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Making a difference

By Patrick J. Donadio

From 17 volunteers in 1986, today more than 2,500 MAPS RV volunteers are crisscrossing America with abilities and expertise in all fields and trades. RVers work at Teen Challenge centers, Bible colleges and universities, district campgrounds, in inner cities and on home missions projects.

As of October 1999, RVers have saved the Assemblies of God more than $158 million.

Southern California
"RV Volunteers are modern-day heroes," says Dennis Griffith, director of Teen Challenge of Southern California. "They have saved us more than $1 million in labor costs. From grading the land to putting on a roof, they helped build new buildings and remodel existing ones."

In San Diego, the 26,000-square-foot Benedict Castle, a replica of a castle in Spain, houses the headquarters for Southern California Teen Challenge. RVers are remodeling this unusual building. Two gargoyles, used as rainspouts for the castle 50 years ago, were repaired.

"Our students [in the residential discipleship program] are blown away by the love and concern the RVers have for them," Griffith says. "They see that the RVers are willing to work free of charge to improve the Teen Challenge facilities so they can get the help they need. RVers’ investment in the ministry of Teen Challenge pays dividends in changed lives."

New Orleans, La.
George Neau, chancellor of the School of Urban Missions, says: "The vision of dormitory facilities for the New Orleans School of Urban Missions was realized through the RVers. Their donated labor saved us more than $200,000 and the burden of trying to meet a $2,000-a-month loan payment. Improved facilities attract more students, which means more witnesses for Jesus Christ in urban centers of America."

Phoenixville, Pa.
Buildings at Valley Forge Christian College needed renovation, so RVers remodeled classrooms, residence halls, apartments and the chapel.

Springfield, Mo.
RVers have worked on college campuses, HealthCare Ministries building, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and at the Headquarters complex.

When the Division of Home Missions received the news that the new home of the national Teen Challenge Department in Springfield could not be completed with available funds, these volunteers saved this project hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"RVers are making a difference in this church," says Thomas E. Trask, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. "For many [of those they help], it means the difference between having a building to worship in or not. For others, it has taken them from a rented facility to a place of their own. The Assemblies of God owes a great debt of love and appreciation to the RV Volunteers."

Patrick J. Donadio has been director of the Mission America Placement Service (MAPS) Department in the Division of Home Missions since 1986.


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