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The heart of a volunteer

What makes a good or competent or effective volunteer?

Well, we go where the need is or I think I could help or I got pushed into helping and now I love it. Only 3 points of view which maybe the way we got into volunteering, at all. It’s not to do with peer pressure, it has no involvement with a “What do I get out of it?” attitude and there are times when you think that you have made the biggest mistake ever.

However, if the one specific aspect of your desire or call to be a volunteer has it’s root within your heart attitude, you will be a great volunteer. One of the saddest but more rewarding experiences of my life came in a trip to Romania about 15 years ago. We were able to get a hold of 300 single beds (that is another story!) which meant that if we could get them over there, we could throw out vermin, insect, lice infected beds that young children at one of the many orphanages in that Country to sleep safely and healthily.

A major distribution company came to our aid with 3 semis with 40foot trailers. Everything was paid for by sponsors with the exception of the 3 driver’s pay. We got there and the drivers left everything to us to enjoy the delights and low cost bear in the nearest city. We had, also, brought along 300 Christmas Shoeboxes to give out to the children in the orphanage. We had been there 2 days making and building beds, ensuring that their needs were met. We planned a party on the last day to give out the gifts. The drivers stayed away. I asked them if they could help us to hand out the gifts and they reluctantly accepted. We lined up the children in age and sex - the first group was the younger teenage girls 13-15 years old. When the drivers looked they shouted ‘No, these are not for the little boys, go away!’ Sadly, because of lack of food, the girls were much smaller than they should be, their hair was shorn because of lice and their clothing was not very nice. When the guys realised their mistake they were stricken with remorse and guilt. They ran off to hide in tears. It was a sad and a difficult event.

We finished after about 2 hours and I went to see the guys. They were distraught. They realised that they had come for the money, the experience and the nightlife. Never thinking what could happen. They mad a decision that night - they gave their pay to the orphanage, promised to tell everyone about the needs of the children and told me to keep them informed.

Well, the great news is that, a year later, the beds helped to remove all the nasty aspects of the old beds. The young girls now could look in the mirrors from the shoeboxes as well as the use the clips, hairbrushes and combs because they could shampoo their hair. Some for the first time in years with the use of carbolic or harsh soap. We sent pictures to the drivers who told us how many more tears they shed from what had become a life changing event for 3 tough middle aged men.

The moral of the story being that they had no heart for what they were doing, they were being mercenary in their desire for money and they had no ownership of what I can truly call - the most exhilarating, traumatic but liberating event of my entire life.

Being a volunteer is not always as satisfying as you would like. However, the rewards are incalculable, you cannot describe the effect of them. It is a great feeling to know that even though the people you help, seem not to deserve anything and that the Mercy of God is something we may want at some time in our lives.

The heart of the volunteer is to some people a difficult thing to describe. Only when you know the effects of our actions can you understand the consequences. AfterCare Ministries is founded

on a willingness to support and help the helpless,

to stand and guide the spiritually blind and to encourage the offender towards hope in a Heavenly Father who shows His love to us by giving us His heart of love for others.