Maranatha Volunteers International recently wrapped up its first-annual collegiate “Catalyst” mission trip in Cusco, Peru, where 22 volunteers helped to build a church for the Izcuchaca Seventh-day Adventist congregation. The motto of Catalyst is “Spark Change Through Service,” and participants did that, not only by laying block walls for the church, but in reaching out to the community through a medical clinic.

Over the course of two days, volunteers saw 333 patients for general checkups, dental cleanings, vision screening and glasses, and counseling. Volunteer Isabella Guerrero has previously served in many capacities over the course of three teen mission trips on Maranatha’s high school project, Ultimate Workout, but never on the medical team. “It kind of scared me,” admitted Guerrero. “But I said, ‘I’m going to go for it!’ I did pharmacy, and it was amazing to see how you could make a change in their life through providing the proper medication. Very grateful to see that impact before my eyes.”

Several other volunteers served on Ultimate Workout before, which normally sees 100-200 teens participate each year. These volunteers noted a more intimate experience during Catalyst that allowed them to get to know their fellow participants at a deeper level not possible in a larger group. Volunteers worshiped together each day in the morning and evening, bonded over fun activities in their down time, and had the opportunity to visit the world-famous ruins of Machu Picchu.

Catalyst, started in 2023, is Maranatha’s mission trip for young adults, ages 18-28. The project provides an opportunity where like-minded volunteers can connect in faith and service as they navigate a unique period in their lives.