Maranatha Mission Stories

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: MMS

Program Code: MMS009091A

00:01 Hi, I'm Hillary Macias with the Maranatha Minute.
00:03 While Maranatha is most known for our projects overseas,
00:07 we actually coordinate quite a few projects
00:09 in North America.
00:10 There are plenty of churches, schools, summer camps
00:13 and retreat centers that need help
00:15 in renovating their existing structures
00:17 or building new ones.
00:19 One of the more recent North America projects
00:22 took place in British Columbia, Canada at Camp Hope.
00:25 Seventy volunteers arrived
00:27 at the summer camp and conference center
00:29 to frame cabins, paint, landscape,
00:32 and help with electrical work.
00:34 The team ranged in age
00:35 from 7 years old to 82 years young.
00:38 These North America projects are a great way for people
00:41 to get involved in service
00:43 without having to travel too far from home.
00:46 You can hear all the ways
00:47 Maranatha Volunteers are making a difference
00:49 in North America and beyond
00:52 by coming to this year's convention
00:53 in Sacramento, California,
00:55 September 20 - 21.
00:57 Visit our website for more information.
01:24 2019 marks the 50th year
01:26 of Maranatha Volunteers Internationals Mission
01:29 to provide urgently needed structures
01:31 around the world.
01:40 It is one of the most active supporting ministries
01:43 of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
01:45 having worked in nearly 90 countries
01:47 around the world.
01:52 What's more,
01:53 it has mobilized thousands of people
01:55 on short term mission trips,
01:57 experiences that have changed countless lives
02:00 and inspired a culture of service
02:01 in the Adventist Church.
02:08 When you look at the constant activity
02:10 of Maranatha Missions today,
02:12 it's hard to remember a time
02:13 when the work was just starting,
02:15 and the workers were few,
02:19 when Maranatha was still an idea,
02:22 and not yet a movement.
02:30 Today, we'll take a look back
02:32 at the humble beginnings of our organization,
02:35 and some of the key people whose tireless work
02:37 and passion for service charted a course
02:40 that would result in a movement
02:41 greater than they could have even imagined.
02:48 1969,
02:50 the average cost of a new house $15,550,
02:56 a new car $3,270, gas was 35 cents a gallon.
03:03 There were Vietnam War protests
03:04 as the US enlisted a lot of rebates to draft.
03:08 It was the year, a man first walked on the moon.
03:13 Another significant event was taking shape in 1969.
03:18 It began when John and Ida Mae Freeman
03:21 visited the Eight Mile Rock Church
03:22 in Freeport Grand Bahama while on vacation,
03:27 they found a church half built unoccupied.
03:32 John saw situation that
03:33 with a little imagination could be corrected.
03:37 With the Eight Mile Rock pastor and members,
03:40 he organized what we might call a church bay,
03:44 except instead of local church members
03:46 coming to help finish the church,
03:48 he would enlist church members from the United States
03:51 and they came all volunteers
03:55 on the very first Maranatha project.
03:58 When we went down there
03:59 on our first project in Eight Mile Rock
04:03 after Maranatha started, we took 26 young people with us
04:09 and when we started out, we worked on this project,
04:12 they picked us up, took us out all day,
04:14 they brought us lunch at noon,
04:17 then after about second or third day,
04:19 the local pastor came to us.
04:20 He said, "You know,
04:22 I have a confession to make to you."
04:23 I said, "What's that?"
04:25 He says, "When you folk wrote down here
04:28 and said you were coming down to finish this job,
04:31 we had to put you up,
04:33 we had to feed you and so forth.
04:34 We just figured a bunch of you Americans
04:37 coming down here to live off a bus
04:39 for Christmas vacation."
04:40 And he says,
04:42 "When we see how hard you are working
04:43 and none of our people are out there helping you."
04:46 He says, "I have a confession to make."
04:48 And we finished that church in two weeks time.
