Series Code: MMS
Program Code: MMS010011A
00:01 Hi, I'm Hilary Macias with the Maranatha Minute.
00:03 Recently, the Maranatha Team in India
00:05 completed two water wells in India.
00:08 One in the village of Guavar and another in Beltoli.
00:11 These projects are part of a water program in India
00:14 that Maranatha launched last fall.
00:16 Maranatha is providing wells in villages
00:19 where we have constructed a church or school.
00:21 This year, the goal is to construct at least 30 wells.
00:25 There are an estimated 99 million people in India
00:28 without access to clean water
00:30 and according to the World Bank,
00:32 an estimated 21% of communicable diseases in India
00:36 are linked to contaminated water and the lack of hygiene.
00:39 India is just one of the countries
00:41 where Maranatha is running a water program.
00:44 There are also water programs in Zambia, Kenya and Brazil.
00:48 You can sponsor a water well in India for 10,000 dollars.
00:52 To learn more about how you can help,
00:54 call Maranatha or check out our webpage
00:57 at Maranatha. org.
01:18 Maranatha's history is full of extraordinary moments of faith
01:24 that illustrate God's leading in the mission.
01:27 He has been faithful every step of the way
01:31 even through what appeared to be the most impossible requests.
01:35 Today's story looks at two places
01:37 that stretched Maranatha in many ways as an Organization...
01:41 physically, mentally and spiritually.
01:44 The first location is in the Caribbean
01:47 on an island that was closed to the world
01:50 but surprisingly open to the gospel message.
02:01 The year is 1993...
02:02 Maranatha is energized by the success of a large project
02:06 called: Santa Domingo '92
02:08 and has just finished construction of 50 new churches
02:12 and three schools in Guatemala.
02:13 The Leaders of the project gathered at their hotel
02:17 around a pizza to evaluate next steps.
02:20 There's a guy named Tem Suarez there
02:23 and Tim, of course, was a Cuban-American,
02:26 he was on our Board of Directors
02:27 and he constantly was bringing up, "Cuba this... Cuba that... "
02:30 and everybody was going, "Yeah, that's Tim, he's Cuban. "
02:32 So, this night it got a little bit more traction
02:35 and Don Folkenberg was there and Bob Paulsen
02:41 we were sitting around just... "Okay, we finished Guatemala,
02:44 what... where's the next big push?
02:47 What's exciting?
02:48 what can we do to change some place for God?
02:51 I mean, I sure knew what it was...
02:53 and, of course, Tem... "I know where we can go
02:57 let's take a look at Cuba... "
02:59 and somebody says... I don't remember who it was,
03:02 and he says, "Well, you know, you can't go into Cuba...
03:04 that's... it's a closed country
03:05 like, a lot of these countries are closed... "
03:08 and giving credit completely where it is due here
03:11 God worked through a guy named Garwin McNeilus.
03:15 The main challenge was
03:17 to get our nerve to go in the first place.
03:20 Garwin was a "get-stuff-done" kind of guy
03:23 and Garwin says, "Have you tried...
03:26 has anybody really tried?
03:30 You say you can't do it, how do we know we can't do it?
03:33 We don't know if we can't do it,
03:36 I haven't been down there, have you been down there?
03:37 Tem says we can go, let's go. "
03:40 Many times you... you hear,
03:43 "We can't go into a country"
03:46 and really, we haven't tried
03:49 and we had talked about Cuba and the need in Cuba
03:54 and I said, "Let's go to Cuba...
03:56 you know, do it. "
03:59 So, Maranatha did.
04:03 So, we put together a team... there's five of us
04:05 and a couple of months later,
04:08 we made our first trip down to Cuba.
04:12 In 1994, when we first came over here
04:16 the church was very, very depressed
04:19 in front of our eyes, the buildings were falling apart
04:23 the ministers were real honestly... down in the dumps
04:27 in plain language
04:29 I remember the first meeting in particular,
04:32 we met with all the ministers
04:33 from one end of the island to another,
04:35 it was just like the Holy Spirit was over there...
04:39 was touching us.
