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A Publication of Maranatha Volunteers International

Growing Grace in India

How YOU can help to share the Gospel in India

I N S I D E TH I S I S S U E :

S H A R I N G T H E G O S P E L I N I N D I A P4



Nechilibi, Zimbabwe

Photo by Tom Lloyd

A man from the Nechilibi village, in Zimbabwe, relishes his first drink of cold, clean water from the new well. On April 29, Maranatha crews arrived to drill the well, and members of the Nechilibi Seventh-day Adventist Church and community gathered to witness the process. Maranatha has drilled 50 wells in Zimbabwe, so far, and repaired many broken pumps. Maranatha will continue to provide water wells in Zimbabwe and start a new effort in Kenya.


A Richly Rewarding Privilege


uite often i wonder how long god will

allow us to continue the richly rewarding privilege of working with Him around the world in this unique Maranatha mission endeavor. Unmistakeable evidence points to the nearness of Christ’s return and the culmination of life as we currently know it. Yes, the reality of Maranatha—Jesus is coming—is on the horizon. In the meantime, I am always impressed with the many dedicated volunteers and donors that respond to the opportunities for unselfish service. Already this year, hundreds and hundreds of volunteers have traveled to Africa, Brazil, India, Panama, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Vanuatu, and various parts of the United States to participate on Maranatha mission projects. So many lives have been changed in so many different ways. What a privilege to be part of changing and saving lives around the world! For those who are looking to participate in new areas of the world, there are several places that Maranatha will offer volunteer service opportunities, in the near future, where we have never worked before. Guyana, Uruguay, and Egypt are a few of those places and more are coming. We will, of course, continue to work in many of the locations that still need the assistance we have provided for some time. If you are not able to personally travel to a Maranatha project location, you can still participate. The Maranatha Mission Stories team will take you to many places of the world, and you can get the special mission flavor by watching and listening to the wonderful stories and experiences. Your prayers and gifts are also extremely important. Prayers move God to do what He would not do without our petitions. Your generous gifts not only provide churches, schools, and water wells, but they provide volunteer opportunities for thousands of participants who can travel but may not be able to provide funding. Impacting the lives of volunteers is also a major part of the Maranatha purpose. Although we do not know how long these mission opportunities will exist, we are encouraged to be part of God’s work through those who believe His return is soon. We can expect large things from our big God, who continues to change and save lives through these wonderful mission experiences. It is truly a richly rewarding privilege. N

Don Noble, president

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How Maranatha is sharing the Gospel in India By Julie Z. Lee Photos by Leonel Macias

On a Sunday morning at a Hindu temple in northern India, people are busy searching for inner peace. They are lighting oil lamps, tossing coconut juice, tying thread around a tree, and presenting flowers upon a shrine in acts of worship. Holy men called “Pandas� stand around, ready to offer special prayers for a price. Long lines of people wait to be blessed in the most holy space inside the temple.

To a foreigner, the scene feels surreal. It overloads the senses. Incense chokes the air, goats bleat at their impending death, and cows meander through the temple. The people seek enlightenment, freedom, and blessing through the ritual. For a Christian, the experience is a reminder of a simple concept: grace. Grace comes with no commotion— there are no sacrifices, offerings, pleading for recognition. With God, we are endowed with the perfect peace of knowing that we are saved by grace. There are 1.3 billion people in India. One billion of them are Hindu. The rest are broken into smaller faiths, among them Jainism, Buddhism, and Islam. Only two percent of

the entire population is Christian. This totals 27.8 million followers—a large number except when you’re dealing with a country of more than a billion people. Here, in India, Christianity is just a tiny flicker of light in an ocean of oblivion. But that light is growing, thanks to the dedicated work of pastors and layworkers, who are doing everything they can to spread the

Good News—God’s message of grace. Yet there is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done. Over these next few pages, you’ll see how the Seventh-day Adventist message is spreading through India and why this mission needs you.

Missionary Training

Varanasi is a city of Hindus, but several hundred Seventh-day Adventists gather in town for a weekend of pastoral training. They are lay-members who study intensively with Adventist leadership in the Varanasi region, so they can help to lead churches in small villages. Given the shortage of pastors in the area, it has been an effective way to fill the gap and provide continuous leadership to growing congregations.

Gospel Pioneers

Seven years ago, Babloo Kumar (right) and Sanjay Bharti’s fathers were baptized into the Adventist Church after studying with a local missionary. Now, these childhood friends are also working as missionaries in their hometown, helping to strengthen and grow their local congregation.