04:52 This was the birth of Maranatha Flights International,
04:55 a growing group of mission minded
04:57 Seventh-day Adventists,
04:59 taking the concept of a barn raising
05:01 and applying it to churches.
05:05 John, an Adventist, liked the word Maranatha,
05:09 an Aramaic word that means Jesus is coming.
05:13 Flights made sense
05:15 because early on the projects required people
05:17 to fly by private aircraft to the location
05:21 and international was appropriate
05:23 because the mission was most often outside the US.
05:28 Projects multiplied
05:30 and the Freeman's enlisted experienced contractors
05:33 and inexperienced church members
05:35 to bring their passion for service
05:37 directly to the mission field.
05:40 As the ministry grew, key people joined the mission,
05:44 people who would make a lasting impact
05:46 on the direction of Maranatha.
05:49 Dad had some gifts to begin with.
05:52 He had imagination.
05:53 He was always been really creative, and ideas,
05:58 but he needed other people to help carry them out.
06:01 How it played out, I think was just like,
06:04 wow, somebody had a hand in this other than just us.
06:08 Other people started coming in and it just kind of grew
06:11 and I think Dad became very grateful for that.
06:16 People like Don Kirkman, for years,
06:18 architect and board member Don Kirkman,
06:21 had been designing and building churches in Mexico
06:24 with his business partner, David Hansel.
06:27 Then in 1972, they learned about a Maranatha project
06:31 in the Northwest Territories of Canada.
06:34 Don decided to go to Yellowknife
06:36 and he also brought a contractor and friend,
06:38 Van Vanden Heuvel along for the ride.
06:41 Van was a contractor
06:43 and owned a successful plumbing business in Arizona.
06:46 Typically, he would have been too busy to go,
06:49 but he had been recovering
06:50 from a broken leg and was restless.
06:53 Van decided to join Don
06:54 and a large group of volunteers bound for the project
06:57 known as Yellowknife.
07:00 Maranatha was in its infancy,
07:03 but word spread across North America
07:05 and 140 volunteers in 23 private airplanes
07:09 demonstrated that lay people
07:11 could find a place in the church's mission.
07:14 Well, I think Yellowknife played a very important part
07:17 in Maranatha
07:19 because I think it more or less
07:24 sent a signal to the world church
07:26 that it was good for the church,
07:30 good for the people.
07:32 Leon Slikkers, another businessman
07:34 and friend of John Freeman,
07:36 began taking his family to the mission field.
07:40 My earliest memories of Maranatha being talked about
07:42 was when my father communicated
07:45 that we were going to be flying in his airplane
07:49 to Yellowknife Northwest Territories.
07:52 Tom Slikkers recalled the wonder of seeing a church
07:55 go up so quickly.
07:57 Even as a kid,
07:59 it was pretty amazing to me
08:00 to see the scale of the building,
08:02 the size of what was being undertaken,
08:06 to be able to watch that kind of come up
08:08 and then have church in it, you know.
08:11 Two Saturdays into the deal, that was pretty incredible.
08:17 Leon Slikkers joined the board of Maranatha,
08:20 helping shape the organization and structure.
08:23 Don Kirkman began volunteering his architect skills
08:26 to design Maranatha structures.
08:29 For Van Vanden Heuvel,
08:31 Yellowknife ignited a life transformation.
08:34 He couldn't wait to do it again,
08:36 and convinced his wife Fay
08:38 to join them at a project not too far from home
08:41 at the Holbrook Indian School in Arizona
08:44 and it changed their life.
08:46 It was amazing to me that people that had come
08:48 from all across the country to Holbrook to help
08:53 and that went over quite well.
08:57 But then before I knew it,
08:58 he had signed up to go to Honduras.
09:02 Van sold his business and eventually his home.
09:06 Van and Fay began volunteering for Maranatha full time.
09:11 They went on to be instrumental
09:13 in developing Maranatha's mission and vision
09:15 for the next several decades.