04:40 More than 100 people crowded into that meeting room
04:44 at the Union Office in Havana.
04:46 In the room, there was a white board.
04:49 Based on the need that was expressed,
04:51 it was determined to move ahead with 100 new churches
04:55 and 100 renovated churches
04:57 as well as 100 evangelistic campaigns
05:01 and the production of literature,
05:03 to penetrate the areas surrounding those churches.
05:07 The entire project was called, "Christ for Cuba. "
05:11 Unlike similar projects in the Dominican Republic,
05:14 Mexico and Guatemala,
05:16 it would take several years to build and renovate
05:19 200 sanctuaries but the work progressed
05:22 and baptisms increased ten-fold.
05:25 Maranatha rebuilt the country's aging Seminary.
05:30 Students came from around the world
05:33 to take advantage of this post-graduate facility.
05:36 The Seminary was lacking a sanctuary,
05:40 again, Maranatha Volunteers International
05:43 took an empty space on the Seminary grounds
05:46 and transformed it into an inviting place of worship
05:48 and fellowship.
05:50 From the very first meeting Don Noble had with Mr. Fontaine
05:56 it was clear that one of the churches on the list
05:58 that was growing and needed to be expanded
06:01 was the Cárdenas Church.
06:02 The tiny church was filled to capacity every week
06:06 with many members forced to sit outside on the verandah.
06:09 Cárdenas located about a 100 miles east of Havana
06:14 is very near Varadero Beach...
06:17 a magnet of tourism on the Island.
06:19 The city's leadership was not friendly to Adventists
06:23 and created obstacles
06:25 making the construction of a new church there
06:27 next to impossible.
06:29 15 years into the process,
06:33 Don Noble visited the anxious church members.
06:36 I said, "Unfortunately, I have to tell you
06:38 that right now, we have neither permission nor the money
06:40 to build this church... "
06:43 and the reaction we got was
06:45 something I've never seen before...
06:47 I hope I don't see it again.
06:49 It was the entire church...
06:51 just started crying... wailing... some of them,
06:55 it was absolutely horrible.
07:11 The congregation was crushed.
07:13 Don was heavy hearted
07:15 Maranatha had been working on a solution for Cárdenas
07:18 for more than 15 years.
07:19 Could it... should it really be over?
07:23 Don turned to prayer,
07:25 so he says, "Well, you know,
07:27 I've seen God do some amazing things
07:29 on this island and in a lot of other places,
07:31 so, you still have prayer left and you got a mighty God
07:35 and I know that you believe in that God.
07:37 So, I think we should pray.
08:00 She went marching up the front very confident...
08:03 she turned around... she folded her hands...
08:06 I can still see her... she looked up... not down...
08:09 she looked up, she says, "Dear Jesus,
08:11 thank you for giving us a new church, amen. "
08:15 It was a pivotal moment in the Cárdenas story,
08:19 this was about more than building the church,
08:22 it was about faith.
08:24 And I'm sitting there going,
08:25 "Wow! I think God's going to answer that prayer
08:30 how is He going to say 'No?'"
09:04 In late 2015,
09:08 a small crew assembled in Cárdenas to break ground...
09:11 and tear down the old building...
09:13 after more than 30 years of prayer...
09:15 20 years of Permit applications
09:17 and an enduring test of faith,
09:19 Maranatha Volunteers International
09:22 received final permission to begin construction
09:25 on the new Cárdenas church.
09:27 Immediately construction began
09:29 and just as quickly, Maranatha created an opportunity
09:33 for volunteers to head to Cuba
09:35 for a two-week construction project.
09:44 Local crews worked alongside the volunteers
09:46 and continued building
09:48 long after the volunteers returned home.
09:50 18 months later, after decades of prayer,
09:53 the Cárdenas Seventh-day Adventist Church
09:56 was transformed from this
09:57 to this.
10:04 Thousands of church members from all over the island
10:06 came to the dedication.
10:35 Today, in the morning, I was here and two guys came
10:40 and they were not Christians
10:42 and they came and they were watching the... the church
10:45 and they were talking about how beautiful...
