When I was a child, I loved hearing mission stories during Sabbath School. I’d listen intently with a faraway look in my eyes, dreaming of going to some remote place to preach the gospel or heal the sick. I’d learn an exotic language, eat unfamiliar fruit, and dress like the local people. To me, this was the model of a perfect volunteer missionary. But my life took a very different direction.
I studied to become a physical therapist at River Plate University in Argentina, and after I graduated, I still felt a desire to help those in need. But could I serve as a volunteer without being a pastor or doctor or nurse? Was there a need for someone with my particular training?
It was at this point in my life that I really felt the hand of God leading me, for He not only guided every event that led to my becoming a volunteer, He guided my thinking as well.
He had to teach me that my model of a perfect volunteer wasn’t what He had in mind for me. He helped me discover that a volunteer can be a secretary, a chemist, an architect, a graphic designer, and even a physical therapy teacher!
When I began to make contacts to find a place to serve, I ran into difficulties. But God used several people to open doors for me, including the friendly team at Adventist Volunteer Service. And that’s how I ended up in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Montemorelos in Mexico, where I teach health and sports classes.
More than once, thoughts of my inadequacy as a volunteer crossed my mind—thoughts like, No one is going to be baptized because of my work here. But, as I kept studying God’s Word, I grew to understand that God can work in a million ways. I came to realize that volunteers don’t always need to be evangelists or medical missionaries. Our job is to live a consecrated Christian life so that people can see our happiness and be led by our good example. Our Christian walk can have a big impact on those who surround us if we’re faithful.
I’ve made good friends at the university. Many of them have asked me why I decided to be a volunteer and serve in this particular place. I always have the pleasure of responding that I’m a volunteer because I love my profession and I have chosen to work for God. I chose to serve in Mexico because God impressed me to come here and worked out every detail so that I could.
If you’d like to grow as an individual, meet new people, learn about new cultures, and face new challenges, I highly recommend serving as a volunteer. Whatever your education or work experience, chances are, you’ll make the perfect volunteer!
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Church leaders realized that the gospel needed to be translated, familiarized, and contextualized and that ministers, like Paul, had to become all things to all men so that they could by all means save some.
Centers of influence are currently being established in cities around the world.