Have you ever thought about making a difference by using your time and talent as a volunteer, but you don’t know where to start? I’m pretty sure you are not alone.
According to the North American Division (NAD) Office of Volunteer Ministries, six volunteers from the Atlantic Union Conference are currently on long-term assignments in other regions: Mark in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands; Martania – South Korea; Glaucia – Majuro, Marshall Islands; Adeola – South Korea; Hillary – United States; and Dawn – Chuuk, Micronesia. In addition, several students have gone on numerous short-term mission trips through Adventist academies and colleges/universities. If it were possible to have accurate reporting of all volunteers in long- and short-term mission service, the number would be more than six.
“The Office of Volunteer Ministries works with Adventist Volunteer Service to connect Adventist members with volunteer mission opportunities around the world. From teachers and medical professionals to IT support, graphic designers, and Bible workers, the world-wide church has been blessed with the selfless service of hundreds of volunteers from the North American Division each year,” says Andrea Keele, NAD Office of Volunteer Ministries processing and communication coordinator. “While some choose to take a year out of school as ‘student missionaries,’ others set aside their normal lives for a year or two and serve after college—even in their retirement years!”
Sometimes all that one needs is a nudge, or a bit more information, to get started on the path of exploring volunteer ministries.
Tips for Getting Started as a Volunteer
- Ask yourself what it is that you want to do.
- Think about where you want to go.
- Decide if your volunteer activity will be long-term (two months to two years) or short-term (up to two months).
- Make a list to help you identify what you may need to get there (passports, visas, health exams, immunizations, etc.).
- Take into account any medical, financial, physical, emotional, or other situations that could impact the trip.
- Do your research. Visit the website of the organization through which you will go on this journey to gather as much information as possible. Browse through their FAQ (frequently asked questions) section for answers to questions you may have.
Six Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering can be a life-changing experience. It allows you to become knowledgeable about and sensitive to people of other cultures, while making a difference in their lives. Here are just a few benefits of volunteering:
1. Strengthens your compassion for others—Volunteering is just one of many ways to be the “hands and feet of Jesus.” It gives you the opportunity to put your “foot in the shoes” of the community in which you are working and provide for them in ways that would not otherwise be possible.
2. Learn about other cultures and new languages—Living and working in other countries is a good way to learn about other cultures, as well as learn new languages.
3. Learn new skills—Volunteering can provide opportunities to strengthen skills you already have, as well as develop new ones that will positively impact the community you are serving. Included among those are teamwork, organization, time management, effective communication, and problem-solving skills, to name a few.
4. Develop new friendship networks—Serving others is a great way to meet new people and develop new relationships. It can serve to broaden your network and provide opportunities for you to work alongside people with common interests.
5. Brightens your outlook—Volunteering can increase self-confidence, self-esteem, and your over-all outlook on life. It can provide a sense of accomplishment, help build a support system, and it can reduce the risk of social isolation.
6. Draw closer to God—Volunteering allows you to be reflectors of Christ’s character. When you spend time volunteering, you may actually draw closer to Him. It is likely to cause you to feel more connected to Jesus, His teachings, and the way of life that He practiced.
Volunteer work is important and rewarding. It is also about having new experiences, meeting people, and just having fun. Thank you for praying for the volunteers as they serve away from home.
If you would like more information on how to become a volunteer missionary through Adventist Volunteer Service, visit hesaidgo.org.
Long-term Volunteer Missions
If you sense God calling you to invest more of your time, skills, and heart in mission work, serving as a long-term volunteer missionary through Adventist Volunteer Service (AVS) could be your next step.
• These volunteers are requested from the U.S. and around the world.
• Volunteers need to be baptized members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, between the ages of 18 and 79.
• Length of assignments are from two months to two years.
• Accommodations, living allowance, and travel insurance provided for most calls.
• Step-by-step guidance and support is provided from [the Office of Volunteer Ministries] or your campus missions office (for students at Adventist universities).
Short-term Volunteer Missions
A short-term mission trip is a volunteer assignment that is less than two months. These mission assignments include a host of ministries by Adventist workers, laypersons, and retirees from Adventist organizations originating in North America. Short-term assignments include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Humanitarian Relief
• Evangelistic Efforts
• Construction Projects, etc.
Short-term volunteers include individuals and groups between the ages of 18 and 79 years old who serve on a volunteer project approved by a church institution. Volunteers under the age of 18 may be processed as part of a group, but require permission from their legal guardians.