10:48 how nice the church was
10:50 and for this City, this church is very important
10:55 because the Adventist Church in this city is very famous,
10:59 everybody knows it.
11:38 It is a sanctuary worthy of the God it represents.
11:42 The sanctuary can accommodate 500 people
11:45 and the Fellowship Hall upstairs connected by video and sound
11:48 another 250 people.
12:53 You know, this church is built clearly on the foundation...
12:58 the reality... the power of prayer
13:01 without question.
13:11 And frankly, the future is more important than the history.
13:14 The history is very valuable here...
13:16 they've learned a lot of lessons
13:18 but the future is what this church is about.
13:20 It's going to be a great lighthouse
13:22 in the... in the Cárdenas community.
13:30 Today, Maranatha Volunteers International
13:32 continues in prayer and faith
13:34 to answer the call from the church in Cuba.
13:38 From our beginnings there in 1994 till now,
13:42 the Adventist Church in Cuba
13:45 remains close to the heart of Maranatha.
13:47 Christ for Cuba... then... now... and tomorrow.
14:07 Coming up next,
14:09 we head to a country of more than a billion people
14:12 and a billion reasons to keep sharing the mission.
14:27 More music...
14:30 For more than a decade,
14:32 Maranatha Mission stories has taken you around the world
14:35 showing you the need and challenging you to get involved.
14:40 Now, we're introducing new ways for you to stay informed
14:43 and inspired about the mission.
14:45 Watch your favorite episode of Maranatha Mission stories
14:50 as well as other Maranatha videos on your Apple TV.
14:53 Visit the APP store... search for the Maranatha Channel
14:57 and hit "Install. "
14:59 You'll have access to all of our latest video content
15:04 and you can watch any time.
15:06 Our videos are available on demand 24 hours a day.
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15:15 The Maranatha Channel bringing mission adventures
15:19 to your Living Room.
15:26 There are certain events in Maranatha's history
15:30 that help to catapult the Organization
15:32 to new levels of productivity,
15:34 events that pushed Maranatha to think bigger and aim higher.
15:40 Among those... is India,
15:41 a place where Maranatha has invested in the mission
15:44 to build people and communities.
15:52 The 1990s were a faith-building decade for Maranatha.
15:56 God led the Organization through a large-scale project
15:59 in the Dominican Republic
16:01 and miraculous construction on the island of Cuba
16:06 but when God leads, there are always new challenges,
16:11 this time, on the sub-continent of India.
16:14 Maranatha started in India
16:16 actually in the early middle '80s
16:19 at the campus north of Delhi called Roorkee
16:23 but it was a common goal to do a project... leave...
16:26 it wasn't the long continued involvement
16:30 that started probably a little more than 20 years ago now.
16:35 At the time, the Adventist Church was struggling.
16:38 Adventists represented a small percentage
16:41 of the general population
16:43 and the places they had to worship
16:45 didn't inspire others to join them.
16:47 Ron Watts, President of the Adventist Church in India
16:53 at that time, reached down to Maranatha
16:55 for help in growing their fledgling group.
16:57 I asked Ron at that time,
17:00 I said, "Ron, how many members do you have?"
17:01 He says, "Well, in the books we have about 200,000."
17:03 He says, "Really, I have to tell you,
17:06 it's not more than a 100,000
17:07 and really we need a new church here. "
17:10 He said, "This is a huge, huge area of primarily Hindus
17:18 that don't even know who Jesus is... never heard of Him...
17:22 don't know anything about the Creator God,
17:24 don't know anything about salvation,
17:26 he says, "This is what we're here for...
17:29 that's what we should be doing. "
17:31 Narrator: Although Maranatha had previously done
17:34 a handful of projects in India,
17:35 the decision was made
17:37 to establish a permanent presence in the country
17:39 to facilitate evangelism meetings and build churches.
17:43 And then we started talking and we moved our leadership
17:48 from Cuba over to... to India
17:52 to start overseeing those campaigns
17:55 and to start some construction
17:56 and we didn't know where it was going
17:58 but it worked.
