A Publication of Maranatha Volunteers International
A New Day, A New Urgency How Cuba is changing and why we need YOU now
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
C U B A P4
DOMINGO FELIZ P8
H A R A R E S C H O O L D E D I C AT I O N P 1 1
La Romana, Dominican Republic Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, helps place the roof on the new Villa Caoba Church in the Dominican Republic. Wilson led a team of Adventist leadership in a day of mission work, during the annual PREXAD meetings, a gathering of the presidentâ€™s executive advisory group for the Adventist world church. World region presidents and other officers helped to build a church and Sabbath School classroom, paint, and landscape the Villa Caoba property.
Photos by Tom Lloyd
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
World Leaders Become Construction Evangelists
o the casual observer, this Maranatha
project was similar to thousands of other ones. The setting was a poor village. The members met in a very humble, temporary shelter. The church was growing due to their enthusiasm, hard work, and commitment. They had prayed long and hard that God would provide a place of worship that would be a positive witness to the community and draw more people to His kingdom. All of those elements are repeated over and over again with Maranatha projects. The unique aspect of this Maranatha church building project in La Romana, Dominican Republic, was the group of volunteers doing the work. For the first time in the history of the Seventh‑day Adventist Church, the entire leadership team of the worldwide church, PREXAD (President’s Executive Advisory), became construction workers and helped to answer the prayers of the Villa Caoba congregation for a new church! This team included all world region presidents, vice‑presidents and officers of the Adventist church world headquarters, and, of course, the Adventist world church president. I wish you had been there. It was an experience to be remembered. We did not know what to expect, but Ted Wilson, president of the Adventist world church, asked us to make sure everyone was kept busy and productive. I have to say that what was accomplished far exceeded our expectations. The spirit on the work site was very positive. The leadership group worked together in a joyful, enthusiastic, kind and cooperative manner. I believe you would have been both impressed and even a bit surprised at how well they worked together as a team that knew, very well, the potential impact of the project for the growth of God’s kingdom. Most of the church leaders have spent a lifetime committed to bringing souls to Jesus Christ. But on this construction day in the Dominican Republic, they participated in another very effective and powerful form of evangelism – the construction of a church. As the workday ended, it almost seemed like these leaders wanted to stay a little longer. They knew they had been part of something special, and some were even heard to say they would be willing to give up the next day’s meeting agenda for a chance to be on the work site again. Other leaders asked if we could have a similar project with leaders within their world region. Villa Caoba will never be the same again. It will be very interesting to see how God blesses the construction evangelism efforts of these dedicated church leaders.
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CUBA A New Day, A New Urgency in
How changing politics could impact Maranathaâ€™s work By Julie Z. Lee
Photo by Terry Schwartz
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s it was every Sabbath, the Cardenas Seventh-day Adventist Church was packed. Outside, dozens of faces leaned in through the open windows and others sat patiently under a make-shift canopy at the front door. It was quiet as everyone strained to hear Maranatha Volunteers International’s presentation.
