|Not-for-profit construction company Maranatha Volunteers International marked its 40th anniversary of volunteer-driven school, church, clinic, orphanage and hospital projects this year.
Maranatha, a supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, has worked with more than 60,000 volunteers and completed projects in 63 countries since the organization began in 1969.
Don Noble, president of Maranatha Volunteers International, and wife Laura Noble attend the annual year-end business meetings of the Seventh-day Adventist world church. Maranatha celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, marking decades of completed construction projects around the world. [photo: Rajmund Dabrowski/ANN]
The biggest change in 40 years has been the ability of the organization to respond to the world church needs, said Kyle Fiess, Maranatha vice president for marketing and projects.
"For twenty years, the organization would respond to several projects per year," Fiess said. "Now, Maranatha operates in multiple countries around the world."
And the projects keep pouring in, Fiess said.
Currently, Maranatha has received over 100,000 church building requests, a number the organization can better handle with recent equipment purchases, leadership said.
Ongoing Maranatha projects include the One-Day Church, a project providing quick construction solutions for thousands of Adventists around the world, and Ultimate Workouts, construction projects targeted at high school-aged volunteers.
"[Ultimate Workouts] started with a handful of teenagers, but now the project accommodates nearly 200 participants each summer," Fiess said.
This summer will be the 20th Ultimate Workout.
While the number of volunteers has steadily increased, the organization has still been effected by the economic downturn, Fiess said.
"The recession has affected Maranatha financially as giving levels have shifted," he said, adding that the organization had to make "spending cuts in a number of areas, including a reduction of our office staff."
Cut-backs aside, most Maranatha volunteer projects are "filled to capacity," Fiess said.
New construction methods, careful planning and "God's leading" will move the organization's work ahead in the next decade, said Don Noble, president of Maranatha.
"We plan to increase our capacity to construct more churches and schools that will meet the needs of church growth and to involve more volunteers in both construction and wider outreach opportunities connected with these projects."