Over Christmas, 87 people forewent a traditional holiday at home in order to serve on a Maranatha mission trip in Peru. This trip was one of two projects in 2019 offered specifically for families and constituted Maranatha’s first volunteer group in Peru since 2006. The work was focused on the area surrounding the capital city of Lima where volunteers helped to construct a Sabbath School building for the Huaycan Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

Beyond construction, volunteers organized medical, dental, and vision clinics in local communities where nearly 500 patients were served. Other volunteers led children’s programs, painted a park playground, as well as a large school that was constructed by Maranatha more than a decade ago. 

A special aspect of Maranatha’s Family Projects is a day camp providing cultural experiences for younger volunteers in addition to the construction work. The children were able to visit a bread factory, buy unique fruit at a market, and attend a Peruvian elementary school. The kids helped with the community children’s programs and other outreach activities as well.

There were also opportunities for older volunteers to interact with the local people of Peru by visiting an English class at Peruvian Union University and handing out presents to neighborhood families on Christmas day. 

A highlight for many volunteers was the chance to see Lake Titicaca and worship in the floating church constructed by Maranatha in 2005. The group finished their time in Peru with an excursion to Machu Picchu.

Maranatha’s executive vice president, Kenneth Weiss, who led the project, enjoyed seeing the variety of reasons families made the journey. ‘All of these families are committed to injecting missions into their kids, but the family as a whole is changed,’ said Weiss. ‘Parents say they came for the kids but they end up being impacted just as much.’

Maranatha’s Family Projects are designed for families of all sizes and volunteers of all ages. The next Family Project will be in Peru, June 18-28.