Series Code: MMS
Program Code: MMS009141A
00:01 Hi, I'm Hilary Macias with the Maranatha Minute.
00:03 The West Houston Seventh-day Adventist Church team
00:05 wrapped up their mission trip to Panama,
00:07 where they built the Brisas del Rio Church.
00:10 Fifty-seven volunteers worked on raising the walls
00:13 of the church building.
00:14 They also organized a dental clinic
00:16 and a children's ministry program.
00:18 The Brisas del Rio group started meeting three years ago
00:21 and met in a home for worship.
00:23 They eventually rented a space
00:25 but now with 35 baptized members,
00:27 they are excited to finally have a real church
00:30 for their growing congregation.
00:32 This will be the last construction
00:33 and volunteer project in Panama for this most recent effort.
00:37 Maranatha's first major effort in Panama
00:39 took place in the mid 1990s
00:41 and involved the construction of churches and schools.
00:44 It was a catalyst for significant growth
00:47 for the church in Panama.
00:48 Learn more about all of Maranatha's efforts
00:50 around the world by coming to Mission Maranatha,
00:53 September 19-21 in Sacramento, California.
00:56 Register online for this event, and we'll see you there.
01:21 Popular culture would have you believe
01:23 that the teenage years were a time
01:25 to celebrate aimlessness, wandering
01:27 or foolhardy decisions.
01:29 But in this episode of Maranatha Mission Stories,
01:31 we're focusing on another side of youth,
01:34 teens who are breaking the mould by daring to serve
01:37 and connect with the world in meaningful ways.
01:42 First, in honor of Maranatha's
01:43 50th anniversary,
01:45 we'll take a look at a program
01:46 that's been bringing teenagers closer
01:48 to Christ for nearly 30 years.
02:06 In the 1980s,
02:07 the United States witnessed a seismic cultural shift,
02:11 as the nation emerged from the turmoil
02:13 of the previous decade.
02:17 In response to the counterculture movement
02:19 of the 1970s,
02:20 young Americans began embracing monetary
02:22 and professional success.
02:27 The yuppie became somewhat of an icon of the '80s,
02:31 symbolizing wealth, status and greed.
02:38 On the popular culture front,
02:40 teenagers witnessed
02:41 the emergence of new technology,
02:44 a new health crisis
02:47 and a new type of television.
02:50 The pop culture machine was everywhere.
02:55 It was at the tail end of this decade
02:57 that Maranatha Volunteers International
02:59 came upon a new program,
03:01 aimed at the very young people
03:03 who are being consumed by this lifestyle.
03:06 It was an antidote to the times,
03:08 and a spiritual revelation for teens.
03:12 Insight was a youth magazine
03:14 published by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
03:16 One day while at the gym with a friend,
03:19 the editor had an idea.
03:21 He was working out with a friend at a convention.
03:24 And they said, "This is what we do
03:25 for our physical bodies,
03:26 what can we do for our spiritual growth?"
03:28 And so, they decided that the way
03:31 that young people can work out
03:34 is through service.
03:36 Insight came up with the idea
03:38 of a teens only mission experience.
03:40 And in 1990,
03:41 they launched what was named the Trip.
03:52 The next year,
03:53 Insight asked Maranatha to coordinate the effort,
03:56 and they would market the project in their magazine.
04:00 The Trip was reborn as the Ultimate Workout
04:03 and 19 volunteers headed to Honduras.
04:06 Are we smiling? Are we happy?
04:13 From then on, the program steadily grew,
04:15 adding a handful of people at a time.
04:18 By the time Steve Case got involved in 1993,
04:22 the number of participants had increased
04:24 and the workload was outgrowing the small team at Maranatha.
04:29 Steve, a youth pastor was among those
04:32 who helped to coordinate the effort at home and abroad.
04:36 You had to talk with every parent of every kid,
04:39 and it just simply took too much time.
04:41 It was too costly for Maranatha to do it.
04:43 So the lead into it just was so time consuming.
04:46 So I was told,
04:48 "Steve, you're going to go on this Ultimate Workout.
