Series Code: MMS
Program Code: MMS009081A
00:01 Hi, I'm Hilary Macias with the Maranatha Minute.
00:03 Since starting work in Kenya,
00:05 Maranatha has drilled
00:06 more than 30 water wells in the country.
00:09 Most of them have been located near churches or schools
00:12 where the water can serve as an outreach opportunity
00:14 to the community.
00:16 One of the villages in need of water was Chumbvieri.
00:19 This remote location is home to a Turkana tribe.
00:22 The women used to walk quite a distance
00:24 to access a well.
00:26 They would also go to a seasonal river nearby
00:28 to collect contaminated water,
00:30 putting them at risk for illness or even death.
00:33 In 2018, Maranatha drilled a new water well in Chumbvieri.
00:37 Our team recently visited the site
00:39 to see the difference water has made.
00:41 They reported that the people are no longer dehydrated
00:44 and even their animals are looking healthier
00:46 due to easy access to clean water.
00:49 Learn more about Maranatha's push for water
00:51 by watching Maranatha Mission Stories
00:53 and other videos on our app The Maranatha Channel,
00:56 now available for iPhone and android.
02:41 This is the Boa Entrada's Seventh-day Adventist Church
02:44 in the country of Sao Tome and Príncipe.
02:49 For years,
02:50 this growing congregation of believers
02:52 have met in the basement of a housing complex.
02:56 But without a real church worship could be excruciating.
03:01 Yet this is the state of many congregations in Sao Tome.
03:05 According to church leaders,
03:06 80% of the congregations in Sao Tome
03:09 do not have a proper place of worship.
03:14 Sao Tome and Príncipe is a small country of islands
03:17 located off the west coast of Central Africa.
03:20 At one time,
03:22 they were one of the world's leading exporters of cocoa.
03:26 But they have been in an economic decline
03:28 and 50% of the population lives below the poverty line.
03:33 The financial situation is no less true
03:35 for the Seventh-day Adventist membership.
03:39 Members live in humble dwellings
03:40 and generally don't have disposable income.
03:44 So the idea of building churches
03:46 felt like an impossible dream.
03:49 With limited financial resources
03:50 they needed outside help.
03:53 But Sao Tome and Principe is not a well-known place
03:56 and it's one of the smallest countries in Africa.
04:00 Who would be willing to help a country
04:02 they had never heard of?
04:04 Finding assistance would take a miracle.
04:07 So the church leaders started with an organization
04:09 that has witnessed plenty of miracles over the years.
04:40 After visiting the island to assess the need,
04:42 Maranatha committed to building churches
04:44 and school classrooms around the capital city of Sao Tome.
04:50 A little over two years later,
04:51 eight congregations have a new place of worship.
04:55 One of the congregation's with a new church
04:57 is Agua Marcal.
05:00 More than a decade ago,
05:02 this was the start of a new home
05:03 for Manuel Frota and his family.
05:06 But when the construction materials were stolen,
05:09 Manuel's meager salary as a shoe cobbler
05:11 could not afford more wood.
05:15 Then a couple years later,
05:17 Manuel, a Seventh-day Adventist
05:19 began hosting Bible studies on his property.
05:22 Soon the meetings grew into actual Sabbath worships
05:25 and the Agua Marçal congregation was born.
06:48 It was so impossible
06:49 that they almost didn't believe it
06:51 when they heard Maranatha was coming to Sao Tome.
06:54 Pastor Bonfim admits
06:55 that people were apprehensive and even asked,
06:57 "Could it be true?"
06:59 Then Maranatha arrived and built them a church.
07:17 Once hidden behind a wall in Manuel's private yard,
07:19 the new church is on a busy road
07:21 across the street from the taxi stop
07:23 which allows for plenty of visibility in the community.
07:38 The new church is just around the corner
07:40 from Manuel's house.
07:41 Every Sabbath instead of walking
07:43 across his yard to church,
07:44 he walks out his front gate and down the street.
07:48 When asked if he misses having church in his yard,
07:51 he says, "After so many years it was a little sad at first."
08:22 When we come back,
08:23 we'll visit more churches and the school campus
08:25 where your support has helped to answer prayers.
08:49 Anyone can build a church,
08:51 simply give just $10 each month
08:54 and your donation along with thousands of others
08:57 will fund a new place of worship every month.
09:01 The potential for change is all around you.
09:04 All you have to do is look.
09:10 Sao Tome and Príncipe
09:11 is Africa's second smallest country
09:14 at about a third the size of the state of Rhode Island.
09:17 Most of the world seems unaware
09:19 of this beautiful tropical destination
09:21 and its 200,000 residents.
09:24 Here on these obscure islands
09:26 there is a growing membership of Seventh-day Adventist.
10:05 Yet the Adventist Church in Sao Tome
10:07 has been unable to keep up
10:08 with infrastructure to support the growth.
10:11 There is story after story
10:13 of how congregations are struggling
10:15 to find a decent place to worship.