09:17 We didn't have the slightest idea
09:19 what we were doing
09:20 but with God showing us the way,
09:23 we went ahead and were successful,
09:26 not because of something that we have done,
09:28 but because what He is doing through us.
09:32 Ida Mae Freeman saw the hand of God
09:34 in this grassroots ministry.
09:36 I knew this was something that, that we couldn't do ourselves,
09:41 I knew that it was something
09:43 that God had put into John's mind to do,
09:46 and that's why I felt that
09:48 I should encourage him in everything he do
09:50 because other than that, it wasn't going to succeed.
09:54 But, if He was with us,
09:57 I knew He was with us and I knew it
09:59 was something that the Lord wanted us to do
10:02 and not for any glory of our own
10:04 but for encouraging our family, our children
10:10 and we really started the whole thing
10:13 for young people.
10:14 It was because our girls were at that age
10:18 and it was something that they were excited about it.
10:22 It was fun to see them get excited
10:25 about helping other people.
10:30 I'd say, Lord, help us
10:32 to finish the work that needs to be done.
10:35 Every job is a miracle.
10:38 There is no way that we can build these churches
10:42 without You helping us.
10:44 And so we need all the help we can get.
10:47 We know we have to finish the work.
10:49 You've asked us to go out and spread the gospel.
10:52 There's nothing that I can do.
10:54 It's your program, Lord, it's not what I'm doing.
10:58 This attitude of faith
11:00 continues to drive the mission of Maranatha today.
11:03 Since that first vision, Maranatha has built churches,
11:07 schools, clinics, homes,
11:10 and water wells in nearly 90 countries.
11:15 The decision to go
11:16 is always predicated on need and faith.
11:19 And since the inception of Maranatha,
11:21 the hand of God has touched people
11:23 to support this vital mission.
11:28 Well, really, I think the thing that Maranatha has done
11:31 for more than any people,
11:34 in spite of all these people that would continually tell me,
11:38 "This is the most foolish thing we've ever heard of."
11:41 I said, "You do not know what this does
11:43 to the people going on these projects."
11:46 I say, "It changes their life."
11:48 And we've found this to be true over and over and over again.
11:52 When these people come back from these projects,
11:55 they are so enthused over it.
11:57 They help out more in church than they ever did before.
12:01 It changes life of people
12:03 and that's what this is all about.
12:05 The Lord is about to come,
12:07 we need to all change our lives,
12:08 we need an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
12:10 That's what Maranatha is doing with these people today
12:13 going on these projects.
12:19 The faith and commitment of Maranatha's founders
12:22 created a strong foundation for the organization.
12:26 But it's people like you
12:28 that helped to push our work into the future.
12:32 If you haven't already,
12:33 consider becoming a part of the Maranatha family.
12:37 Visit our website
12:38 to discover all the ways you can be involved.
12:42 When we come back, we'll travel to the Caribbean
12:44 where church members on the island of Dominica
12:47 are drawing strength from God in the midst of disaster,
12:50 and Maranatha is helping to give them hope.
13:04 Each year more than 2200 people travel all over the world
13:08 to serve with Maranatha,
13:10 the ways they serve and the locations they help
13:13 are as varied as the people
13:14 that participate on these projects.
13:17 Maybe you're wondering
13:18 how missions can be part of your life.
13:20 Let's take a minute
13:21 and look at one of the ways you can get involved.
13:24 Can mission trips be a family experience?
13:27 At Maranatha, the answer is yes.
13:31 Maranatha family projects are mission trips
13:34 designed with families in mind.
13:36 Worship, work, and even play
13:39 is aimed toward family togetherness.
13:41 There are no age limits,
13:43 and everyone is welcome to join from 2 to 82.
13:48 Maranatha offers family projects
13:51 two to three times a year
13:52 during Christmas and the summer.
13:56 Get more details
13:57 on all of Maranatha's volunteer opportunities
13:59 at
14:15 These women spend 560 minutes a day fetching water.