04:51 And you just so you know, this is the last one.
04:55 We just can't afford it."
04:57 Steve understood the reasoning.
04:59 But when he returned from the project,
05:01 he was convinced otherwise.
05:03 The positive impact on the participants
05:06 was too powerful to give up.
05:08 I came back and had a very serious conversation
05:11 with the President
05:12 of Maranatha Volunteers International in his office.
05:16 And I spoke to him not as a friend,
05:18 but this was a professional conversation,
05:20 and I let him know in no uncertain terms
05:23 that this had to continue.
05:26 I understood that I was supposed to stop it,
05:30 but, "As the President of Maranatha,
05:32 Don Noble, you must keep this going.
05:35 In fact, if you don't,
05:37 you'll have to quit calling yourself a Christian."
05:41 I was pretty worked up.
05:43 And I remember him laughing out loud,
05:46 which was not the response
05:49 I was expecting, or deserving.
05:53 And finally I said, "Why are you laughing?
05:55 I'm being serious here."
05:57 And he said, "Don't you get it?"
06:00 I said, "Yes, I get it. You need to keep this going.
06:02 And you're not willing to do it."
06:03 He said, "You still don't get it, do you?"
06:05 "Get what?"
06:07 He said, "You're the one.
06:10 You're supposed to lead it."
06:19 What do you supposed to say?
06:21 Steve said, "Yes."
06:25 Steve led the Ultimate Workout for the next 20 years,
06:28 using his background in youth ministry
06:30 to hone a spiritually powerful project for teens
06:34 with three core components.
06:38 Number one, it seeks to have
06:40 a spiritually transforming experience
06:42 for the participants.
06:44 That's a high order, and we go for it.
06:57 And number two is quality constructed buildings,
07:00 which is a challenge when you have
07:02 unskilled teenagers.
07:04 So you have to have some key leaders
07:05 who are willing to mentor and teach.
07:13 And number three is to supplement
07:16 what the church is already doing
07:17 to spread the gospel in whatever location we're in.
07:21 As a result,
07:22 volunteers return year after year, transformed.
07:27 It's a life changing experience
07:30 that I want to have every year.
07:33 I come back, and I feel like
07:36 I'm revived all over again.
07:38 Ultimate Workout is not just about
07:40 going to a different place and seeing new things.
07:43 It's about connecting with other people doing,
07:46 you know, doing the Lord's work,
07:48 and you're really going on a journey for yourself
07:52 looking inside yourself.
07:54 Before my Ultimate Workout experience,
07:56 I felt distant from God.
07:58 And after this trip, it was just like
08:01 a completely different feeling in me.
08:03 And I felt like a better person after it.
08:07 I felt like I've made a difference in someone's life.
08:10 And, but it was a really good feeling.
08:12 And it really helped me to connect with God.
08:18 On this trip I never really prayed on my own,
08:21 like before we ate as a family,
08:23 we would pray and thank Him for the food.
08:26 But like when I woke up and never thanked Him
08:29 for waking me up, or when I went to bed,
08:31 I never thank Him for keeping me alive
08:35 throughout the day and keeping me safe.
08:36 When I go home,
08:38 I know I'm going to change some things in my family
08:41 about connecting with Christ and praying.
08:46 Today, Ultimate Workout is Maranatha's biggest project.
08:50 And the trip draws anywhere
08:51 from 100 to 200 volunteers each year.
08:55 There have been more than 3,900 volunteer experiences
08:59 in the past three decades.
09:02 While most years, the projects are in Latin America.
09:05 Twice, Ultimate Workout landed in the United States.
09:11 Twice, they headed to India.
09:16 And this year,
09:17 Ultimate Workout went to Africa for the first time.
09:23 Nearly three decades since the launch,
09:26 interest in Ultimate Workout
09:27 shows no signs of slowing down.
09:31 Here's my analysis
09:33 of why Ultimate Workout is so potent.
09:35 It's normal in adolescent development
09:38 to find out what your identity is.