Previous page Varanasi is considered one of the holiest places in India. Thousands of Hindus flock to this city on the Ganges River to wash, worship, and if they’re lucky, die. Breathing your last breath in Varanasi means you may get immediate “moksha”, freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth. If you cannot die there, you can be cremated there and your ashes poured into the river.


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Home Church

Dudh and Bagwani Nath (pictured right with son) are influential people in the village of Sadarpur, located an hour from the city of Varanasi. When Bagwani became an Adventist in 2004, she urged her family and neighbors to join her. For years, the Naths have been opening up their home for worship, and people fill every room in the house. Recently the Naths donated a piece of land for Maranatha to build a church on.

New Church Design in India

Cowshed Temple

In Belwan, Babloo’s village, the congregation is very large, but the only place they can worship is in a cowshed. Babloo and his family have donated land—the most valuable thing they own—as a site for Maranatha to build a proper church.

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Responding to the specific needs and culture of the country, Maranatha debuted a new church design in India. The sanctuary has capacity for more than 125 people; depending on seating arrangements, the building could fit up to 200. The structure also features design elements unique to Maranatha churches in India. There is a small portico at the entrance, brick walls with stucco, paint, arched windows, and stained glass style windows. These new churches cost $20,000 to build.


Photos by Terry Schwartz

An American in


“Here we are in a country where once upon a time they were imprisoned and prosecuted for their love for Christ.”

By Carrie Purkeypile


30 years ago a tiny group of Adventists, in one of the most dangerous cities in Cuba, began to pray. They needed a little more room—an extension, a few more seats. That would have been a modest request elsewhere, but here, it would take a miracle. In 1995, Maranatha got involved, jumping through hoops, researching, proposing, and going back to the drawing board. Twenty-one years later, a group of volunteers is finally here, building Maranatha’s longestore than


running project to date—the Cardenas Seventh-day Adventist Church. Tywan Jackson is one of the 29 volunteers on this Cardenas mission trip. This is his first Maranatha project but not his first trip abroad by any means. Tywan is a sergeant in the United States army. His military career has taken him to several locations in Europe, as well as serving tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. So far, he is loving the Maranatha life. “What I found to be true is that there’s no

judgement, you know. We all come from different walks of life, and just speaking to one another and finding out a little bit about one another you find out that we’re not that different at all.” But Tywan’s journey to Cuba started nearly two decades ago, in his Miami, Florida, high school. It was there that he met Danielle Casseus, a girl who would be a friend for life. Danielle was a committed Adventist, and one of the few people Tywan remained friends with even after he enlisted.

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NEW START: Volunteers help with construction at the Cardenas Adventist Church. The new building is two stories and will seat 500 people.

“We had a lot of … deep discussions about religion and Christ and what He wants for us,” remembers Danielle. Tywan smiles wide as he remembers how difficult he was with Danielle. He would dig deep into discussion but refuse to read the texts she shared so he wouldn’t be held accountable! But Tywan holds firm that Danielle’s real testimony was her upright character— her godly spirit and friendship that never wavered. When Tywan was truly ready to deepen his relationship with Christ, he looked around, studied, and evaluated the character of his friends of every denomination. The example Danielle had set stood out, and when he allowed himself to read the texts she had tried to share so many times, he was convicted. “He finally had his moment where he decided that he was going to really search for himself, dig into the Bible. Ask God to really show him what it was that was truth because he wanted to live his life the right way,” says Danielle. “And in 2009 I had the pleasure of

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being in attendance at his baptism at our local church. And he has been on fire for Christ ever since. He has not looked back. He has not wavered.” THE CALL TO CUBA

As Danielle moved into adult life one of her favorite hobbies became Maranatha mission trips. “Over the years I would get those letters (from Maranatha) regarding what was happening here in Cardenas and how they were praying for a church,” says Danielle. “I said, well, if anything comes up I really would like to know about it. Because I would like to be part of that answer to prayer.” When Danielle got the call in March that there would be a volunteer trip to Cuba, she signed up the same day and quickly realized the project would be right during Tywan’s leave, when he would be “home” in Florida. Soon he was on board too, and he started the complicated process of securing military permission to participate on a volunteer project in Cuba.

FOREVER FRIENDS: Tywan (left) and Danielle in Cuba. Tywan heard about the mission trip through Danielle and both ended up on the project.