18:00 Garwin McNeilus, a business man from Minnesota,
18:04 was asked to get involved.
18:05 Ron Watts said, "Why don't you come and do an Effort. "
18:09 And I said, "Sure, we'll go. "
18:11 Now, I've never done an Effort
18:14 and so, I contacted my friend, Bob Paulsen,
18:18 who, I knew could do the preaching,
18:22 and Maranatha helped us and we set up Tenali,
18:25 we had over 3,000 people in Tenali
18:29 it was just overwhelming
18:30 and what took me back...
18:32 when we closed up... all 3,000 wanted special prayer
18:36 and they just crowded around you
18:38 and the hunger in the wilderness.
18:41 Narrator: The success there
18:43 led to the organization of larger meetings
18:45 in the town of Ongole.
18:47 I remember the big Ongole Project
18:49 of over 50,000 people there listening...
18:53 Bob Paulsen stand up and say,
18:56 "I want to introduce you to not just any old God...
19:00 not just another God but the Creator God... "
19:03 and they're all listening to this
19:05 and it was powerful.
19:07 It was just overwhelming
19:09 and Maranatha was just deeply involved
19:13 in organizing and coordinating the effort of all the churches
19:17 but I just can't help but think...
19:20 in heaven, what would it be like
19:24 when we have an India Homecoming.
19:27 There will be 1,000s and 1,000s of people there
19:30 as a result of it.
19:31 Narrator: The 50,000 people in the crowd
19:36 weren't the only ones listening,
19:38 half way across the world,
19:40 this meeting would have an impact on a family
19:42 living in Medford, Oregon.
19:44 I had no idea about going to India or any place else,
19:47 I was happy to stay on the United States side of everything
19:53 didn't look forward to traveling at all
19:55 Merlin found... he was watching television
19:58 and he was watching Garwin McNeilus
20:02 and they'd been doing Evangelistic Meetings
20:05 over in Ongole,
20:07 and he was intently watching that
20:09 and when it was over, he said,
20:12 "I think we could do that... "
20:14 and I was trying to...
20:16 "We could do that?"
20:18 "Oh yeah, I think we could. "
20:20 The television program they watched
20:23 was a report put together by 3ABN
20:25 highlighting the recent meetings.
20:28 What JoAnn and her husband, Merlin, didn't know
20:33 was their son, Bruce, was also watching
20:36 and felt impressed to get involved.
20:38 I was committed to call Don on Monday
20:42 and tell him that I'd like to go over there to India sometime
20:46 and help if they had a... a need or an opening
20:48 and in just a few minutes, my Dad called,
20:52 and he said, "Hey, have you ever thought about going to India?"
20:55 And I said, "As a matter of fact I have and I will go. "
20:59 Narrator: Six months later,
21:01 Bruce was on an airplane headed to India.
21:03 Merlin joined him on the next trip
21:06 but JoAnne, in her 70s,
21:08 wasn't sure about making the long journey.
21:11 She wondered if there was anything
21:13 that she could contribute to the effort.
21:15 Bruce said to me, "You can go
21:19 and even if you just hug the ladies
21:23 and smile at them if you can't understand them,
21:26 they're going to understand you. "
21:28 So, that's what I did.
21:30 I went there, I gave them hugs...
21:33 I was 72 the first time I went to India
21:38 and the culture shock was so severe
21:43 there was like...
21:45 "I need to fix these things, these poor people...
21:50 they don't have anything and yet, they're happy
21:54 and I kept talking to Merlin about it,
21:57 and he said, "I want to tell you something,
22:01 by coming here and helping them to know
22:05 that there is a Creator God... that we're helping them
22:11 with the greatest thing that they can have. "
22:14 Narrator: The Fjarli family was hooked on India.
22:16 Not only did they continue to conduct evangelism campaigns
22:20 they also helped to fund 100s of churches
22:23 and several large-school campuses.
22:26 The Fjarli family really got involved in India in a major way
22:30 and I don't have any question that God used them
22:34 Merle Fjarli... unknown some up to 60s...
