The Maranatha crews are happy to return to serve in the country after long periods of confinement.
MAranatha Volunteers International recently concluded a volunteer project at La Tinguiña Adventist School in Ica, Peru. A few uncertain moments before the trip included positive volunteer leadership tests for COVID-19. This prompted Maranatha Volunteer Manager Rebekah Shephard to become the interim project coordinator with just 48 hours’ notice.
“I was ready to go – when you work for Maranatha you know it’s possible,” Shephard said. “At any time, you could be called upon to lead a project. I felt confident – I have led projects in the past. But with that short notice, I didn’t have the normal months of preparation.
Despite the limited time she had to prepare, the trip went well and all of the volunteers had a good experience, Shephard reported. She attributes this to the guiding hand of God in all Maranatha projects, regardless of who is leading.
“I knew the general plan of what was going on on the project, but I didn’t have that much time to plan,” Shephard said. “Our volunteer construction superintendent and volunteer support staff have been wonderful. At the end of the day, it is not about the leader who leaves; it is about the direction of God.
The group laid block walls for one of the large multi-class buildings in Maranatha, known as the Education and Evangelism Center. The main objective was to erect the large front wall of the structure, which will house eight classrooms when completed. The volunteers also laid blocks for the interior dividing walls that make up bathrooms, offices and classrooms. In addition, they installed rebar for the support columns at the front of the building.
In addition to their work at the La Tiguiña school, volunteers have carried out community outreach activities, the first Maranatha group to do so in Peru since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers ran children’s programs and handed out glasses to grateful residents, who were happy to see visitors after several months of pandemic isolation.
From 2004 to 2006, more than 3,000 Maranatha volunteers landed in Peru, building nearly 100 churches and schools. In 2019, Maranatha returned to Peru at the request of the South American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. After several groups of volunteers served until early 2020, work was halted when the COVID-19 pandemic locked down the country in March of the same year. The Maranatha team in the country has since returned to work, and earlier in 2021, the volunteers returned as well.
The original version of this story was published by Maranatha Volunteers International.