From the front of the small, green room, Don Noble, president of Maranatha, unveiled a drawing of a large, two-story building. It was an artist’s rendering of the new Cardenas Church, soon to be built by Maranatha. The congregation gasped. Others began to cry. The room exploded in applause. “They had no idea what to expect,” remembers Karen Godfrey, vice president of Advancement at Maranatha, who was at the unveiling. “But it was really much more than they had ever thought could be possible for their new church.” After the service, Maranatha displayed the illustration outside, along with architectural plans. People converged at the pictures, pointing and asking the architect questions about the building. The place was buzzing with excitement and joy. After all, it was an answer to years of prayer. THE TURNING POINT
A renovation or replacement of the existing Cardenas Church has been on Maranatha’s task list for nearly two decades. But complicated permit processes, along with political hurdles, protracted the project. The new Cardenas design, which is considerably larger than the existing church, will require crews to tear down the existing building. Members will have to temporarily meet elsewhere during construction, and hopefully the build time will be short. But given U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent announcement regarding the trade embargo with Cuba, there are bound to be changes to Maranatha’s construction process. On December 17, President Obama announced a restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, including talk of easing the 54-year trade
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embargo. The transition is already in progress. Changes in foreign policy include the loosening of travel eligibility, export limits, and banking restrictions. Media outlets are also predicting a boom in tourism and inflation. A CHANGING CUBA
For Maranatha, Obama’s announcement could open more opportunities to assist the Adventist Church in Cuba. Maranatha has been supporting the growth of the Adventist membership in Cuba since 1994, by renovating and constructing more than 200 churches and a seminary. But each project has been an exercise in patience; obtaining permits, fundraising, and transferring money to Cuba for construction took years. Lifting the embargo could mean accelerating the process and opening the door for more volunteers to get directly involved with projects in Cuba. However, there is also the risk of rising construction and property costs. “One of our concerns is that significant changes in Cuba can also cause increases to construction costs. At this time we hope to move ahead to complete the current projects, and support is needed. Things can change quickly, so we must work quickly,” says Don Noble, president of Maranatha. Of immediate concern is the Cardenas church. Although the building permits are now in place, Maranatha still has to raise the remaining funds for construction. If costs skyrocket in the near future, the original budget for the project could balloon. The uncertainty of Cuba’s economic and political situation throws yet another curveball into Maranatha’s work in the country. Lifting the trade embargo and travel ban could open new doors of opportunity for the
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Photos by Terry Schwartz 1
“One of our concerns is that significant changes in Cuba can also cause increases to construction costs... Things can change quickly, so we must work quickly.”
the history of the church in Cuba,” describing it as “before Maranatha and after Maranatha.” “In 1994, when Maranatha came to Cuba, we had 12,000 members. Today there are more than 35,000 members,” said Fontaine. “Maranatha’s work is integrative evangelism. Maranatha has always gone with Jesus leading the way.” •
How YOU Can Help We finally have permission to build the Cardenas Church. But now we need to raise the funds. This is where we can use YOUR help. We need donations for Cardenas— before costs go up because of the changing political scene in Cuba. The Cardenas congregation has been waiting for so long. You can help with this final part of the process and answer their prayers for a new church. Make a donation using the envelope included in the magazine, give online, or call (916) 774-7700.
Adventist Church and for volunteers! No matter what the future brings, believers in Cuba continue to hold strong to their faith. Daniel Fontaine, assistant to the president of the Adventist Church in Inter-America and former president of the Adventist Church in Cuba, presented on Cuba at the 2014 Maranatha convention in California. He said the past twenty years have been full of challenges but also great victories, and through it all, “God supports His church in Cuba.” He went on to say that Maranatha’s work “has changed
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DISCOVER MORE Go beyond the story at www.maranatha.org •
Read the inspiring story of the man who paved the way for Maranatha’s work in Cuba at www.maranatha.org/tem
Watch Don Noble share the story of Cardenas at www.maranatha.org/cardenas
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MARANATHA & CUBA: NOTABLE MOMENTS
1998 After obtaining permission to refurbish existing Adventist churches, Maranatha dedicates the La Vibora Church, one of the oldest churches in Havana.
Maranatha is introduced to Tem Suarez, Cuban-born American and businessman. His passion for missions in his home country opens the door for Maranatha to build churches in Cuba.
Maranatha builds the Cuba Seventh-day Adventist Seminary in Havana
CARDENAS CHURCH: 1 With no more room inside the Cardenas Church, the overflow crowd gathers outside to listen to the program. 2 Members of the Cardenas congregation smile at the good news about their new church building. 3 Maranatha visitors and Cardenas church members gather for a special Sabbath afternoon service. 4 Maranatha shares the artistâ€™s rendering of the new Cardenas Adventist Church. The congregation gasped and applauded at the presentation. 5 Following the program, people take a closer look at the illustration of what will be their new church.
2011 Maranatha builds church on campus of Adventist seminary.
Newly refurbished Alacranes Adventist Church, built by Suarez in 2001, is dedicated.
After 20 years of waiting, Maranatha finally receives permission to build the Cardenas Adventist Church.
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Who is Jesus?
