An Orthodox Christian’s Guide To Volunteerism: Devoting Your Time Overseas

Cassie Steele – OCP News Service – 8/5/19

‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms’- Peter 4:10. As we commit ourselves to Christ, we come to believe that he and he alone is the source of our joys, pain, blessings, and sorrows. As a sign of our gratitude for blessings bestowed, we go on to share our riches (intangible and tangible) with those less fortunate or recovering from disasters like in Sri Lanka. All across the globe, there are people in need of aid and assistance. Here is how you can make a difference by volunteering overseas, whether it is in retirement or simply for a few weeks.

Why Volunteer Overseas

By sparing a little of your time overseas, you can be helping those in need and in poverty across the world. In Acts 20:35 it is said, ‘In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’. The Lord encourages us to share our good fortune with others and not just money but our time. Helping others is a common theme and not only are you fulfilling a core belief as a Christian, but you will also further enrich your own life.

Where To Look: Projects You Can Get Involved In

If you are looking to get started in charitable causes, start by looking close to home. Your local church or community hub will have its own specific causes that it supports and that you can get involved in. Some of the more recent overseas charitable missions in the Orthodox community focus on a range of subjects from environmental preservation to childhood literacy. Retirees can help make a positive impact by getting involved in projects from organizations such as Love Volunteers or the Orthodox Africa Mission launched in 2015. Maximo Nivel offers several programs across Latin America that can allow you to make a difference to the lives of children by teaching English, reading or assisting the medical industry of evolving countries.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) offers volunteer opportunities throughout the United States. You can join action teams to support IOCC’s US disaster response in a hands-on way, or you can lend your time/efforts by fundraising, volunteering in your parish, or planning an event to raise awareness about IOCC’s worldwide humanitarian and development work.”

Regardless of the location, you choose to head to or the project you opt for, you can be sure that your sacrifice and contributions will make a huge change in the lives of others. After all, that is the focus. By offering our prayers, and sharing our blessings with our brothers and sisters who are hurting from war, poverty and natural disasters, we are can be classed as being stewards of God’s creation. It centers on some of the main lessons and messages taught by Jesus including compassion and sacredness of human life.

Cassie Steele – OCP News Service