10:18 In the town of Angolares
10:19 missionaries brought the Adventist message
10:21 to the community in 1995.
10:24 A small group was formed
10:26 and today there are nearly 70 baptized members,
10:30 but they had no church
10:31 and met in this space below a house.
10:34 During the rainy season,
10:35 water would pool and make the ground muddy.
10:39 At Madalena a group of Adventists
10:41 met in a makeshift structure built in a woman's yard.
10:45 This space works nicely most of the time,
10:47 except when the neighbors crank up their stereos
10:50 or when the rains turn the floor
10:51 into a muddy stream.
10:54 In Folha Fede more than 100 people
10:57 packed into this basement.
10:59 It was crowded.
11:01 The rocky floor made it painful to kneel for prayer
11:03 and the homeowners
11:04 weren't always the friendliest landlords.
11:07 All three of these congregations
11:09 were in need of real churches.
11:11 But without sufficient funds to build,
11:14 all they could do was pray.
11:17 Then Maranatha arrived and things began to change.
11:21 On a Sabbath morning in January,
11:23 the Folha Fede congregation
11:25 is gathered in their basement church
11:26 for the last time.
11:28 Today is the dedication of their new church
11:31 located just down the street.
11:48 This congregation has only been meeting since 2017,
11:52 but they are an active group of young people
11:54 who worked hard to purchase and prepare the property
11:57 for Maranatha to build them a church.
12:00 One of the members called the new sanctuary
12:02 a dream come true.
12:06 In Angolares a dream came true
12:08 with the help of an unexpected and unlikely community member.
12:12 Julian Deuledier lives in the community of Angolares.
12:16 Well, not an Adventist,
12:17 he was familiar with the church.
12:20 He used to see the members gathering
12:21 in the dark muddy space under a house.
12:25 He eventually became friends
12:27 with one of the church members Paulino.
12:30 One day Paulino made a special request.
12:50 Julian had long respect of the kindness and faith
12:53 of the church members,
12:54 so he agreed to sell the prime piece of property
12:56 located just below his home on one condition.
13:09 True to his word after Maranatha built
13:12 a new church in Angolares,
13:13 Julian was baptized on the day of the dedication.
13:45 What's more, he and his friends have
13:47 a beautiful place to worship.
14:10 Churches aren't the only way
14:12 Maranatha has made an impact on the island.
14:15 Schools are a key part of evangelism
14:17 in Sao Tome and Principe.
14:19 Yet there is only one Adventist campus in the country.
14:23 The Cosme Mota Adventist School
14:25 is located on the outskirts of the capital city.
14:30 It opened a few years ago
14:31 and it was the first Adventist school to open
14:34 in nearly 50 years.
14:36 In the 1960s and 1970s, all private schools were closed
14:40 by the Portuguese communist government
14:42 which had colonized Sao Tome and Principe.
14:46 This included the Adventist school.
14:49 Independence finally came in the 1970s,
14:52 but the Adventist school never reopened.
14:55 Then in 2006,
14:57 the government gave the Adventist Church
14:58 a piece of land
15:00 and invited them to start a school.
15:03 But building a school from scratch was no easy task.
15:06 Sao Tome is struggling economically,
15:09 as is the Adventist Church in the country.
15:13 It took nine years
15:14 for the church to raise enough funds
15:16 to build classrooms and find teachers.
15:20 The Adventist Church managed
15:21 to build a small but nice campus.
15:25 Today, there are 200 students enrolled,
15:28 70 to 80% are not members of the Adventist Church,
15:31 yet parents from all over the island
15:33 send their children to Cosme Mota
15:35 because of the quality teaching and strong moral values.
15:41 The school became so popular
15:43 that the student population soon outgrew their space.
16:10 With limited space,
16:12 the school could only offer up to fourth grade.
16:15 After that children had to transfer
16:16 to government schools.
16:19 Years ago, the government gave additional land
16:21 to the school to expand the campus,
16:24 but without money to build classrooms,
16:26 the lot sat empty.
16:28 Then a few years ago,
16:29 the government made an ultimatum,
16:31 "Build now or return the property."
16:34 That's when the Adventist Church in Sao Tome
16:36 reached out to Maranatha.
16:38 And in 2018,
16:40 volunteers and crews began building the expansion.
16:43 Today there are eight new classrooms
16:45 and three bathrooms,
16:47 thanks to the generosity of Maranatha supporters.
16:50 The bright new buildings mean
16:52 that students don't have to be crammed into classrooms
16:55 and there are more grade levels for children
16:56 to continue their education
16:58 at a Christ centered institution.
18:02 When we come back,
18:03 we'll go back to Boa Entrada
18:04 the church in the dank basement of the housing complex,
18:07 we'll hear the story of one member
18:09 who spent years praying for a church
18:11 then forgot about her special request.
18:24 This June go on the Kenyan adventure of your dreams
18:28 by volunteering with us on a mission project.