The Story of Domingo Feliz By Carrie Purkeypile
Photo by Brent Bergherm
his is the story of a boy who
grew up without his mother, who idolized his father, and who started down the wrong path. The boy is Domingo Feliz, from Barahona, Dominican Republic. If you met Domingo today, you would never guess his background. He is a faithful husband, responsible father, and respected leader in his church. But in his early days, Domingo was a handful. Most any reasonable person would have written him off as a bad kid, destined for bad things. Domingo’s father practiced black magic, making the impossible happen with the help of dark, supernatural powers. Domingo admired him greatly, as most boys admire their father. But the man died when Domingo was just nine years old. Fed up with living with his older siblings, he built himself a house from discarded boards and struck out on his own.
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Though Domingo knew nothing about God, he harbored a natural hatred and derision for the church. He tells of several pranks he pulled at the Seventh‑day Adventist Church near his home. One day he gathered a bucket full of rocks and threw them on the church’s tin roof. The congregation ran out, frightened at the clattering caucophony, and Domingo laughed long and hard. Later he pulled an even worse prank by urinating into a bucket and throwing it through the open windows of the church, where people sat in worship. Domingo ran home, amused. But a few minutes later, one of the young men from the church showed up at his door. “If you so much as mention what I did today, you won’t live to tell about it,” growled Domingo. The young man, named Moreno, answered, “No! I just came to make friends with you.”
“If you so much as mention what I did today, you won’t live to tell about it,” growled Domingo. THE INVITATION
After a few months of friendship, Moreno asked Domingo to attend an evangelistic seminar at the church. “What is that?” asked Domingo. “It’s a meeting to learn about Jesus,” answered Moreno. Domingo was upset. He had specifically accepted the offer of friendship on the condition that Moreno never mention Jesus to him. But after a sound refusal, Moreno began to cry. Domingo felt so uncomfortable that he w w w.maranatha.org
agreed to go. But he had no intention of going to that meeting. Domingo had a date to the movies that night, so he would be long gone when Moreno arrived! That evening he washed up, combed his hair, and put on a clean shirt. He was looking great for his date! Just as he was leaving his room he heard a knock at the door. He was shocked to see Moreno there an hour early! What a dilemma! Domingo snuck out the back door and hacked his way through a large fence into the neighbor’s yard and out to the street beyond. Freedom! But when he rounded the bend, there was Moreno. Domingo’s face fell. WHO IS JESUS?
When they arrived at the seminar, Domingo stepped inside the church for the first time. He spent most of the meeting looking around, trying to figure out which of the people in the building was Jesus. He finally decided that it must be the preacher, since he knew most of the people there from around the neighborhood. After the meeting he approached the pastor and said, “Jesus, you should really spend more time here. People are always saying, ‘Jesus is coming.’ But I haven’t seen you here before.” The preacher chuckled and began to explain, for the first time, who Jesus is. When he told Domingo that Jesus lives in his heart, the boy was incredulous. He lifted up his shirt to inspect his chest and asked, “How did He get in there?” After a few more meetings, Domingo made the decision to trust Jesus with his life. He fondly remembers his baptism; he wore a black robe and a small ribbon pinned to his chest. But when he went home, his family was not pleased. His big brother met him at the door (of Domingo’s own house) and punched him in the mouth, launching him into
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the street and knocking out one of his teeth. He grabbed a few items of clothing and tossed them at Domingo. He was on his own once more. But this time, he had Jesus. BECOMING GOD’S MAN
Domingo had a steep learning curve as he learned about God, but he loved it. Today he is proud to say that he has served as an elder in many different Adventist churches, in all parts of his country. After years of preaching and service, he began work as a traveling evangelist, conducting campaigns and winning thousands of souls for Jesus. Almost two decades ago, Domingo received a special request that would change his life. He was asked to shepherd a struggling church plant in his hometown of Barahona. When he began, there were only two members in need of encouragement. They banded together in prayer and grew their tiny congregation, time and again. Domingo adopted one of the original members, Dionicia, a widow, as the mother he never had. They won many
As volunteers laid blocks, row by row, and the cement mixer roared, Domingo and other church members stopped by as often as possible. Their dream was coming true! to Jesus with their enthusiasm and love. But with no church to call their own, many new members didn’t stay long. They stopped coming to worship altogether, or moved to a different part of town to attend more established churches. As members left, they took their offerings with them. The tiny church continued on for 18 years with barely enough money to rent a room for worship services. How would they ever build a church?