14:23 Water is life.
14:26 But your life shouldn't revolve around water.
14:34 We're raising money for water wells.
14:38 Make a donation.
14:43 Give women the gift of time,
14:47 health, family.
14:53 Sponsor a well.
14:56 Give water, give life.
15:05 In September of 2017,
15:08 tragedy struck the Caribbean
15:09 as hurricane Maria swept across the region.
15:14 Thousands were left homeless and hopeless
15:17 including residents on the island of Dominica.
15:21 In the days following the disaster,
15:23 people were longing for community,
15:25 a center to heal
15:27 from the effects of the hurricane.
15:29 For the Seventh-day Adventist community,
15:30 there were few places to go
15:32 as the majority of the churches were destroyed.
15:36 Today, thanks to the generous support
15:38 of Maranatha donors and volunteers,
15:40 one community of faith has received new hope
15:43 through the reconstruction of their church.
15:50 It was a category five hurricane,
15:53 the highest category possible.
15:55 On September 18, 2017,
15:58 Hurricane Maria struck the island of Dominica,
16:01 leaving catastrophic devastation in her wake.
16:04 After battling the storm overnight,
16:06 residents awoke to a new reality.
16:09 A country known for its natural beauty
16:11 was stripped of trees.
16:13 50,000 of its 73,000 residents were displaced
16:18 and an estimated 85 to 90% of the structures on Dominica
16:23 were damaged or destroyed.
16:25 I walked down and everywhere I am going,
16:27 it's just Wow.
16:31 We're not going to come out from this.
16:33 That's what I felt.
16:35 Jeff Letang is a plumber and lives with his family
16:38 in the northern part of the island.
16:40 They were a part of the fortunate minority,
16:42 and their house sustained little damage in the storm.
16:46 The same was not true for their spiritual home.
16:50 When I woke up in the morning, in anticipation,
16:53 I ran to the back door.
16:56 And I opened and I looked,
16:58 and I saw everywhere I could never seen before.
17:02 And I saw, when I looked for the church,
17:05 all I saw was the front part of the balcony,
17:09 and I went, whoa, I screamed out
17:11 and woke up my entire family, "Maria, Marshchapel Church."
17:16 I just couldn't take it.
17:17 I had to, I just let it out,
17:20 and when the other members came here,
17:22 and they saw what it was like, nothing's there,
17:26 the church is merged in flood.
17:28 Jeff and his family attend
17:29 the Beryl Seventh-day Adventist Church,
17:31 and he's been a part of the congregation
17:33 all of his life.
17:34 His home sits across the valley from the church.
17:37 He remembers when Maranatha Volunteers came
17:39 and built the church in 1989.
17:42 The beautiful structure created a sense of pride
17:44 for their congregation.
17:46 But now, it was just a memory.
17:49 We couldn't believe it because we really thought
17:52 that it could have withstood the wind to some extent,
17:54 but the wind made mincemeat of that.
17:58 So it was really emotional
17:59 and we're already asking ourselves,
18:02 where we are we going to go?
18:03 What are we going to do?
18:04 How we're going to build that one building.
18:06 That's all, it was heart wrenching.
18:10 The situation wasn't unique to the Beryl members,
18:13 28 of the 34 Adventist churches on the island
18:16 were damaged or destroyed,
18:18 leaving members scrambling
18:19 to meet in any place they could.
18:22 Although their church was gone,
18:24 members continue to meet first in the pastor's home
18:27 and then with the Pennville congregation,
18:29 a group planted by the Beryl Church.
18:31 Worshipping together was challenging,
18:33 but Jeff and others saw it as a necessity,
18:36 especially in the days following the hurricane.
18:38 God is important to me.
18:41 He's the source of my strength.
18:43 I have learned not to depend on nobody else, but God.
18:47 And when I come here,
18:49 I find joy in worshiping Him, giving Him praise.
