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As the Cárdenas Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cárdenas, Cuba, nears its second anniversary, the congregation is thriving, according to a Maranatha Ministry International report. Maranatha, a supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was instrumental in the development of the local Adventist church project in that city.

Local church leaders reported 25 baptisms in a city and area where the church struggled to grow in the past. Now, city residents are flocking to attend evangelism meetings at the new church and enjoying the benefits of the local members’ community outreach initiatives.

Most recently, local church leaders and members launched a program to provide purified water to their neighbors, Maranatha reported. “Earlier this year, the congregation invested in a water filtration system and installed it on the church property,” the report said. “Now, the church is opening the pump area to the community, several times a week, for people to collect free filtered water. The initiative has been an effective way to serve the community and provide opportunities for positive interactions.”

Maranatha started construction on the Cárdenas church in 2016, after waiting more than 20 years for the Cuban government to grant construction permits. It was completed and dedicated in April 2017. The facility covers 12,000 square feet (1,114 square meters) and has seating for 500 people in the main sanctuary, with more on the second floor. Other rooms include Sabbath school classrooms, a fellowship hall, bathrooms, and even showers.

The building was designed to accommodate worship for the local congregation while also serving as a place for convocations and retreats. It is frequently used by the local church conference and by the Adventist Church’s Cuban Union Conference.

Previously, the congregation met in a small building, about the equivalent size of a two-car garage in the United States.

Cárdenas is one of approximately 200 projects that Maranatha has completed in Cuba. Currently, Maranatha is helping to renovate an Adventist church in San Antonio de Los Baños, located 16 miles (26 kilometers) outside of Havana.

The original version of this news story was posted by Maranatha Volunteers International.

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