Maranatha Is Set to Return to Paraguay to Build Churches

Initiative is seeking to support regional church efforts to increase its membership.

Maranatha Volunteers International, and Adventist Review
Maranatha Is Set to Return to Paraguay to Build Churches
And old and a new member of the Compañía 7 congregation in Paraguay smile during a recent visit of Maranatha Volunteers International leaders. Maranatha is returning to Paraguay to build churches, mostly in rural areas. [Photo: Maranatha Volunteers International]

Maranatha Volunteers International, an independent supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is preparing to begin an effort in the South American country of Paraguay in response to requests from the Adventist Church in the region. Current plans include the construction of new church buildings for 18 congregations in need, but this number is likely to grow as projects develop.

Volunteer opportunities will also become available in Paraguay to supplement the work of local crews. “The main draw to bring us in is that the Adventist Church in Paraguay lacks the resources necessary to upgrade their infrastructure,” Kenneth Weiss, Maranatha’s chief operating officer, explained. “There’s a major and important need there.”

Paraguay’s capital city, Asunción, is home to several modern Adventist churches. But venture into the country’s rural areas, and the situation is bleak. Most smaller congregations rent houses to meet in because they can’t afford to construct church buildings of their own, Maranatha leaders reported. But these rental homes are hot. “Oftentimes, members flee their stuffy meeting rooms to worship in the breeze outdoors,” they said. It is expected Maranatha’s structures “will relieve church budgets of a rent bill. But they will also have better ventilation and roofs designed to insulate against the sun’s rays.”

Maranatha renovated a church building in Paraguay from 1988 to 1989 and built more church structures and classrooms from 2001 to 2002. This work helped lay the foundation for Adventist Church expansion in Paraguay in recent years. The church now has 15,000 members but will struggle to grow further without reliable places of worship, regional church leaders acknowledged.

The Adventist Church in Brazil also has identified Paraguay as a place of promising church growth and has focused evangelism efforts in the country. The church in Brazil has sent missionaries there for years and will partner with Maranatha by providing volunteers and funding for several church construction projects.

Maranatha’s president Don Noble said he believes this effort in Paraguay will be an amazing opportunity for God to work. “There’s no way you can walk into a project and know completely how God’s going to orchestrate it,” Noble said. “We’re responding to a great need in this country, and I’m looking forward to watching God do incredible things here.”

Maranatha Volunteers International mobilizes volunteers to help build churches, schools, water wells, and other urgently needed structures around the world. Since 1969, Maranatha has constructed more than 14,000 structures and more than 3,000 water wells in nearly 90 countries.

The original version of this story was posted on the Maranatha news site. Maranatha Volunteers International is an independent supporting ministry and is not operated by the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Maranatha Volunteers International, and Adventist Review