The North Pacific Union Miracle Team: Teenagers Go on “Ultimate” Mission Trip

October 01, 2003 | Loretta Spivey

Be proud North Pacific Union. Your youth were part of a miracle!

It may be hard to believe because it seems like teens are not interested in spiritual things. We don’t understand the video games they play, and most of us don’t know Xbox from PlayStation® 2. But on July 8 more than 100 volunteers, including 13 from the North Pacific Union, powered down the computers, packed their bags and headed for the 13th Annual Ultimate Workout in the Dominican Republic.

They were part of the 133-member group of teens and staff that gave up two weeks of their summer to be a part of Ultimate Workout 13, a mission trip for teens between the ages of 14 and 18.

On Wednesday, following orientation at a central camp near Santo Domingo, the large group separated into four smaller groups of approximately 35 people. In addition to the youth, each group was fortified with four to six staff members that included a site leader, construction supervisor, nurse and pastor. It was the job of those adults to make sure that the goals of the trip were accomplished.

The volunteers traveled to the Dominican Republic to build churches, but Steve Case, project director, made it abundantly clear that the primary goal was “spiritual transformation of the youth.” The real purpose of the Ultimate Workout is to put the young people in a position where they must depend on God. It provides opportunities to see God in ways that they might not see Him at home and most of all it allows them the freedom to interact with and worship God on a level that is difficult to achieve while watching TV, skateboarding, dealing with the pressures of high school or even sitting in a church service.

“This trip has helped me to develop an attitude of service and helped to gain new spiritual ideas and insights,” said Jeffrey Lamberton, a volunteer from Naches, Wash.

After doing construction work in sweltering heat and using outdoor showers and toilets that don’t flush, you would think the participants would be anxious to put the experience behind them. Instead, Jeff Gilbert, also from Naches, said, “The Ultimate Workout is an experience I will never forget. Regarding the spiritual experience, it was electrifying. I can’t wait to go next year!”

The Ultimate Workout was created in 1990 by the then-editor of Insight magazine, Chris Blake. Today the project is a result of the partnering between Insight, which handles promotions, Maranatha, which raises the money for the construction and provides logistical support, and Steve Case, Piece of the Pie Ministries president of.

To learn about Ultimate Workout 14 in Peru, visit or

Maranatha Volunteers International, based in Sacramento, Calif., is a non-profit ASI-member organization committed to constructing urgently needed buildings through the use of volunteers. Since 1969, Maranatha has mobilized more than 50,000 volunteers to 61 countries all over the world.