With Christmas just around the corner you may have missed that today is also a day to celebrate. December the 5th happens to be International Ninja day (who knew that was a thing?). But even more importantly than that, today we are celebrating International Volunteer Day!
For over forty years Tearfund have been sending volunteers around the world to live and learn alongside communities who are fighting poverty. Today we want to thank some of our remarkable volunteers who give up their time and resources to serve God with Tearfund.
“Before embarking on a gap year, I had a place secured at King’s College London to train as a Midwife but ICS totally altered my life in the best way and I’m now studying international development at Sussex University. I discovered that my greatest passion is for social justice both on a local and global scale and my incredible experiences of volunteering in South Africa confirmed it. I learned and grew so much in my faith, understanding cross-cultural work, a sense of community and building relationships that I hope will last a lifetime. There's a saying that you can't fulfill your calling in your comfort zone, and my story is definitely a testament to that.”
Lizzi Joyner (3 months with Zoe Life in South Africa)
“Living with and getting to know my host family in Bangladesh was an amazing experience. Sharing life, food and laughter and cooking delicious curries with my host mother and sister is something I will always always treasure! It taught me that despite our differences in culture or the language we speak, really we are all the same: fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image.”
Lucy Dunne (3 months with Baptist Aid in Bangladesh)
“At first volunteering felt overwhelming for me as I didn't know what I could bring. But as I grew in confidence and learnt more about what I can bring to other people, it was then I realised I could really help make a difference to those around me.”
Aidan Simpson-Gray (3 months with Zoe Life in South Africa)
“What a privilege it was to be accepted (at the age of 78) for the Tearfund team! We taught English in primary schools, and one of the younger volunteers helped with the sports project. It was a daily challenge, but increasingly I looked forward to entering the classroom and interacting with the children. It was a joy to work in Christian schools where the children were encouraged to pray, and to watch the children sing ‘Our God is a Great Big God’ – with actions!”
Pauline Perkins (1 month with CORSOC in Colombia)
“Visiting Haiti with Tearfund was an incredible experience. The best part was spending three days with young leaders from across Haiti, and planning how they could campaign and make changes to the country. The people we met were so inspiring, passionate about justice and motivated to create change - I came back inspired to try and live with as much hope and drive for justice as they have.”
Jack Wakefield (2 weeks in Haiti)
“On placement we were there to teach local schools about renewable energy and it was also amazing to be able to teach a bit of music to some children at the church. We met some people training to be teaching assistants as well as women in villages who were being taught to knit amazing jumpers. So there was lots of teaching and lots of empowering!
While I was in Peru I had a picture of a pair of hands holding a bird that hadn't yet learnt to fly. The hands launched the bird into the air and it was able to fly away. This really describes the work that Warmis do. They give local people the tools and skills needed for them to find freedom and to become who God intended them to be.”
Fiona Thompson (2 weeks with Warmis in Peru)
“Volunteering with Tearfund was powerful as it enabled me to see the potential for love and unity to be manifested in the some of the most challenging places to live in the world. I will not forget meeting the young people there and seeing the kindness and integrity that they demonstrated. They have helped me to see that God can use small groups of young people to be shining examples in their communities. I hope that my life can model the love that they showed towards one another.”
Matt Morrison (2 weeks in Burundi)
“Whenever we have volunteers it brings more impact to our work. Every team is different and brings different skills. It adds value because it increases the picture that our staff have in terms of the work of God.”
Amon Chanika, National Director of Scripture Union (Tearfund partner), Malawi
To find out more about Tearfund’s volunteering opportunities visit Tearfund Go.