Today, December 5th, is International Volunteers Day.
You may not know this but my wife and i met each other as volunteers for a mission group called OM and we sailed on a ship called the MV Logos for nearly 2 years around South and Central America. We didn’t get paid but they gave us $5 a week for an ice cream or postcard. We had a fantastic time but it wasn’t easy for us. We worked a 40 hour week and did all our social work and ministry on top. We helped build another ministry before starting our own. We learned discipline and we learned the cultural skills needed to function in other countries. We learned how to get along with each other – 130 people from 30 countries, all living on a tiny ship. There were vast theological differences but we had to work together. ‘Truth Wars’ were forbidden and fighting over doctrine got you sent home.
Sometimes I see people come out of university or seminary and they jump straight in to overseas work or building up their own thing. I wish they would spend some time volunteering, learning to get along with God’s children who are different, learning how to get by without a budget, building up someone else’s work before they put their hand to their own.