09:41 That's just part of normal human development.
09:43 And the way you find out what it is,
09:45 as you compare it with what it has been,
09:47 you're coming of age, and you start to push back
09:50 against the powers that are there,
09:51 namely your parents or other authority structures.
09:54 If you go on another project, say with your congregation,
09:57 with your school, with your family,
09:59 those people know you, and still has a high impact
10:03 but you don't have that brand new start.
10:05 You know, the Bible says, "If anyone is in Christ,
10:08 they are a new creation or a new creature.
10:12 The old is gone, a new life has begun."
10:14 Well, that truly happens on Ultimate Workout,
10:18 and you see it and it's just truly amazing.
10:21 You come here as a stranger,
10:23 you come here as just a new person, a new face.
10:27 And you get to share that story
10:30 and you get to grow
10:34 in just two weeks,
10:35 and it's incredible how much you grow.
10:39 It's just the connection with God
10:42 and the connection that you get to have with everybody here.
10:46 It's a breath of fresh air
10:47 because you get to be away from all the distractions,
10:51 everything that's keeping you back
10:53 from having a relationship with God
10:54 and you're in a different country
10:55 that we don't know.
10:57 And just having that relationship
10:59 is just amazing.
11:02 When we come back, we meet another group of teens
11:04 who are serving the mission field
11:06 in a different way, from home.
11:30 Anyone can build a church,
11:31 simply give just $10 each month,
11:34 and your donation along with thousands of others
11:37 will fund a new place of worship every month.
11:41 The potential for change is all around you.
11:45 All you have to do is look.
11:50 For most of us watching clean water is a given.
11:53 A commodity taken for granted
11:55 as it pours from our faucets with reckless abandon.
11:59 Yet there are many parts of the world
12:01 where water of any kind is a rare gift.
12:04 In a privileged enclave of Southern California,
12:07 a group of girls heard about this water crisis.
12:09 Specifically, they learned of the plight of women in Kenya
12:12 who have to walk miles for clean water.
12:15 So they decided to do something
12:16 by walking a mile or two in their shoes.
12:28 This is Del Mar Mesa,
12:29 an attractive development in the suburbs of San Diego.
12:37 Here long before the neighborhood developed
12:39 and right in its heart is Hooterville Estates.
12:44 The new developers wanted to buy the property
12:46 but were turned away.
12:48 Hooterville remains.
12:50 Its eclectic presence
12:52 announcing itself at the entrance.
12:57 The seven acre ranch has become beloved
12:59 by the neighbors, especially those with children.
13:04 Preserving a time and spirit that suburbs off and erode.
13:08 Hooterville's owners and residents
13:10 Elizabeth and Mike Rabbitt
13:12 nurture a way of life
13:13 that once was common on these hillsides.
13:18 Today however, we haven't come for the eggs.
13:23 What you guys doing?
13:26 Elizabeth has made the ranch the starting place
13:29 for the First Annual FAV and Friends Walk for Water.
13:33 The trick is keeping the goats from eating the sign.
13:42 But how did Elizabeth Rabbitt and Hooterville
13:45 become the vortex of the FAV and Friends Walk for Water?
13:55 Elizabeth first learned of the water crisis in Africa
13:57 while volunteering on mission trips
13:59 with Maranatha.
14:01 Having seen the life changing effect
14:04 a well brings to communities there.
14:06 Elizabeth freely shared her passion for water wells
14:09 with her neighbors back at home.
14:14 This included Mia Goldman and Emma Reeves,
14:16 two young women who have known Elizabeth
14:18 since they were little kids.
14:19 They're all wonderful, aren't they?
14:21 And then we have...
14:22 Miss Elizabeth has always been kind of this neighbor
14:25 that I was kind of growing up.
14:26 I've lived here since I was two,
14:29 and I've always looked at store.
14:31 "Oh, my gosh, that farm is amazing."
14:33 I wonder who lives there.
14:34 And finally, I get to meet this amazing woman, Elizabeth,
14:38 who's kind of just this creative person,
14:41 does what she wants,
14:42 built her own things, raises horses,
14:45 and she's kind of just been a role model to me,
14:47 probably since I was a little girl.