18:31 From June 12 to 27,
18:33 we need your help in building classrooms
18:34 at the Kiutine Adventist School.
18:37 If construction isn't your cup of tea,
18:39 we'll also need people to organize
18:40 community outreach programs.
18:42 This is your chance to help hundreds of students
18:45 by bettering their campus.
18:47 Afterwards, you'll also have the opportunity
18:49 to visit the world famous Masai Mara for a safari.
18:52 If you can't make it to Kenya, go to Canada instead,
18:55 we'll be doing some finishing work
18:57 and other tasks at Camp Whitesand
18:59 located 30 minutes west of Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
19:02 This beautiful retreat center
19:04 is situated along the Whitesand River
19:05 in the lush forest.
19:07 The facility is in need of renovations
19:09 and we're hoping you'll lend a hand.
19:11 This project is from June 17 to 27.
19:14 As with all projects in North America,
19:16 food and lodging are provided
19:17 in exchange for your volunteer service.
19:20 For more information about Whitesand, Kenya and more
19:23 visit our website.
19:27 Boa Entrada is a settlement
19:28 located in the northern part of Sao Tome Island.
19:33 This area used to be a plantation
19:35 when Portugal occupied the country.
19:38 Now mansions that once belonged to wealthy landowners
19:41 had become a rickety rentals.
19:45 Other buildings at the plantation
19:46 are also serving as housing.
19:50 Life here is simple.
19:52 Most of the people are poor.
19:54 This area is a distance from the city
19:56 and jobs are scarce.
20:04 Ezelda Samedo has lived in Boa Entrada her entire life.
20:09 She is a colporteur
20:10 for the Seventh-day Adventist Church
20:12 and spends many days training and walking
20:14 from door-to-door to share the gospel.
20:18 But Ezelda wasn't always an Adventist.
21:12 Ezelda began watching Novo Tempo,
21:14 the Portuguese language version of the Hope Channel
21:16 which was available on the island
21:18 through an antenna.
21:20 That's where she began watching
21:22 Maranatha Historias de Missao.
21:59 The episodes were so inspiring
22:01 that Ezelda used to cry and pray after each program.
22:40 Ezelda used to pray for Maranatha
22:42 and for all the people in need.
22:44 But she would also make one more request for herself.
23:01 Her church met in the dank basement space
23:03 of a large housing complex.
23:05 It was dirty, smelly and noisy,
23:08 hardly a space worthy of the Lord.
23:11 But every Sabbath more than 60 people gathered for worship.
23:15 They needed a real church.
23:17 But the group of young people
23:18 could barely afford the poultry rent as it was.
23:22 So Ezelda continue to watch and pray
23:25 until one day her antenna broke
23:27 and she could no longer watch television.
23:30 Eventually, she forgot all about Maranatha.
23:55 Later when Maranatha returned,
23:57 Ezelda was still skeptical
23:59 as to why they were at her church.
24:12 Then at a pastor's house
24:14 she saw an issue of Maranatha's volunteer magazine
24:17 with a story about Sao Tome inside.
24:36 The Boa Entrada Church was the first church
24:38 Maranatha completed in Sao Tome.
24:41 Today the new church
24:42 is not hidden away in a basement
24:43 but along the main road.
24:46 Everyone coming in and out of Boa Entrada
24:49 will see the beautiful sanctuary.
25:25 For Ezelda, there is an added benefit.
25:28 The new church is located just 100 yards from her home.
25:32 She can be at worship or Bible study
25:34 in just a couple minutes.
25:37 It's a great bonus
25:38 but Ezelda is just thrilled to have an actual church.
25:42 The first Sabbath the group worship in the church
25:44 was a special day for Ezelda.
26:16 This is been the theme of the work in Sao Tome.
26:20 Over and over people have said
26:22 that the new churches have been an answer to prayer,
26:25 a dream come true, a miracle from God.
26:30 After all, it does seem unlikely
26:32 that people would choose to travel
26:33 to a remote island to help strangers in need.
26:38 But the people of Sao Tome were patient and diligent
26:41 in their prayers.
26:42 They believed that God would provide
26:44 in their time of need.
27:06 Today there are eight new churches in Sao Tome
27:09 and eight new classrooms.
27:12 It won't fulfill all the needs
27:14 for the Adventist Church in Sao Tome,
27:16 but it's a start.
27:17 And each congregation is eager to share their space
27:20 and the gospel message with friends and neighbors.
27:24 Already they are making a big difference
27:26 in their communities.
27:29 Some of these projects still need funding.
27:31 If you are willing to help sponsor
27:33 the cost of construction in Sao Tome,
27:35 contact the number on your screen
27:36 or visit our website to make an online donation.
27:40 Every dollar makes a difference
27:42 in supporting the mission of Maranatha.
27:45 And if you can't help now, please pray
27:48 as we have seen from our brothers and sisters
27:50 in Sao Tome,
27:51 every prayer is heard.
27:55 The Lord never forgets.
27:57 And in time He will answer.