A Letter from Maranatha’s President
Dear Maranatha friend,
Have you ever broken someone’s heart?
I’m not talking about boyfriends or girlfriends or anything romantic. I’m talking about breaking the heart—the hopes and dreams—of someone who was counting on you.
Maranatha has. It feels awful. I never want to go through that again.
Hopefully, with your help, we won’t have to.
The broken heart was that of the Cardenas Adventist Church in Cuba. Twenty-one years ago, when Maranatha first began working in Cuba, the Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership brought us a list of high priority projects—churches that needed major repairs. Back then, all the churches were in disrepair. Nothing had been done to the buildings for years. No maintenance. Most of them didn’t have light bulbs that worked. If there was glass in the windows, many were knocked out and cracked.
Cardenas was among those buildings needing help. But while more than 200 churches slowly came off the list, as Maranatha renovated or reconstructed sanctuaries, Cardenas remained.
Cardenas was a problem. There were just too many roadblocks to getting permits, land, and raising money.
People told us to give up! After all, Maranatha had helped so many churches in Cuba, already. Why did we HAVE to help Cardenas? Why was it so important? People urged us to focus on other requests for help.
But Maranatha did not give up. Years of experience in the mission field have showed us that persistence and faith can accomplish the impossible.
But then came the heartbreak. Fifteen years after we started the construction process for Cardenas, we hit another wall. We were denied permission to obtain the land needed to expand the tiny church building.
It was over. Maranatha was not going to build a new church for Cardenas.
On that particular visit to Cuba, when Maranatha received the bad news, we decided to stop by the little church to take one last look. When we drove up, we saw that the entire congregation was there. They had been sitting there for six hours, inexplicably waiting for Maranatha.
I didn’t want to be there. I dreaded going into that church. I knew what they wanted. They desperately wanted and needed a new place to meet. They had been worshipping in their cramped church for too long, and they were waiting for a solution.
I stepped through the crowd and stood at the front of the church. I looked out at the people, their faces trembling with anticipation.
‘Why do you think we’re here?’ I asked.
‘You’re going to build us a church!’ They cheered.
‘Unfortunately, right now we have neither permission nor the money to build the church,’ I said.
The reaction was something I had never seen before. I hope I never see it again. The entire church started wailing. Crying. It was horrible.
My heart sank. After 15 years of prayer from these faithful believers, how could the story of Cardenas end like this?
What would you do? What would you say to a church in such despair?
Taking a breath, I gathered my courage and spoke to them once more.
‘I’ve seen God do some amazing things on this island and a lot of other places. You still have prayer left, and you have a mighty God. And I know you believe in that God. So I think we should pray. You should pray as a group.’
So after 15 years of unrelenting prayer—prayer that has left callouses on the knees of the members—they prayed once more. A little girl stood up, folded her hands, and she looked up. She looked up toward the sky, toward her Savior, and she prayed.
‘Dear Jesus. Thank you for giving us a new church. Amen.’
What faith! What simple, earnest, unrelenting faith in God’s power to provide for our needs!
Fast-forward to now, five years since that terrible day of disappointment. After many more hurdles and tests of faith, in October 2015, Maranatha finally broke ground on the new Cardenas Adventist Church in Cuba.
Thank you. Thank you for your prayers, your faith, and for supporting the mission of Maranatha.
Yet even as Cardenas’ prayer is answered, there are thousands more that need your help.
This summer, Maranatha was at the General Conference Session for the Seventh-day Adventist World Church. We met with dozens of church leaders who pleaded for us to hear their concerns—to consider their long list of requests, just as we did more than 20 years ago in Cuba.
The need is great because the Gospel is stretching far and wide into the world. It is capturing the attention of those who are seeking refuge and finding hope in His message. So churches are growing. Schools are growing. The hunger for God is growing—and people need more places to gather, worship, and learn about the Lord.
In 2016, Maranatha will continue working in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Brazil, and Angola where Adventist groups are multiplying faster than we can build. We will complete the Cardenas Church in Cuba. We’ll stay in Zambia and Zimbabwe to build One-Day Churches and drill wells. We’ll provide churches and schools in India—where so many have not yet heard of Jesus Christ.
All these countries—including Cuba—need more funding.
We’ll also be working in new countries.
Kenya, Uruguay, São Tomé, Egypt, and Vanuatu.
New mission fields requesting and urgently needing your help.
This is my letter to you—my plea after seeing what I have seen in the mission field.
Will you help?
The world needs you. The mission field is wide open and ready for you to step in with a response of hope! There are so many people praying for a place of worship or a place to learn about God!
Please make a tax-deductible donation to our Year End Campaign—our most important fundraiser of the year—so that we can further the mission to spread the Gospel through construction.
Every dollar you give makes a tremendous difference, and we rely on your gifts to fulfill the work God calls us to do.
Thank you for your support and prayers.
P.S. Donations come in all shapes and sizes. You can sponsor an entire building, give toward a country, or make a general donation. Just be sure to give by December 31 to receive a charitable deduction for 2015!