In June 2020, three months after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a stop, Maranatha volunteers ventured back into service at a remote school campus in Oregon. One year later, nearly 50 volunteers returned to the same school, Milo Adventist Academy, in less uncertain times.

Among the tasks tackled on this project were painting the exterior and interior of the girls dorm, making miscellaneous repairs in the boys dorm, installing trim in a staff house, and landscaping. Volunteers also worked at nearby Camp Umpqua, installing pine siding in the lodge and constructing a duplex cabin.

Wherever volunteers were stationed, project coordinator and Maranatha board member, Ed Jensen, noticed them doing extra work beyond what was assigned. Like Donna Peterson, who worked in the kitchen preparing meals, but after seeing that her area needed a thorough cleaning, she vacuumed, scrubbed tables, and washed windows between meals. “These aren’t the kind of people who sit around and enjoy the ambience,” said Jensen. “They saw the need, jumped on it, and took care of it.”

School staff expressed their appreciation, not only for the hard work on this most recent project, but for Maranatha’s continued presence at Milo over the years. Maranatha’s first project at the boarding academy was in 1989, and many of the facilities on the property have either been constructed or renovated by Maranatha volunteers. The school now counts on this consistent boost to their facilities each year.

For first-time volunteer Ron Gadreault, not only was the work rewarding, but the community he joined was special as well. “I didn’t realize how much of a family it becomes, and how much people mean to you,” said Gadreault. “That is how Maranatha seems to be, a family helping others. Everybody cares about each other and cares about the project, and we work together as a family works together. And you get kind of sad when you have to leave.”

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.

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