International Volunteers Day

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.


Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)


  • Well put mate….what a great experience that must’ve been!
    That’s why inner city missions, parachurch orgs, and other stuff can be such a blessing…cuz it helps you “Major on the majors” and helps you to focus on the most important things…

  • I didn’t realise that. Wow. My older son (now 21) has been on the MV Doulos for nearly two years now, and finding it a wonderful experience.
    Here’s a scary thing, though… although the amount of support he had to raise is probably rather more than you had to, when he joined (Feb 2006) they STILL only got $5 per week as pocket money (actually it was $20 per month, so slightly less). A few months later they had a raise for the first time in many years, so they now get 20 euros per month for ice creams etc.
    ( is his blog – he first introduced me to your blog)

  • Great post, Andrew! It reveals a lot about why you are the way you are. It is very much in line with my views on apprenticing with a master craftsman before you try to open your own shop!
    Thanks for the great example you and your wife and children provide for so many…I am encouraged.

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