18:53 I find strength in the fellowship
18:54 with the other men, we meet, we talk,
18:56 we express ourselves,
18:57 we tell ourselves what's happening.
18:59 We encourage each other.
19:00 And without this church,
19:02 I don't think I have much to help support me through.
19:07 For many, attending church was a hardship.
19:10 The new location was far from members homes
19:12 and not everyone had transportation.
19:15 The congregation began to raise funds
19:17 to help transport members to church.
19:19 But attendance was still sporadic.
19:22 Everyone attends, but not regularly.
19:26 You have some people, you see them this week,
19:28 some next week,
19:29 sometimes two weeks, you don't see any,
19:30 that first particular individual
19:32 and then you see them coming.
19:34 So I think it's certainly disrupting church attendance.
19:38 Members were struggling to rebuild their homes
19:40 and carve out new lives amid the devastation.
19:43 Rebuilding their church
19:45 seemed out of the realm of possibility.
19:47 Despite the grim situation, Jeff refused to lose hope.
19:51 Our God is the God of the impossibility.
19:54 I learned that pretty much in the storm.
19:56 God has moved upon the hearts of people elsewhere,
19:59 and they have really blessed us with assistance,
20:03 for this we'll ever be grateful.
20:06 And it has taught me to rely upon God.
20:08 So even if things seems to be bleak,
20:10 and things are not as it ought to be,
20:13 I'm not complaining.
20:15 Two months after the hurricane,
20:17 Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders
20:18 reached out to Maranatha
20:20 for help rebuilding structures in Dominica.
20:23 Maranatha committed to reconstructing
20:25 a few church buildings.
20:26 First on the list was Beryl.
20:30 Construction on the new church started in May of 2018,
20:34 and several volunteer teams traveled to Dominica
20:36 to help erect the structure and build the walls.
20:39 In the beginning of March 2019,
20:41 the building was almost ready to dedicate,
20:44 but not without a few finishing touches
20:46 from a special set of volunteers.
21:02 Some of the funding donated to construct the church
21:04 was given in honor of John and Ida Mae Freeman,
21:07 who founded Maranatha in 1969.
21:10 The Caribbean had special significance
21:12 for John and Ida Mae
21:13 who died in 2017, and 2018, respectively.
21:17 The Beryl Church seemed a fitting memorial
21:20 to the couple who dedicated much of their lives
21:22 to spreading the gospel
21:23 through the construction of urgently needed buildings.
21:27 Family members of the Freeman's
21:28 not only donated to the project,
21:30 but also traveled to Dominica to finish the building
21:33 and dedicate the new sanctuary.
21:35 The group included four of John and Ida Mae's daughters.
21:39 I've told my sisters, this would be amazing.
21:42 Mom and dad would wanna be so proud
21:44 that all of us girls were here
21:46 because through our lives, we were busy living life,
21:48 and we weren't all as involved
21:50 as they would have liked us to spend.
21:53 So having us all here, helping them build it.
21:56 It's very emotional.
21:59 We were just so pleased when we saw the church,
22:02 and we saw the architecture,
22:06 we saw the love, and the time,
22:08 and the interest that was put
22:09 into making this just a beautiful sanctuary.
22:13 I think that this will really be a congregation
22:17 that appreciates what Maranatha has done,
22:20 and it's been a blessing for me
22:23 to just see that this has grown over the last 50 years.
22:27 And you know, when it first started,
22:30 we didn't know how long this would go on.
22:32 It's just blossomed from there.
22:34 And it's very heart warming.
22:35 It's very meaningful to us,
22:37 as children to see what a legacy that he left.
22:42 On March 9th, nearly 50 years
22:44 after the Freeman's first Maranatha mission trip,
22:47 more than 300 people
22:48 packed into the church for the dedication.
22:51 Church leaders and members alike express their gratitude
22:54 for the gift of a new sanctuary.
