July 15, 2020

Overcoming Pandemic Challenges in India

In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maranatha Volunteers International began construction on the Vakkad Seventh-day Adventist Church in India. After persevering through months of adverse conditions and unique challenges, the local crew recently finished the new church building.

“The hurdles were many — the team sheltered in place at the site for months, overcame shortages of tools and materials due to interstate travel restrictions, and worked around heavy rains, including a monsoon,” Maranatha leaders reported.

According to the people in charge of the project, the new structure stands in stark contrast to the old one.

“The former church showed cracks and gaps in the mud and brick walls, and termites ate away at the wooden trusses supporting the roof,” they shared. “Without the means to construct a new church, the congregation abandoned the deteriorating building.”

Maranatha reported that members used to meet for worship in houses and, for years, waited for a miracle. 

Their answer to prayer came in the form of a new building from Maranatha, with a strong roof and walls that will not crumble. A special dedication ceremony for the new church is planned for August 2020.

Maranatha has been working in India since 1998 to provide places of worship and education. In 2019, Maranatha started drilling water wells in areas in need of clean water. Maranatha has constructed more than 3,000 structures in India.

Maranatha During the Pandemic

As an international mission organization, Maranatha has been tracking everything from travel restrictions to canceled flights. The organization’s Projects Department has worked hard to help volunteers in the mission field.

By March 23, 2020, all overseas volunteers had returned to their home countries. Most projects have been postponed. Maranatha reported that it will continue to assess the situation for projects scheduled later this year.

“The postponement of any project is not something we take lightly,” wrote Maranatha president Don Noble in a recent letter to the ministry’s supporters. “Volunteers often dedicate much time to plan and save funds for their mission trips. It is disappointing to have to change plans.”

Noble said that postponement also has a considerable impact on the communities Maranatha serves. “For all, their hope of a new church and school may have to be put on hold, and that can be crushing,” he wrote.  

Noble said that Maranatha and its volunteers are committed to rescheduling projects and stepping into the mission field when the time is right. 

“While volunteers may have to wait, the work will not,” wrote Noble. He added that Maranatha has crews stationed around the world and that Maranatha teams will continue building churches, schools, and water wells wherever they are permitted to keep working.

“After all, the world can change all around us, but the mission remains constant,” he said. 

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