February 29, 2020

Maranatha Volunteers International Keeps Building in India and Côte d’Ivoire

Maranatha Volunteers International, and Adventist Review

A group of Maranatha Volunteers International (MVI) volunteers recently returned from constructing classroom buildings on the new campus of the Jingshai Mihngi Adventist Secondary School, in Mihmyntdu Jowai, Meghalaya, India.

The K-10 school of 476 students currently rents buildings that sit directly next to an open sewer line. Besides the constant stench, students must deal with dark, cramped classrooms, leaky walls, flooding, and broken floors.

First-time Maranatha volunteer Rick Williams said he felt disheartened by the conditions.

“The current school is dismal to say the least,” Williams said. “It is in extremely poor repair. I was a teacher and principal for 13 years, so this is close to my heart.”

Photo of the group that took part in the first Maranatha Volunteers International project in Côte d’Ivoire, in February 2020. The group constructed buildings for the Abbebroukoi Seventh-day Adventist congregation near the city of Abidjan. [Photo: Maranatha Volunteers International]

Volunteers began constructing walls on the school’s new campus, which is five minutes away from the current school, set atop a hill surrounded by forest. Throughout the mission trip, the group worked on two buildings that will house six classrooms. The new campus and classrooms will provide bright, clean spaces for students to learn, with clean air to breathe.

Volunteers also conducted outreach in the community, like children’s programs and a vision clinic where eyeglasses were distributed. Over two Saturdays (Sabbaths), the group worshipped at local Seventh-day Adventist churches and experienced the culture of the region.

“Meeting the people and [knowing that the] church and school is a great evangelistic effort, it really made me feel like a part of something bigger, making this a very meaningful trip,” Williams said.

Maranatha’s work at Jingshai Mihngi will continue over the next several months in 2020 and will eventually yield four buildings, holding 12 classrooms, administrative offices, and bathrooms. Once complete, it is expected the school will transition to the new campus by May.

First Time in Côte d’Ivoire

A group of volunteers returned from a mission trip to the African nation of Côte d’Ivoire in February 2020. The group constructed buildings for the Abbebroukoi Seventh-day Adventist congregation near the city of Abidjan. MVI leaders shared that previously, this congregation met under a carport-like structure that didn’t protect from the wind and rain. After completing the church and a bathroom building, volunteers were able to worship with the Abbebroukoi congregation in the new space on Saturday (Sabbath).

According to MVI leaders, throughout the trip, volunteers enjoyed plentiful interactions with the local people. Each day, church members and community residents alike gathered around the construction site to see the progress made by the participants. Beyond church construction, volunteers passed out educational items and toys to children in the neighborhood.

The group also had a few moments to experience the culture of Côte d’Ivoire. They visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, one of the largest church complexes in the world, and toured a local chocolate factory.

According to MVI leaders, this mission trip was one of Maranatha’s first in the country of Côte d’Ivoire, where there are less than 10,000 Adventist church members. In 2019, Maranatha agreed to build churches and schools in response to a request from Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders in the West-Central Africa region. The initial focus will be around Abidjan, the largest city in the country, MVI leaders said.

The original version of this story was posted on the Maranatha Volunteers International news site.