In 2019, Maranatha Volunteers International will begin working in Côte d’Ivoire (formerly Ivory Coast) to provide churches and schools in the country. The commitment is in response to a request from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in West Central Africa.
‘The church in Côte d’Ivoire is relatively small with 15,000 members. But they have the potential to grow, and what can help are churches and schools,’ says Don Noble, president of Maranatha Volunteers International. ‘Most congregations don’t have a good building, and if the Adventist Church in Côte d’Ivoire wants to accomplish their mission, they need to have more schools.’
To start, Maranatha will focus on projects in Abidjan, the country’s largest city and headquarters for the Adventist Church in West Central Africa. The first project will be to build a secondary school in the city, along with a few churches.
There are 22 countries in the West Central Africa region of the Adventist Church, and 12 of them are among the poorest countries in the world. The region needs support, and Maranatha was in discussions to increase projects in the area nearly a decade ago. After completing a multi-year effort in Ghana, where volunteers helped to build churches and a primary and secondary school at Valley View University, Maranatha was intending to explore efforts in other West Central African countries when the ebola epidemic occurred.
Today, there is no known threat of ebola, and Côte d’Ivoire is a peaceful country. In February 2019, a Maranatha leadership team will arrive in the country to prepare for construction and volunteer projects.
Currently, Maranatha is working in 14 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 on short-term mission trips organized by Maranatha.