22:56 The reconstruction of this church
22:58 symbolizes a new start for Adventist on the island
23:01 Having a church rebuild
23:03 is like the nation is rebuilt also
23:08 and more for us,
23:12 it means that the Church of God is taking the new step
23:19 to continue the mission we have here in this island.
23:24 Witnessing a new building rise from the devastation
23:27 is already making an impact in the community.
23:31 There are lots of persons who build in a church.
23:35 And they are friends of the Adventist Church,
23:38 people we have been speaking
23:40 with and just having a new church erected.
23:44 It would be an incentive for them
23:47 to come to see the church
23:49 and since it's so well constructed,
23:52 it's so beautiful.
23:53 I think that in itself can want people
23:55 just to make the church ideal church.
23:58 So I think that's an incentive in that.
23:59 It will motivate people to want to be part
24:04 of the fellowship and membership here.
24:06 Church being so special would add to that.
24:10 The completion of this church represents an impossible dream
24:14 and a complete answer to prayer.
24:17 I just can't express my gratitude.
24:21 I will be eternally grateful to Maranatha and I know,
24:25 the Beryl Church will always be remembering Maranatha
24:29 for that wonderful and spectacular gift.
24:33 I think I have not seen all those that you have built.
24:35 I think it's one of the best.
24:36 And we are thankful that you looked at us
24:39 and found us worthy of receiving
24:42 such a wonderful gift from you all.
24:52 The Beryl Church is just one of the congregations
24:55 Maranatha is helping in Dominica.
24:58 Currently, we're constructing a new community center
25:01 for the Wesley congregation,
25:02 enabling them to continue
25:03 their previously active outreach activities.
25:08 We're also building structures for several other congregations
25:11 who no longer have a proper place to worship.
25:14 You can help with the reconstruction effort
25:16 by making a donation.
25:18 Your generous support
25:19 is what makes restoration possible in Dominica.
25:22 Make a gift at
25:25 or call the number on your screen.
25:39 From July 8 to 22,
25:41 help Maranatha with a major renovation project
25:43 in Pennsylvania at Pine Forge Academy.
25:47 The work will involve masonry, painting,
25:49 replacing awnings and windows, and rebuilding a staircase.
25:53 Pine Forge Academy is a boarding school
25:55 for grades 9 through 12.
25:56 It was established in 1946
25:59 and sits on historical property with connections
26:00 to William Penn, George Washington
26:03 and the Underground Railroad.
26:05 Come help with this project located at a historical site.
26:09 Then from July 22 to August 4,
26:11 we're looking for volunteers
26:12 to join Maranatha's annual Young Adult Project.
26:15 This group will be working at the Kuitine School in Kenya
26:18 to build retaining walls and other block work
26:20 remaining on the campus.
26:22 At the end of the project, join us on a safari excursion
26:25 in the world famous Amboseli National Park
26:28 with amazing views of Mount Kilimanjaro.
26:30 The Young Adult Project is specially designed
26:32 for volunteers ages 18 to 35 years old.
26:35 Learn more about these trips on our website.
26:42 Over the last 50 years,
26:44 Maranatha has grown from a group
26:45 of mission minded family and friends to a movement
26:48 that mobilizes more than 2200 volunteers
26:51 in numerous countries each year.
26:58 In five decades, God has blessed our work,
27:01 allowing us to respond to more urgent needs
27:03 around the world.
27:08 We respond through the construction of churches,
27:10 moving congregations out of sheds
27:12 and into beautiful sanctuaries.
27:19 We respond through the construction of schools,
27:22 expanding opportunities for children
27:24 to learn about their world and the God who created it.
27:30 We respond through the drilling of wells,
27:32 bringing life sustaining water to those who lack it.
27:41 We respond through service,
27:44 providing opportunities for people to share Jesus
27:46 or maybe find Him for themselves.
27:52 The scale may have changed
27:54 but the mission remains the same,
27:56 to transform lives.


Revised 2019-07-12