in Brazil

Brazil numerous times throughout the organization’s history. In 2010, Maranatha kicked off a major effort to construct churches and schools. Through collaboration with the local Adventist leadership, Maranatha has completed more than 950 projects in Brazil.

Field Staff Passes Away In recent years, there have been many needs in the mission field of North America, and this summer, Maranatha has been answering the call with a host of projects. Youth camps have been a big beneficiary of Maranatha in recent years, and this summer’s projects include Camp Hope in British Columbia, Camp Yavapines in Arizona, Camp MiVoden in Idaho, Laurel Lake Camp in Pennsylvania, Glacier View Ranch in Colorado, Leoni Meadows Camp in California, Big Lake Youth Camp in Oregon, Camp Whitesand in Saskatchewan, Camp Umqua in Oregon, Northern Lights Camp in North Dakota, and Mills Spring Ranch in Wyoming. A handful of schools will also benefit from renovations this summer, including Blue Mountain Academy in Pennsylvania, Milo Adventist Academy in Oregon, and Union Springs Academy in New York. Two churches will be built, including The Dalles Adventist Church in Oregon, and Chadron Adventist Church in Nebraska.

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Speaking to a crowd of 300 people, Erton Köhler, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America, praised the mission of Maranatha Volunteers International at a missions event in São Paulo, Brazil. “Today, looking at our reality, so that the work of God may advance, so that God may continue to work miracles, He also needs hands. He works through hands—hands that reach out, hands that offer themselves. And I come, today, to say one thing: Maranatha has been one of the best hands God has used to advance his work in Brazil, South America, and elsewhere in the world,” said Köhler, who was the keynote speaker at “Missão: Maranatha,” a special program, organized by Maranatha, to celebrate missions and service. The event, held at the Morumbi Adventist Church, highlighted Maranatha volunteer testimonies and several Adventist Church leaders, including the presidents of the Adventist Church in Bolivia and São Tomé and Príncipe. Maranatha has held a similar program in North America for decades, and this is the first time Maranatha has coordinated a convention outside of North America. Maranatha has worked in

Nixon Ricardo, known to Maranatha and friends as “Fito,” passed away on Saturday, March 24, 2018, in the Dominican Republic. He was 61 years old. For years, Fito worked with Maranatha Volunteers International in the Dominican Republic, starting in 1980. He was instrumental in assisting with Santo Domingo ’92, a watershed moment in Maranatha’s history, where more than 1,200 volunteers helped to build 25 churches in 90 days. He continued to stay involved through Maranatha’s second effort in the Dominican Republic, where volunteers built 50 churches from 2002-2004. Fito also assisted with Maranatha projects in El Salvador, Cuba, and Costa Rica.



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 set a budget, find a site and accommodations, organize your team, and provide in-country support from our staff. For groups ranging from 10 - 110, call for a consult, and we’ll help every step of the way.

Photo by David Lopez

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


Dominica Project BERYL, DOMINICA

Leadership: To be determined November 1 - 11, 2018

Zambia Project KABWE, ZAMBIA

Leadership: George Carpenter, Jon Harvey November 14 - 28, 2018

Family Project: Bolivia COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA

Leadership: Claudio and Elizabeth Japas, Jeff Wesslen December 20 - 30, 2018

Ultimate Workout Alumni Project BERYL, DOMINICA Leadership: Dan Skau, Sam Dinzey, Daniel Medrano December 20 - 30, 2018

Family Project: India KHUNTI, INDIA

Dominica Project WESLEY, DOMINICA

Leadership: Vickie and Bernie Wiedmann February 27 - March 10, 2019

Kenya Project NAIROBI, KENYA

Leadership: Karen Godfrey, Peter Thomas February 27 - March 13, 2019

India Project KHUNTI, INDIA

Leadership: Loretta Spivey February 28 - March 10, 2019


Uchee Pines Adventist Church Project ALABAMA, USA

For more information, call (916) 774-7700 or email leaders@maranatha.org

Thanks for Serving! The following Group Project Teams are serving during the months of July/August/September:

BOLIVIA Eastside Adventist Fellowship Team Washington West Houston Adventist Youth Team Texas

BRAZIL Corona Adventist Church Team California

GUYANA Downsview Adventist Church Team Ontario, Canada

Leadership: Jeanice Riles, Ed Burgan September 5 - 19, 2018

Big Lake Youth Camp Project

Leadership: Karen Godfrey, OREGON, USA Danny Poljak Leadership: DJ Crawford, Kelly Rogers December 21, 2018 - January 3, 2019 September 5 - 19, 2018

Brazil Project SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

Camp Frenda Project ONTARIO, CANADA

Zambia Project KABWE, ZAMBIA

Blue Mountain Academy Project PENNSYLVANIA, USA

Leadership: Judy and David Shull January 23 - February 3, 2019

Leadership: Merrill Zachary, George Alder January 30 - February 13, 2019

Leadership: Ed Jensen, Bill Boyd September 30 - October 7, 2018

Leadership: Betty Beattie, Wayne Moon October 2 - 23, 2018

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Roseville, CA Permit No. 111

990 Reserve Drive, Suite 100 Roseville, CA 95678


About Maranatha Maranatha spreads the Gospel throughout the world as it builds people through the construction of urgently needed buildings. All notices of change of address should be sent to the Maranatha Volunteers International United States address.

SEPTEMBER 21-22, 2018 Trinity Life Center 5225 Hillsdale Blvd | Sacramento, CA

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

• Seminars on Friday afternoon

• All participation is free

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

Everyone is invited to our annual convention, where we’ll share incredible stories of faith and service in the mission field. • Children’s program on Sabbath morning

United States Headquarters:

Featuring performances by Wintley Phipps

Join Our Community maranatha.org/facebook @gomaranatha

More information at maranatha.org/missionmaranatha ON THE COVER: Reginah Kulalo, with her grandchild, on the way home from collecting water. She spends six hours a day collecting water for her family. Photo by Leonel Macias.

Julie Z. Lee, Editor Heather Bergren, Designer

Profile for Maranatha Volunteers International

The Volunteer Summer 2018  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.

The Volunteer Summer 2018  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.