HISTORY OF CAMP MARANATHA
Since his arrival in Santo Antonio de Leverger, Mato Grosso in 1970, the missionary Robert Doolittle,
(or "Pastor Roberto" as he is affectionately known)
Felt the need to have a retreat during the Carnival period. This retreat served two purposes:
1) to enjoy the extended holiday to strengthen the brethren spiritually through the preaching of the Word and fellowship; and 2) to remove the saved from the midst of the immorality of the period. For several years retreats were carried out in the most precarious conditions in Vereda and Coxipó do Ouro. Each year it was more difficult to find a suitable place and in 1977 the retreat was canceled because there was no place to go.
It burned in the heart of Pastor Roberto the desire to have a permanent place to camp and he brought before God this purpose in prayer.
By the grace of God and the help of American brothers the current location was acquired in the same year of 1977. This property has almost 300 acres of enclosed land and is provided in the back of at least 1 km of border with the Pari River.
The first retreat at Camp Maranatha was carried out in February 1978. With machetes, scythes and axes they cleared a place in the bush on the banks of the Pari River, and two tents covered with canvas were erected for the male and female dormitories. All 80 campers slept in hammocks. He even had a science at bedtime to balance the middle post and not bring the tent to the floor! The classes were held in the shade of the trees. The food was made in tacurus (stones) on the floor, (the breakfast was always cornmeal porridge!). The bathrooms were the bush. Baths and dishwashing were on the Pari River as well as drinking water. The light was a gas lantern, lanterns, and moonlight. But what was lacking in comfort was more than supplied in spirituality! God confirmed his presence at that retreat and 3 souls were saved, 12 people dedicated their lives to the Lord and 2 men were
In the next two years improvements were made. The kitchen had a straw roof with a wood stove. Toilets were "manufactured" by digging ditches and surrounding them with black plastic. A sack of lime served to try to lessen the flies and smell. In 1982 a well was dug and the camp moved to the floodplain. It was not only the best water there, but it also had fewer mosquitoes than at the river's edge. In the next few years Pastor Roberto invested blood, sweat and tears (and considerable finances) by gradually building a kitchen, main shed and brick dormitories.
Camp Maranatha today has a rustic yet comfortable infrastructure. Now it enjoys electric power and artesian wells, its large kitchen is equipped with modern equipment and two industrial stoves. Its two dormitories are screened and secured, accommodating 180 campers in three-story bunk beds with semi-ortopedic mattresses covered with lapel and sanitized before each retreat. A large hall for a dining room, A temple to gather and listen to preaching of the word of God, and beautiful tiled bathrooms in the bedrooms increase comfort. Four kiosks, canteen, games room, soccer field, volleyball court, zip line, and a small lake offer fun in the
free afternoon hours.
Camp Maranatha is maintained by the offerings of brothers and the income from the camps, and also by the hard work and investment of Pastor Peter Doolittle who resides there and acts as director.
Camp Maranatha holds 8 to 10 annual retreats, not just families at Carnival, but the purpose remains the same from 40 years ago! Build up the saved through the preaching of the Word and promote fellowship among the brethren! Countless people were touched by God in this place. Souls were saved and people called to consecration and ministry!
All according to it's motto: "For the Glory and Praise of God"!