The volunteers spent some time in Havana before traveling three hours to the coastal city of Cardenas, a community of more than 130,000 where horse and buggy or bicycle are still the most prominent forms of transportation. REACHING THE PEOPLE

Maranatha volunteers arrived in Cardenas prepared to host a children’s health education program, conduct a dental clinic, support the construction


Photo by Carrie Purkeypile

Photo by Terry Schwartz

UNITED THROUGH PRAYER: At the close of the project, volunteers and church members wrote their prayers for the new building and buried them in the wall of the church. This is the first Maranatha volunteer group to work in Cuba in 16 years.

workers, and help in any way possible. For many volunteers, this was a wonderful point of contact to get to know the local people of Cardenas, and many of the church members. For Tywan, working side-by-side with the local Cuban construction team was the most impactful part of his experience in Cuba. Many of the crew are members of the Cardenas Adventist Church, and they are pouring their heart and soul into the work. SEARCHING FOR TRUTH

One of the locals that Tywan befriended was Jorge Castillo, a church member whose story grabbed the attention of many volunteers. Born and raised in Cardenas, Jorge’s family dabbled in afro-cuban religion, mixed in with Catholicism. But two strangers changed his life when they patiently explained the fourth commandment and showed him the biblical proof. “Everything came crashing down and I had to start over to rebuild the pieces,” says Jorge. The next step was for Jorge to find a church that could support him in his new beliefs. He had no idea if any denomination existed that might honor 1 0 | THE VOLUNTE E R SU M M ER 201 6

the Sabbath as he now understood it. He began to search, questioning the brethren at every church he could find. But none were any help. He literally walked the streets or rode his bicycle around town, searching for a church. Cardenas only had (and still has) one Adventist congregation and church: a small, blue building on the corner of a residential neighborhood. Just walking by, one would have never guessed that the square building was a place of worship. Finally, someone directed him there, and Jorge found his new church home. “It was a bit overwhelming,” he says. “I was hoping to find a huge edifice—a beautiful, well-organized church, but it was not like that. Quite the opposite.” The sudden move from a silent and majestic Catholic cathedral to a crowded one-room building was a shock for Jorge. He even thought to himself, “What am I doing here? If this is the church that defends the fourth commandment, then … I don’t like it.” But Jorge persisted in prayer. He says he acquired the spiritual maturity to stay at the ill-equipped church that would soon be very close to his heart.

ANSWER TO PRAYER: Jorge Castillo is working hard on his new church. He and his fellow church members have been praying for a new church for more than 20 years.


Today, Jorge is 100% part of the Adventist Church, no matter what building they meet in! The Bible truths are so precious to him. He counts it a blessing to be part of the church construction effort, six days a week. After working all day on the project site, he rides his bicycle several kilometers home to change clothes then rides back to participate in small group Bible studies. “I feel very proud to be there,” says Jorge of his work on the construction team. “It doesn’t matter how many hours we have to work or the time we have to dedicate to it. When I come to the church, I feel such great joy that I don’t feel tired.” A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE

The real work happening on the worksite during the project was the phenomenon of mutual encouragement and inspiration. Like many of the brothers and sisters in Cardenas, Jorge is inspired by the volunteers and donors who are supporting the project. “Perhaps one day we’ll be able to volunteer in our own country,” he says, a light flickering in his blue eyes. “To think that there are people in the world who donate part of their time, their personal income, that think about

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helping other people in the world … My opinion is that is something only Jesus Christ can do.” Yet Jorge and the other Cuban Adventists, who shared their humble yet shocking revelations of faith, were the highlight of the experience for the volunteers. Tywan remembers when Jorge asked him how he was able to balance a Christian lifestyle while being in the military. “I explained to him that it wasn’t a big concern,” says Tywan, “I’m able to attend church on the Sabbath.” Then, Jorge led Tywan across the dusty first-level of the structure and introduced him to a man, one who had served time in prison because of his decision to follow God’s commandments while enlisted in military service. Tywan was shocked. “I was like, wow. We take a lot of things for granted. A lot of things. And here we are in a country where once upon a time they were imprisoned and prosecuted for their love for Christ.” THE FORTRESS

The large-scale construction on the church lot is causing a lot of buzz, not only in Cardenas, but even in surrounding towns. “One lady said someone called the new Cardenas church a fortress,” says Tywan. “People are taking notice.” It’s true. Never again will someone wander the streets like Jorge did, searching in vain for the Adventist Church. The new construction is ten times the size of the old building, very visible, and so are the brothers and sisters who work for Jesus in their own communities. “I think the Cardenas Church, in a few years, is going to be overrun,” says Tywan. “One thing I did tell my new friend Jorge, I said, ‘My prayer for your church is that you have the same experience that you had with your previous church, which is there was no

