Thursday, September 1, 2011
Become an Individual Volunteer
Quite a while ago I developed a burning desire to serve others. Through the Individual Volunteer Program I am finally finding fulfillment.
The training for becoming an Individual Volunteer covers an array of topics critical to preparing volunteers for challenges that will be varied and unfamiliar. The training leaders are those who have given their lives to serving others and developing cross-cultural understanding. Based on their cumulative experiences of leading and participating in mission work, the training team’s curriculum included theology, self-care, health and safety issues, community-based paradigms of service, the fundamentals of fund raising, international travel, and the responsibilities of an individual volunteer.
The intercultural understanding I gained and the guidelines for engaging in ministry with the poor were among the highlights for me.
As individuals and as representatives of the General Board of Global Ministries, we are all answering the call to “love your neighbor” and to “love the Lord your God.” The training guided us on how to practically and theologically apply this. We were given opportunities to express our faith through theological discussion of scriptures that pertain to mission, and we did role plays in a series of skits that were aimed to get us thinking about the best way to handle challenging issues of relationships. All of the skits were based on actual occurrences.
The training participants will serve impoverished areas in the global community, including the United States, serving for periods of a few months to two years. We vary in age, background and interests. My intelligence and compassion were validated and encouraged to expand. I feel ready to act now, and more humble than ever. The training was essential. I thank the training staff for their modeling of hospitality to me and all the others. The journey has begun as an individual volunteer!
The Individual Volunteer Program offers individuals and couples the opportunity to serve at placement sites in the global community, including the United States. In preparation for the work, volunteers attend a training event that includes theological grounding, spiritual enrichment, and practical “nuts and bolts” information. The training also serves as an occasion for discernment, as participants prayerfully consider how God’s call on their lives will be expressed.
To find out more about upcoming dates to train to become an Individual Volunteer, link to http://new.gbgm-umc.org/about/us/mv/programs/individualvolunteer/orientation/