Photo by Brent Bergherm
BECOMING GOD’S MAN: As a child, mischievous bad boy Domingo Feliz had no idea who Jesus was. Today he is a self-sacrificing lay pastor and traveling evangelist. He has been supporting the Palmarito congregation and praying for a church for 18 years.
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Photo by David Lopez
Photo by Brent Bergherm
A FALLING DOWN CHURCH: Church members saved for years to buy this old house to meet in. They were devastated when a windstorm knocked it to the ground.
A FALLING DOWN CHURCH
In time the congregation purchased an old, leaky house. But one day, a windstorm knocked the whole thing to the ground. Homeless again, the congregation began meeting across the street from their toppled structure in a yard. The group was devastated. It seemed there was no hope for change. Dionicia took it very hard and determined to pray even harder. She prayed all night, literally crying out to God, until He answered her and told her to wait. Something big was coming! The congregation soon heard that Maranatha would be building a church on their lot. Hallelujah! Domingo and other church members began praising God and preparing the lot. GOD’S ANSWER
After praying for a new church for 18 years, a busload of 14-18 year old Ultimate Workout volunteers arrived to build the church! Domingo and the church members had been praying for
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them before they were even born! As volunteers laid blocks, row by row, and the cement mixer roared, Domingo and other church members stopped by as often as possible. Their dream was coming true. God truly answered their prayers.
THE FIRST SABBATH: Even before the walls were completed on the Palmarito Church, it was a very special first Sabbath worshiping there together.
DISCOVER MORE Go beyond the story at www.maranatha.org •
Watch Domingo tell his story and how God changed his life at www.maranatha.org/domingo
THE FIRST SABBATH – FINALLY!
When it came time to walk into the new church for the first time, Domingo felt nervous. It was really happening! Even though the construction was not yet completed, attending church in their new building was a very special day. “Really, being inside the Palmarito Church makes my heart jump for joy!” he said, as tears pooled in his eyes. Few can imagine the impact a church building can have for a community like this one. Palmarito is a rough neighborhood, full of kids and adults who have no use for Jesus. Who better to introduce them than Domingo, former bad-boy and current evangelist? •
People like Domingo are doing the important work of sharing God with as many people as they can. Maranatha’s role is to support that work by providing them what they need – a building. Without the constant hassle of looking for a place to meet and how to pay the rent, congregations can further commit their resources and energies to reaching out to others. Just like many before, this church will fill up fast! Thank you for making it happen! Your support is crucial.
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Maranatha Dedicates School in Harare By Julie Z. Lee
t a commissioning service for
the newly constructed Northwood Adventist Primary School in Harare, Zimbabwe, government representatives thanked Maranatha Volunteers International and the Seventh-day Adventist Church for their contributions to Zimbabwe’s education system. “The important role that churches play in helping educate the youth should be noted. There is a need to be involved in the moral and ethical education of our youth. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is doing a lot to achieve this goal,” said Sylvia Utete-Masango, Zimbabwe’s permanent secretary for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. More than 700 people gathered for the program, which took place on November 30, 2014. The school building is a dream come true for the East Zimbabwe region of the Adventist Church. Three years ago, a local congregation purchased the property in hopes of building a campus. Then Zimbabwe’s regional leadership for the Adventist Church asked Maranatha for help. The school building took two years to complete, and the project was part of Maranatha’s larger effort to provide churches and schools in Zimbabwe. “Thank you Maranatha. Thank you East Zimbabwe Conference for choosing us to receive this structure. We can now enroll more pupils and worship
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Photos by Ron Kedas Photo by Susan Woods
ZIMBABWE: The new Northwood Adventist Primary School, in Harare, already has more than 400 students enrolled. The campus is helping to fulfill an overwhelming need for more schools in the area.