22:37 tough guy to commit a guy to generous...
22:44 man of few words... so, the best bang for the buck,
22:49 it was his line...
22:51 "It was the best bang for the buck... "
22:53 and he felt that in a society like India
22:56 where there are so many people,
22:57 you could get the best bang for the buck.
22:59 JoAnn Fjarli: You leave India but it never leaves you
23:03 and to think about going back...
23:06 I... I had to go back... it was such a blessing
23:14 to see that I could put smiles on the little kids' faces
23:20 and I just had to go back... it was...
23:23 I think the Lord put it in my heart
23:27 to treasure the times in India.
23:31 Narrator: Maranatha has worked in India for more than 20 years,
23:35 today, more than 2,000 structures
23:38 stand as influential anchors in their communities...
23:42 monuments to a living God.
23:45 You build a building
23:46 and those same ones that were built in the '90s,
23:50 are producing souls today
23:53 and they've spawned and next to them spawned
23:56 and the church family as a result...
23:58 there will be 1,000s in eternity as a result of that one project.
24:03 But the impact goes beyond the people of India.
24:07 JoAnne: You think you're going to go there,
24:11 to change people and let them know that there is a real God
24:17 that knows them... and it changed us
24:23 and it changed my husband
24:26 more than I could ever have dreamed that it would.
24:29 Narrator: Merlin passed away in 2014
24:32 but his sons, Bruce and Clint
24:35 have continued the family's legacy of service.
24:40 I think Dad was really blessed by going to India
24:44 and raising the money to advance in India.
24:49 He had fun doing that... he was blessed by doing that...
24:54 it softened him...
24:57 it... it exposed the soft side of his heart
25:04 that most people never saw.
25:10 It was just amazing
25:12 because, from my perspective, I think it was just a miracle
25:15 and our families have been part of it
25:20 which is quite a blessing but it was God's work that drove
25:26 and it was pretty hard to stop
25:28 and it was a little bit of help
25:30 and we've been very blessed to be able to help.
25:33 Maranatha's commitment to India is unwavering
25:36 as more and more people are longing to hear the gospel.
25:39 There continues to be requests
25:43 for more churches and schools in India
25:45 and in 2018, Maranatha started drilling water wells
25:50 in areas of great need.
25:52 And they came into India... a wonderful reunion
25:56 with a lot of people that gave their hearts to Jesus.
26:00 It was an awesome thing to do.
26:02 I've been tuning in... so, that started 30 years...
26:08 Narrator: As Maranatha continues working in India,
26:14 your support is needed in the country.
26:17 Please, make a donation toward church, school
26:20 or water-well projects in India.
26:22 Call the number on your screen
26:24 or visit Maranatha. org to give.
26:39 Plan ahead for the new year
26:42 by signing up for a mission trip to Cote d'Ivoire,
26:45 from January 30 to February 11, 2020,
26:48 we need volunteers to build the
26:50 Abebroukoi Seventh-day Adventist Church.
26:52 Currently, this congregation is meeting in a patio area,
26:55 and they need help building a place of worship.
26:58 For those who have a more flexible schedule,
27:01 we have an immediate need coming up.
27:03 From November 5 to 26,
27:05 we're looking for volunteers to help in Paradise California
27:08 in the United States.
27:09 Last year, Paradise was ravaged by a wild fire.
27:13 Now, residents are moving back
27:16 and need a place to store their things.
27:17 Maranatha will be constructing 200 storage sheds
27:21 in partnership with the Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Church.
27:23 Resources in Paradise are limited
27:26 and volunteers on this project will need to be flexible.
27:28 If you want to help,
27:30 register for the project in Paradise right away.
27:33 Learn more about these volunteer projects and others
27:36 at maranatha. org
27:37 by visiting the Volunteer Opportunities Page.
27:40 Narrator: From the very beginning
27:42 and through every triumph and bump in the road since,
27:45 God has had His hand in the development and growth
27:48 of Maranatha.
27:50 They have been His volunteers...
27:51 His projects...
27:54 and His mission.