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room. And that the church is full to the brim and you have another hundred or two hundred or so outside trying to get in.’” The volunteer group spent two Sabbaths in Cuba, worshipping with two different congregations. One was in a large church in Havana, rebuilt by Maranatha more than a decade ago, now filled with happy, fulfilled people. The second Sabbath was with the Cardenas congregation, sweating under a collection of umbrellas in the blazing heat, still waiting for their building to be finished. For Tywan, Sabbath was a highlight. “You can feel the passion they have for being able to practice their religion, when maybe a decade ago they couldn’t, two decades,” says Tywan. “But times are changing and that’s an amazing feeling to experience with them, to be here now in 2016 where we can go into a church and worship freely. That really touched me.” “I don’t think I’ll forget anything,” says Tywan. “It’s vivid. It’s surreal being here. How many Americans can say they came to Cuba, did a mission trip, experienced the fellowship with their brothers and sisters, interacted with

them, witnessed with them, you know, learned their culture, met their families? Not many.” As is often the case, Maranatha’s greatest accomplishment in Cuba was building people. The long-awaited project served to encourage the local people, inspire the volunteers, and hit home for Tywan. “It impacted me on so many levels. It changed me to be a better steward, a better Christian, a better person.” Construction of the Cardenas Seventh-day Adventist Church continues with an estimated completion date in early 2017. In the last 22 years Maranatha has rebuilt or refurbished more than 200 of the 324 Adventist churches in Cuba. • DISCOVER MORE Go beyond the story at www.maranatha.org • Read a news story about this mission trip at www.maranatha.org/ cubavolunteers

Photo by Terry Schwartz

SIMPLE LIVING: Life in Cardenas feels like a step back in time, but it is located minutes from the coastal resort town of Varadero, which draws tourists from all over the world.


Oakland, California, USA Father and son duo, Daniel Klein Jr. and Daniel Klein III, pause from their duties at Ultimate Workout 26-USA to take a Father’s Day photo. On this day, the pair were volunteering at a free health fair, coordinated by Maranatha in partnership with the Oakland Spanish Seventhday Adventist Church. The Ultimate Workout team, which welcomed nearly 50 volunteers, also helped with renovations at Golden Gate Academy, painting, children’s ministry, and dental clinics at Immanuel Temple Adventist Church, and other outreach activities in Oakland, California.

Photo by Julie Z. Lee

NEWS is tainted and still requires boiling to purify. The new water well, located near the One-Day Church, will serve the congregation and the entire community of Simangani. The well is part of Maranatha’s larger effort to provide clean water in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Village Receives Church and Well After eleven years of meeting under trees and temporary structures, the Simangani Seventh-day Adventist Church received a double blessing in the form of a church and water well. On April 27, crews with Maranatha Volunteers International arrived in the Zimbabwe village to begin drilling a well and build a One-Day Church. Forty-eight hours later, the people of Simangani were shouting with joy at the longawaited answer to prayer. Ruth Sazaba and her sister, Audrey Ncube, established the church in 2005. At the time, they were the only Adventists in the village. They, along with their children, met under a tree for worship. Over time, the group began to grow. Today, there are more than 50 members. Without money for a proper church, the group built a church out of wooden branches, sacks, and a borrowed tin roof. As for water, villagers have to walk several kilometers to a pump station, which draws water from the Zambezi River. But the water

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Senior Team Builds Church in Brazil

Maranatha volunteers returned from Brazil in March, brimming with stories and experiences. The S.A.G.E. (Seniors in Action for God with Excellence) group from Washington conducts regular mission trips with Maranatha, and this was their first time visiting Brazil. Eleven volunteers kept very busy building three OneDay Church frames and painting another six churches. The group enjoyed their work and stay in Para, Brazil, where Maranatha has already built dozens of churches. Volunteers also participated in the dedication of the Castanhal school built by Maranatha in the city of Belem. S.A.G.E. was the first group to serve in Brazil in 2016. However in May a group of Brazilian

Maranatha volunteers furthered their work by building walls for one of the church frames S.A.G.E. built. The S.A.G.E. ministry is based in Washington state and invites people over the age of 50 to join together for cultural, spiritual, and outreach activities. This is the SAGE group’s 17th project with Maranatha.