in a decent structure. We are gathered here to witness excellence at its best. We believe in Adventist education to train young people spiritually, mentally, and socially for this world and the world to come,” said Mrs. Chimani, headmaster of Northwood. There are already 467 students attending the school. As the only Seventh-day Adventist primary school in Harare, Northwood serves an immediate need for church members in the area. But beyond the Adventist community, the school is fulfilling an overall demand for more schools in Zimbabwe. According to information shared by Utete-Masango, a recent survey showed that Zimbabwe needs 2,056 more schools. “In this country… we have a need for many more schools. You are witnessing a demonstration that the Adventist
Church is ready to partner with the government to face these challenges,” said Jonathan Musvosvi, president of the Adventist Church in East Zimbabwe. This is the second Education and Evangelism Center Maranatha has built in Zimbabwe. Maranatha has constructed five other campuses in the country, using the One-Day School structure and also built hundreds of One-Day Churches. • DISCOVER MORE Go beyond the story at www.maranatha.org • Search for stories on Zimbabwe on our website or go to www.maranatha.org/southernafrica to watch a Maranatha Mission Stories episode on the Northwood Adventist School and more.
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Kerala, India In December, a team of volunteers headed to the state of Kerala in southwestern India to work on the Seventh-day Adventist English High School in Nedumkandam. While there, the volunteers constructed One-Day School classrooms along with offices on the campus. They also organized medical outreach programs, including cataract surgeries and a neonatal resuscitation curriculum for nursing students. Photos by David Brillhart
NEWS Influential Maranatha Member Passes Away
fees and expedite the building process. The use of volunteer labor can also provide a considerable cost savings. This is the third church of this design that Maranatha volunteers have constructed in the U.S. The first two were in New Albany, Mississippi, and Decatur, Alabama.
board members, volunteers, and donors. Among the many projects that the Slikkers sponsored was the floating church on Lake Titicaca in Peru.
Volunteers Build Church in Perry, Florida
Dolores E. Slikkers, one of the first members of Maranatha Volunteers International, died on Thursday, December 18, 2014, in Holland, Michigan. She was 85. Slikkers and her husband, Leon, were among the first group of volunteers that flew to various mission projects with John and Ida Mae Freeman. The Slikkers family were also among the first financial supporters of Maranatha, helping to launch the organization in 1969. Their involvement continued throughout the years, as the Slikkers both served as Maranatha
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In October, volunteers began construction on a brand new church for the Perry Seventh-day Adventist congregation in Florida. The project utilized Maranatha’s standard church design for North America. Forty-one volunteers completed the framing, walls, siding, and paint for the church building. The congregation held its first Sabbath worship in the new church on January 31 and organized an open house reception in mid-February. Maranatha’s standard church plan is an architectural plan designed for smaller congregations in the United States and Canada. It includes a sanctuary, Sabbath School classrooms, a fellowship hall, restrooms, and an office. Using Maranatha’s standard church design can reduce architect
Go Shopping for Maranatha
If you’re a frequent user of the online shopping megastore, Amazon.com, you could also become a frequent donor to Maranatha. Maranatha is now registered with AmazonSmile, a program that donates 0.5% of every purchase you make on Amazon to your favorite charitable organization. All you have to do is go to smile.amazon.com, choose Maranatha Volunteers International, Inc., as your charity, and begin shopping. AmazonSmile is a separate website, but it offers the same products and shopping experience. Amazon Prime customers can also use this program. To learn more about how your purchases can benefit Maranatha, go to smile.amazon.com
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Create a Project! If you are interested in taking a team on a mission trip, let Maranatha guide you through the process! Weâ€™ll help you to set a budget, find a site and accommodations, organize your team*, and even provide in-country support from our staff. For more information, call (916) 774-7700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. *Group Project teams must have a minimum of 20 participants; leaders recruit their own teams.