14:50 And I've always kind of wanted to be like her.
14:52 I met Elizabeth from, when I was like three,
14:55 when we moved here.
14:57 I always looked up to her.
14:58 I've just seen this crazy place with having all these horses
15:02 and having me be into horses, it really just made me...
15:06 She just inspired me.
15:07 And by chance and fate,
15:09 I was so lucky to be able to keep my horses here.
15:11 And I think over time our families have bonded.
15:14 And we really just spent a lot of time together.
15:17 My girls in this neighborhood
15:19 that they've been coming to my ranch here
15:23 since they were, you know, 4, 5, 6 years old.
15:26 They were tiny.
15:28 And they hang out here and we were painting
15:31 and they were talking about going to college.
15:33 And they knew I had been to Africa.
15:34 And they were asking me questions
15:36 about what I learned, what it was like.
15:40 And they started just like brainstorming
15:42 and I don't know, really whose idea it was.
15:44 And then they said, "Well, we could do this.
15:46 And we could do that."
15:47 And then they said, "Well, we have this club,
15:50 Female Athlete Volunteers."
15:51 And we have to find projects for them
15:54 in order to get points, and the club has to sponsor
15:58 so many events a year.
16:01 And so that's how it started.
16:04 FAV is Female Athlete Volunteers.
16:07 And it is an amazing group of young women,
16:11 especially in San Diego.
16:13 It's got about 200 plus members now,
16:15 and it's something I've been a part of
16:17 for probably 6 years now.
16:20 And we kind of go around San Diego
16:23 and participate in any volunteering events.
16:26 And this event especially was made for FAV,
16:30 which I think is really cool and unique.
16:32 And so Emma and Mia really took,
16:34 you know, took the bull by the horns,
16:36 and they contacted all their friends
16:38 and all the club members.
16:39 That's why we called it Female Athlete Volunteer and Friends,
16:42 because there were several people
16:43 that wanted to be involved that weren't in the club.
16:49 The idea was to raise money to drill
16:51 and set a water well for a community in Kenya.
16:55 Elizabeth was one of 26 Maranatha Volunteers
16:58 who built a dormitory at a school there.
17:05 The Maranatha well drilling team
17:07 was there too.
17:11 They discovered a source for water,
17:13 and it was one of the most prolific water wells
17:15 they had drilled in the country.
17:20 Elizabeth saw an opportunity
17:22 to encourage Emma and Mia back home.
17:25 Emma Reeves and Mia Goldman and all the Female Athletes...
17:28 Elizabeth sent us some clips of her experience in Africa.
17:32 Emma Reeves and Mia Goldman
17:36 and Female Athletes Volunteers,
17:40 thank you for the gift of water.
17:43 You are our sisters!
17:46 Right after she sent me those videos,
17:48 I kind of was tearing up
17:49 because they're like talking to me and Mia,
17:52 the girls in Africa.
17:54 And I was kind of like, "Wow, this is real."
17:56 Like, this is really touching,
17:59 and this is actually affecting people in Africa.
18:03 This specific fundraisers, I really wanted to help,
18:05 because these girls who are my age,
18:07 girls from like 5,
18:09 and like up to, like 50, they all go
18:13 and they just like walk 4 or 5 miles a day,
18:17 twice a day, carrying like 6 gallon buckets of water,
18:22 and it's just crazy.
18:23 And I think that they could really be
18:25 spending a lot of this time,
18:27 like gaining education,
18:29 and getting social skills with their friends.
18:31 And I really just want to help them
18:32 like gain these kinds of skills
18:34 that can help them be successful later in life.
18:39 The goal the group set for themselves $15,000,
18:43 the medium cost of drilling and setting a well in Kenya.
18:48 The event they created to bring attention to the need
18:51 walking a mile to a local pond to collect water in buckets,
18:55 and carry the water back to Hooterville
18:57 where it could be symbolically collected.