Building Big Lake in Oregon In June, a team of 50 Maranatha volunteers participated on a mission project in Oregon, U.S.A., to renovate Big Lake Youth Camp, a summer camp and retreat center for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Oregon. One of the major projects involved the construction of two new cabins, as well as the remodeling of a cabin for use by Pacific Crest Trail hikers. The famed Pacific Crest Trail, a hiking route stretching from southern California to Canada, passes through the Camp property. The cabin provides a place for hikers to stay during their journey. Big Lake is one of 17 projects scheduled to take place in North America this year. Upcoming mission trips include both school and church renovations in places like New York, Washington, and California.



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 accomodations, organize your team and provide in-country support from our staff. For groups ranging from 5-105, call for a consult and we’ll help every step of the way. For more information, call (916) 774-7700 or email leaders@maranatha.org

Photo by David Brillhart

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.

Big Lake Youth Camp Open Team 2 OREGON, USA

Leadership: Cathie Clark, David Woods September 1 - 15, 2016

Long Creek Church Open Team OREGON, USA Leadership: Genevive Tininenko, Leroy Kelm September 5 - 16, 2016

Aiken Church Open Team SOUTH CAROLINA, USA

Ultimate Workout Alumni Project PANAMA Leadership: Dan Skau Dec. 26, 2016 - Jan. 8, 2017

Brazil Open Team BRAZIL

Leadership: Merrill Zachary, George Alder January 18 - 29, 2017

Uruguay Open Team URUGUAY

Leadership: Roger Hatch October 5 - 20, 2016

Leadership: Vickie & Bernie Wiedmann February 22 - March 5, 2017

Bhalki, India Open Team INDIA

Kenya Open Team KENYA

Leadership: George Carpenter, Lorin Rubbert, Jon Harvey November 2 - 13, 2016

Angola Open Team ANGOLA

Leadership: Merrill Zachary, Dwain Ferguson November 9 - 23, 2016

Christmas Family Project DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Leadership: To Be Announced December 19 - 29, 2016

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

BRAZIL UNASP Team DOMINICAN REPUBLIC San Francisco Central Adventist Church Team California Madison Mission Adventist Church Team Alabama Cornerstone Mission Team Virginia Love is the Answer Mission Team California INDIA Rio Rancho/Texico Conference Team New Mexico/Texas


PANAMA Mount of Blessing Adventist Church Team New York West Houston Youth Team Texas California State San Bernardino Team California

Kenya Summer Family Project 2017 KENYA

UNITED STATES The Place Christian Fellowship Team California Corona Adventist Church Team California

Leadership: Loretta Spivey March 1 - 15, 2017

Leadership: Steve Case March 16 - 26, 2017

Leadership: Karen Godfrey July 12 - 26, 2017

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What We’re BUILDING Take a look at the types of solutions Maranatha offers to those in need of construction assistance—and how you can help us meet the need.

One-Day Church


This program has been critical in responding to the requests for churches in the most isolated parts of the world, where traditional construction would be extremely difficult. Yet One-Day Churches can fill the need by providing a steel frame and roof. Then, church members build the walls with local materials.

Maranatha’s largest structure is a school called the Education and Evangelism Center (EEC). It is a block construction building, featuring a long open space in the middle with classrooms, restrooms, and offices flanking both sides. The center space can be used as a gymnasium and an auditorium. The EEC can have six to twelve classrooms, with room for 40 students per room.

COST: $4,500 (SHARE: $1,500)

COST: $500,000 - $800,000.

One-Day School


Education is a tremendous need in the developing world, yet schools are very expensive to construct. The One‑Day School is an effective solution. A kit comes with a steel roof and walls, windows, doors, and desks.

Water is a critical need in several of the countries where Maranatha is working. This year, Maranatha is focused on providing water wells in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

COST: $15,000 (SHARE: $5,000)


Churches Currently, Maranatha builds fully blocked churches in several of the countries where we are working. These sanctuaries have a steel frame and roof, cement foundation, walls, windows, doors, and platform. Some models even have bathrooms and Sabbath School classrooms. These churches range in cost from $20,000 to $75,000, depending on the size and country. COST: $20,000 - $75,000

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


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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.

A weekend of missions, music, and inspiration.

SEPTEMBER 23-24, 2016

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

Featuring musical guest:

Fax: (916) 774-7701

Christian Edition

Website: www.maranatha.org

Trinity Life Center

In Canada:

5225 Hillsdale Blvd Sacramento, CA

ADMISSION IS FREE Register at www.maranatha.org/convention or call 916.774.7700 ON THE COVER: Missionary Babloo Kumar stands in front of his cowshed church in northern India. Photo by Leonel Macias.

Email: info@maranatha.org

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

Profile for Maranatha Volunteers International

The Volunteer Summer 2016  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.

The Volunteer Summer 2016  

The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.