In 2019, Maranatha Volunteers International renovated 34 rooms on the third and fourth floors of the women’s dormitory at Union College in Nebraska. This year, 65 volunteers returned to Rees Hall to continue that work, renovating 28 rooms on the first and second floors. Old cabinets and closets were demolished, walls were patched and painted with a new color scheme, and new cabinets were installed. Volunteers also installed new outlet covers and brought in new chairs, while updated light fixtures were placed by Union College staff.

Nearly half of the help was first-time Maranatha volunteers, mixing with veterans who have served around North America and overseas. Two long-time volunteers traced their friendship back to one of Maranatha’s earliest projects in 1974. Like many of those first projects, Clyde Peters flew his own plane to a project in Nevati, Peru, where Duane Kraft served as well. Nearly five decades later, the two friends connected around service again. Peters lives near the college, but opted to stay in the same dorm room with his mission trip buddy during the project.

The project’s oldest volunteer was Eugene Golles, a 92-year-old from San Bernardino, California. ‘Gene was always working hard and in good spirits,’ said Maranatha’s director of volunteer projects, Lisandro Staut. ‘He always had a good word to share and was a great example for all our younger volunteers.’

Union College president Vinita Sauder expressed her gratitude to the volunteers for their efforts. ‘Thank you so much Maranatha and all of the volunteers for everything you’ve done,’ said Sauder. ‘These rooms are beautiful now. The floors, the paint, the chairs, the cabinets—we couldn’t have done it without you. This is amazing.’

Each year, Maranatha works with organizations in the United States and Canada to provide volunteer labor for various construction or renovation projects at summer camps and retreat centers, schools, and churches. Work ranges from renovations of existing buildings to new construction, and saves thousands of dollars in labor costs. To see all of our upcoming projects in North America, click here.