19:02 Hi, I'm Mia Goldman.
19:03 And I'm Emma Reeves.
19:04 And we're here in Carmel Valley
19:06 doing our first annual walk for water.
19:07 We're going to walk...
19:09 The three used Maranatha's online fundraising platform
19:11 to manage donations.
19:13 They would meet regularly to organize plan
19:15 and prep materials.
19:17 Emma and Mia's friends, Morgan and Megan
19:20 also joined the leadership team.
19:21 Yes. Yeah.
19:23 We just do Megan's
19:24 the one who lived across the street from us.
19:26 And we were like, I remember
19:28 when she was little, she used to make
19:29 so many of these little arts and crafts.
19:30 And we were just like,
19:32 "I wonder if she's all into it."
19:33 And she was.
19:34 And she was really willing to come over and help us.
19:36 And one day, she just decided to bring Morgan
19:38 and she was such a helpful part of the team.
19:40 And I think we work together so well.
19:43 And we just made it happen.
19:45 All of the girls put social media to work for them.
19:48 Emma drafted an email
19:49 and she sent it out to everyone.
19:51 I went around my school,
19:53 and there's a lots of social media,
19:55 I posted it everywhere I could,
19:57 I mean, highlights on my Instagram.
19:59 I made sure to tell all my friends
20:01 to go check out my link, and I'd send it to them.
20:04 And I had my dad, dad send it to all of his friends.
20:07 And I really just made sure that everyone knew about this,
20:10 because it's really important to me.
20:13 Local and regional press
20:14 also took note of Walk for Water.
20:18 The day of the event,
20:19 FAV volunteers, their friends,
20:21 and even a group of first graders
20:23 arrived ready to help.
20:26 And, of course, many moms ready to lend their support.
20:28 You want to use
20:29 on your ponytail or around your head?
20:31 I try to make cookies,
20:32 the first batch or the second batch made it.
20:35 It smells like burnt cookies at my house now.
20:36 Oh, that's good. That's a good thing.
20:40 Each girl received a handmade name tag,
20:42 and the bracelet that Elizabeth brought home from Africa.
20:45 You wanna choose a bracelet?
20:46 And you can get a name tag?
20:48 They also were given a black and red checkered cloth,
20:51 they could use as a sash or bandana,
20:53 in honor of the blankets that are commonly used
20:55 during the cool Kenyan winters.
20:57 Every girl received a bucket, the little ones gallon buckets,
21:01 the bigger girls, 2 to 5 gallon buckets.
21:05 Without much fanfare, they were off.
21:17 I'll put it on my head.
21:18 Okay, you put it anywhere.
21:19 So what we're trying to do is represent
21:22 what African women do on a day to day basis,
21:26 and taking the fact that
21:28 they have to travel several miles,
21:31 several hours to just get water.
21:34 And it's not even clean water.
21:35 So we try to replicate that by taking our own buckets,
21:40 and getting a bunch of ladies in our community from,
21:43 like elementary school to high school,
21:46 and kind of show them what they go through every day.
21:49 I've been with these kids, since they were
21:50 single digit age,
21:52 they still call me Miss Elizabeth,
21:54 they still say they want to be like me
21:56 when they grow up.
21:57 I mean, what could make you feel better,
22:01 and if unless you're willing to give
22:03 and to share and to invest
22:05 in the greater community.
22:07 And one of the things that I've been,
22:10 I think I've been trying to teach all of them
22:13 is that even though we are just one person,
22:17 you are almost more if you think about,
22:19 we're more like a beehive.
22:20 We don't feel like a beehive.
22:22 But we're all working together, we're a huge community.
22:24 And the idea of them being able to reach
22:27 all the way around the world to Africa,
22:31 to people that they don't know and they'll never meet.
22:34 To say, you know,
22:36 we'd like to make a difference in your lives
22:38 is a way for them to be part of that that bigger beehive,
22:42 and to be part of the community.
22:59 Carrying that water was kind of a challenge.
23:02 And I wasn't even carrying that much water.
