In June 2022, 63 volunteers joined one of Maranatha Volunteers International’s annual Family Projects, serving near the city of Arequipa, Peru. The primary goal of this project was to construct a new church building for the Los Portales Seventh-day Adventist congregation, which had been meeting in a small shed, without any space to grow.
During the project, other tasks included painting the local police station, facilitating children’s programs in the community, and conducting free vision clinics in the area. Around 500 pairs of eyeglasses were distributed through these clinics, as well as evangelistic literature.
One of the unique aspects of a Maranatha Family Project is the day camp provided for volunteer kids, ages 12 and under. “Children help at the construction site but also experience local culture through field trips and outreach activities,” Maranatha project coordinators explained. “Kids perused a fruit and vegetable market, learned how handmade mandolins are crafted at an instrument shop, and joined their Spanish-speaking peers for classes and play at the local Adventist elementary school.”
One of the highlights for volunteers of all ages was the chance to worship with the Los Portales congregation, first on Saturday (Sabbath) for church, and later for a dedication ceremony at the completion of the volunteers’ work. Members and volunteers shared a meal and fellowship after the dedication, organizers reported.
The trip was capped off with Saturday (Sabbath) worship on Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, at 12,507 feet (3,812 meters) above sea level. Volunteers visited the floating church of the Los Uros congregation, constructed by Maranatha in 2005. Many volunteers also stayed for the optional excursion to Machu Picchu and the city of Cusco.
From 2004 to 2006, more than 3,000 Maranatha volunteers landed in Peru, constructing nearly 100 churches and schools. In 2019, Maranatha returned to Peru at the request of the South American Division of the Adventist Church. After several volunteer groups served through early 2020, the work was halted when the COVID-19 pandemic locked down the country in March of that year. Maranatha’s in-country crew and volunteers have since resumed the work as conditions improved.
About Maranatha Volunteers International
Maranatha Volunteers International is a responsive organization that for 53 years has fulfilled requests for construction assistance in the Adventist Church. Each project is carefully considered for need, overall impact on the community, and resources for long-term maintenance and support.
Currently, Maranatha is working in roughly a dozen countries around the world. Efforts are focused on church and school construction and water wells. A portion of the projects are completed by volunteers participating in short-term mission trips organized by Maranatha.