Maranatha Volunteers International, a supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church based in North America, recently completed its second project at Camp Lawroweld in Maine, United States, just weeks before summer camp season. In 2020, volunteers had renovated portions of the lodge and staff house, among other tasks.
On this latest project, 28 people picked up where they had left off. Showers, toilets, and vanities were installed. Volunteers also completed finishing work like trim, baseboards, doors, tile floors, and electrical outlets. Other projects included pouring a 400-foot concrete sidewalk, cleaning up trees that fell in a winter storm, and working on the dock.
Project coordinator Barbara Mayes filled in at the last minute for the original coordinator, who became sick before the project. Mayes was already assigned to an upcoming project she would lead at Union Springs Academy in Union Springs, New York, but she agreed to help at Lawroweld as well. For her, the experience was a lesson in the unexpected ways God calls us to serve.
“When I got the call, God was saying, ‘Your ways are not My ways,’” Mayes said. “I consider myself a co-leader because God is the true leader and knows what needs to be done.” Despite not having much time to prepare, Mayes successfully facilitated the work and the volunteer experience in Maine, including worships.
“As a leader, it’s hard to ask people you just met if they’d be willing to share in worship each day. But I’m always amazed at how open people are on a Maranatha trip,” Mayes said. “You share things on a Maranatha project that you wouldn’t normally share. People were very willing, and the worships are very meaningful.”
Maranatha is returning to Camp Lawroweld for a third project later this year. The ministry has already completed and is working on other projects across North America. The ministry recently wrapped up work at Camp MiVoden, a summer camp and retreat center in northern Idaho. With 91 volunteers on the project, one of the biggest challenges was making sure there was enough work to keep them busy, leaders reported. Initially, 20 work assignments were handed out, but because of the large number of volunteers and their efficiency, many of those jobs were completed quickly. Camp management then found new tasks and said they were amazed at what was accomplished. Local Seventh-day Adventist leaders spent Saturday (Sabbath) with the volunteers and also praised their efforts and dedication.
Other current projects include: installing interior sheathing, painting the exterior of the girls’ dorm, and sewing and hanging dorm room curtains at Milo Adventist Academy in Days Creek, Oregon; and renovating the women’s dorm at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Each year, Maranatha works with organizations in the United States and Canada to provide volunteer labor for various construction or renovation projects at summer camps and retreat centers, schools, and churches. Work ranges from renovations of existing buildings to new construction and saves thousands of dollars in labor costs.