23:04 And I couldn't believe
23:05 how difficult it would be for girls, little girls
23:10 to travel hours with that much water every day.
23:14 It would be exhausting.
23:18 It's so amazing.
23:20 It's just such an amazing feeling
23:22 to know that I can be giving back to other people,
23:25 because living in this bubble is great,
23:27 but I haven't been able
23:29 to really experience the outer world.
23:31 And I feel like seeing all this
23:34 and doing all this research,
23:36 and just looking at all this, is just so like eye opening.
23:39 And I just really want to give back now,
23:41 like whenever I think of people
23:43 who just had these first world problems,
23:45 I'm just like,
23:47 well, I mean, it can be worse,
23:49 and I'm just so happy that I can give back.
23:52 It just makes me feel so amazing
23:54 that my peers on the other side of the world
23:56 can have a chance of living a normal lifestyle.
24:01 After the walk,
24:03 the girls celebrated with pizza.
24:05 So even though girls my age may think
24:07 that they can't make a difference in the world,
24:09 if you grab a couple of your friends together
24:11 and send it a couple emails,
24:13 it will just make a world of change,
24:15 because we've raised over $11,000,
24:18 just the four of us.
24:20 And it's hopefully going to make a well
24:23 for a whole village.
24:26 As of today,
24:27 Walk for Water has raised
24:34 A well will be drilled
24:35 and a pump placed in a village in Kenya.
24:40 The experience of fundraising for wells in Africa
24:43 inspired Mia to take her involvement a step further.
24:46 A couple months after the event,
24:48 Mia, her mom, and her brother
24:49 traveled to Kenya to meet firsthand,
24:51 the people to whom Maranatha is reaching out.
24:56 They volunteered at the Gucha school in Kisii,
24:59 building a much needed classroom.
25:01 It's an experience that sure to ignite
25:03 more involvement from Mia.
25:07 We live in a bubble.
25:10 Yeah, we're in San Diego, and beautiful homes.
25:13 We wake up every morning
25:15 and you're just in paradise.
25:18 And when you think about how lucky we are
25:22 and then, I mean, it doesn't that make us responsible
25:25 for sharing our luck
25:27 and sharing our wealth with others.
25:29 I mean if you imagine that a world where nobody shared,
25:34 if nobody was willing to give back,
25:38 if we all just kept it to ourselves.
25:40 I mean, we really depend on people,
25:44 and their generosity and their need to share
25:48 to make the world a better place
25:49 and it helps them.
26:05 Along with Kenya, Maranatha is drilling wells
26:08 in Zambia, India and Brazil.
26:10 Help us bring clean water to communities in need
26:13 by making a donation.
26:14 Go to maranatha.org to give today.
26:29 In less than two months Maranatha will have
26:31 our Annual Mission Maranatha Weekend,
26:33 September 19 to 21 in Northern California.
26:37 In honor of our 50th anniversary,
26:39 we're offering three projects in the area
26:41 prior to the convention
26:43 and a special anniversary dinner
26:45 on September 19.
26:46 First up, we need volunteers to help with projects
26:49 at Pacific Union College from August 19 to September 6.
26:54 Come enjoy the beauty of the Napa Valley,
26:56 while renovating Newton Hall,
26:58 PUCs men's dormitory.
27:00 After PUC, you can head on over to a project
27:03 at Leoni Meadows Camp or at Rio Lindo Academy.
27:06 From September 8 to 19,
27:08 you're invited to help with painting,
27:10 construction, landscaping, and more,
27:12 at either of these locations.
27:14 All of these volunteer projects,
27:16 as well as anniversary dinner are free of cost
27:19 with your registration.
27:21 Learn more about these opportunities
27:23 and others by visiting our website.
27:25 Just go to maranatha.org.
27:31 When it comes to making a positive impact in the world,
27:34 there are no age limits.
27:36 Passion, creativity,
27:38 and gumption are the only ingredients
27:40 necessary to make a change,
27:42 because whether you're 9 or 90,
27:44 God sees potential in all of us
27:47 and we are all His messengers of grace.