Who is Solar Oven Partners?

Practical, prayerful, passionate Dakotans first created and now sustain Solar Oven Partners.

Grounded in flexibility for changing needs and times, we work for the economic, physical, spiritual and environmental well-being with the people in places we serve.

Initiated by lay persons and built on trust over a 20-plus-year history, today Solar Oven Partners are:

  • Donors whose contributions fund materials and support training
  • Hands-on volunteers at fabrication workshops in the Dakotas or through projects in their churches
  • Volunteers-in-Mission team members who travel to serve
  • In-country partners on mission sites who provide cultural and administrative connections; and
  • Advisory Board, Staff, and Communication Team members who ensure accountability and transparency.

Solar Oven Partners is both a mission of the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church, supported by contributions to Dakotas UMC Advance #637 and an accredited Advance Special #418812 of UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief).

In-country administration and outreach partners include:

  • Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana (Evangelican Church of the Dominican Church), Dominican Republic
  • United Methodist Church, Sierra Leone, West Africa; and
  • Navajo Nation, FaithWorks.

Advisory Board Members

Rev. Phil Lint, Board President, Montrose, SD

Marj (Marjorie) Evans-de-Carpio, Director

Ariana Armapatzis, Mitchell, SD

Gene Bethke, Raymond, SD

Gloria Borgman, Spearfish, SD

Adam Burnison, Rapid City, SD

Jay Niedert, Madison, SD

Dave Silbernagel, Zeeland, ND

Emily Warns, Madison, SD

Karen Workman, Bismarck, ND

Our Staff

Marj (Marjorie) Evans-de-Carpio


Marj was named director of Solar Oven Partners in 2017. Fluent in Spanish, she holds a BA in Spanish and Ibero-American Studies and a Masters in Divinity. She previously served as a certified Spanish interpreter for the Minnesota Judicial Branch, assisted immigrants transitioning into Minnesota, and is a trainer with the Kaleidoscope Institute, an ecumenical institute that trains clergy and church members in building knowledge and skills to effectively minister across cultural differences. Marj’s husband, Lalo, hails from the Dominican Republic. Marj started and operated an English-language school when the couple lived there for close to two years.

Jess Pikul

Office Assistant

Al Roll

Missional Impact Development Coach
Dakotas United Methodist Church

Communications Team

Marj Evans-de-Carpio


Donna Fischer

Deadwood, SD

Connie Smith

Montrose, SD

Karen Workman

Bismarck ND

Workshop Managers

Central Workshop, Raymond, SD

Pack oven components for shipping; manufacture bread pans

Gene Bethke

Reflector Workshop, Montrose, DS

Cut insulation; wrap oven components

Rev. Phil Lint

Workshop: 605-363-3407

Reflector Workshop, Open Heart United Methodist Church, Rapid City, SD

Cut metal reflector components

Adam Burnison

Church: 605-343-1813

Mission Partners

Dominican Republic

Erasme Figaro

SOP Director and Pastor, Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana (Evangelical Church of the Dominican Republic), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Gordy and Ardell Graner

Gordy is a retired missionary and Ardell is a current missionary serving in the Dominican Republic through the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Navajo Nation – FaithWorks

Amy and Tony Casali, Co-Directors

FaithWorks, Flagstaff, AZ

Sierra Leone, West Africa

Smart Senesie

Director of Missions and Development, United Methodist Church, Sierra Leone, West Africa