Photo by Carrie Jones
You can serve on a mission trip with Maranatha! From construction to cooking to outreach, there are many ways to help, and no experience is necessary. Simply look through the opportunities listed below or visit our Volunteer Opportunities at www.maranatha.org. For more information, email us at email@example.com or call (916) 774-7700. Dominican Republic Open Team SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leadership: George Carpenter, Jon Harvey February 12 - 23, 2015
Manipur Open Team IMPHAL, INDIA Leadership: David Lopez, Terry Schwartz February 18 - March 4, 2015
Namibia Open Team KATIMA MULILO, NAMIBIA Leadership: Karen Godfrey March 17 - 29, 2015
Multiple Group Project SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Leadership: Steve Case, Luther Findley March 19 - 29, 2015
Blue Mountain Academy Open Team PENNSYLVANIA, USA Leadership: Roger Hatch, Ed Burgan, Betty Beattie March 29 - April 12, 2015
Camp Yavapines Open Team ARIZONA, USA Leadership: Judy Leeper May 4 - 13, 2015
Camp MiVoden Open Team
Thanks for Serving! The following Group Project teams are serving during the months of January - March, 2015:
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Chinook Winds Adventist Academy ALBERTA Northern California Conference CALIFORNIA Rocky Mountain Conference COLORADO Detroit Maranatha MICHIGAN
IDAHO, USA Leadership: Melody & Doug Wheeler, Jerry Wesslen May 10 - 21, 2015
Fletcher Academy NORTH CAROLINA
Ultimate Workout 25 USA
Fox Valley Adventist Church WISCONSIN
OREGON, USA Leadership: David Lopez June 17 - 28, 2015
Summer Family Project PANAMA Leadership: Steve Case June 18 - 28, 2015
Ultimate Workout 25 PANAMA Leadership: David Lopez July 22 - August 3, 2015
Young Adult Project 2015 PANAMA Leadership: To be determined August 5 - 16, 2015
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Oklahoma Conference OKLAHOMA
PANAMA Placerville Adventist Academy CALIFORNIA San Gabriel Academy CALIFORNIA Georgia Cumberland Academy GEORGIA Hendersonville Adventist Church NORTH CAROLINA Milo Adventist Academy OREGON West Houston Adventist Church TEXAS SAGE WASHINGTON
Madison Academy WISCONSIN
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THE MISSION SCENE
10 $10 numbers
CHURC H Year that a Seventh-day Adventist congregation in Battle Creek, Michigan, began asking members to give just one dime a month to go toward the construction of a new sanctuary. The program became known as the Dime Tabernacle
2,400 $10 Church banks given away
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CHURCHES FUNDED since program start
Estimated number of people who now have a place to worship because of $10 church contributions
4,301 Months it takes for your first
contribution to make a
Average number of people who give monthly to The $10 Church
Dollars donated to the $10 churCh in 2014
Year Maranatha created The $10 Church, based on the Dime Tabernacle story
Churches funded by The $10 Church last year
Other mission organizations solely devoted to building churches and schools for the Seventh-day Adventist Church
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Non-Profit U.S. Postage
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 LEGACY OF SERVICE For Don and Alice Kirkman, missions have been an important part of their lives. From their time as a young family to life after retirement, the Kirkmans have helped Maranatha to provide urgently needed buildings around the world. Now, they have partnered with the Maranatha Volunteers International Foundation to be sure that this commitment to service lives on. What will your legacy be? Call the Maranatha Foundation to speak with a Planned Giving specialist. (916) 774-7700
ON THE COVER: A view of Havana, Cuba, at sunrise. Photo by Terry Schwartz
All notices of change of address should be sent to the Maranatha Volunteers International United States address. United States Headquarters: Maranatha Volunteers International 990 Reserve Drive Suite 100 Roseville, CA 95678 Phone: (916) 774-7700 Fax: (916) 774-7701 Website: www.maranatha.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org In Canada: Maranatha Volunteers International Association c/o V06494C PO Box 6494, Station Terminal Vancouver, BC V6B 6R3 CANADA
Julie Z. Lee, Editor Carrie Purkeypile, Managing Editor Heather Bergren, Designer
The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.