Dear Maranatha Family,
Another year heads for the record books, but what a great year it was! I wanted to drop one last note before we hit the holiday shut-down to update you on some quick things as we close out our 87th season.
The Tabernacle survey got a MASSIVE response (no surprise there!). The quick headlines are that there was overwhelming support to improve the Tabernacle experience across all the areas we questioned such as, sightlines, seating comfort, and climate control. Of those who voted on how far to take the rehab (1 was essentially do nothing to a 10, taking it to the limit of what is possible), more than 75 percent voted seven or higher. HOWEVER, there was an equally strong response to keeping the spirit and feel of the Tabernacle while ensuring key historically important visual elements remained. The direction we are heading is fully in-line with these desires. None of the explored options will eliminate or remove the original core building. All the considerations will respect our history while adding restrooms, HVAC, improved sightlines, and a much-needed reinforced structure. There is much more to do on the plans, but we will keep you posted on how the task force progresses!
Several other projects are off and running while we have a lull in the retreat schedule. The Lodge lower lobby remodel (the Labor Day love offering) is almost completed with new flooring, paint, furniture, lighting, and carpets, giving this most important space a much more comfortable experience with much-improved looks. We also finally broke ground on the new Teen and Office building (South Africa) after a long permitting delay. Pray that we can keep this on track and make up for lost time to have this building ready for the summer season! The Founders Home remodel is going very well as we return this important building to its former glory. New electrical, HVAC, flooring, kitchen, and bathrooms will make this one of our premier locations for guests.
On the staffing front, our new Grounds and Facilities Director, Jon Eldersveld, started this month. Ron Peterson will work through the first week of February to help Jon transition into this new role. Be sure to drop Ron a note of thanks for his service to Maranatha! Also!! We are thrilled that Gary Feenstra has returned to the staff in a part-time role as our Ambassador of Ministry and Development. Gary will help act as an ambassador at various events and within our guest community, as well as help lead on the development efforts for the five-year board campaign to build all the infrastructure that will help us expand over the next several years. Of course, Gary will stay on point leading Friday nights during the summer with the Hymn Sings and lead our Senior Retreats in the fall and spring. THANK YOU to all our amazing staff who give so selflessly to keep Maranatha running 24/7!! We love you all!!!
Maranatha Day of Prayer will be Monday, January 15, at 10 am. We will meet in the Lebanon Teen building for those on campus who can join us! Please remember to pray for God’s provision and protection in the upcoming new year if you cannot attend.
We are rejoicing in what God is doing within this great ministry as we provide spiritual renewal in this beautiful recreational setting, emphasizing Bible teaching and worldwide missions. Next year – our 88th season!!! – is themed “Contending for the Faith,” echoing Jude 1:3. We have an exceptional lineup of speakers for next year, including a big Youth Apologetics one-day event planned for August 17th. In the meantime, we have our Valentine’s Getaway Weekend event (it’s almost full…act soon to get your tickets!!) and the Women’s Writers’ Retreat (also filling up!). Stay up on all our events at Maranathamichigan.org! And please, as we draw the year to a close, we still have major needs to make our budget in the year-end giving. If God moves your heart, anything post-marked by December 31st will count for your taxes this year!
Stacey and I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year as we journey together in this wonderful ministry. We share the dear Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 1:3-6 as we thank you for all your love and support this past year!! We look forward to seeing you in 2024!