Doing missions abroad voluntarily for six to twelve months, living in a foreign culture, sometimes with many deprivations. That is what 21 people between the ages of 17 and 69 are getting into who took part in a two-week preparation class of EBM INTERNATIONAL in Elstal.
There were many questions to be answered and the participants received a lot of information. Fifteen of the young volunteers can be sent out via the “weltwärts” program of the BMZ (Federal Ministry) who also cover the majority of the costs.
The volunteers awaited a colorful and challenging program. Some of the topics were culture shock, boundaries (own and other people’s), recognizing stereotypes with one self and with others, dealing with digital media during the mission trip, patience, crises, failure, encountering suffering, and preparation and responsibility before, during, and after a volunteer assignment.
Where does it go? This is different for (almost) all participants. Ten of them are going to our partner countries: India, Argentina, Malawi, and South Africa. There they will engage in children’s homes, schools, hospitals, and kindergartens. They want to serve people and through exchange, they want to learn about daily challenges that people face there. Another six people are going to Malawi and Cuba within an internship for a church or university studies, or retirees with a serving heart are doing a sabbatical year.
Five volunteers of the EmK world mission who took part in the class want to go to Malawi, South Africa, Lesotho, and Namibia.
The mix and diversity of the participants was a great blessing and it shows that people can do a volunteer assignment at almost any stage in their lives in order to carry God’s love into the world.
It was exciting to see the exchange with former volunteers when they were talking about the time of their assignments. There was a glass that was filled during the class filled with papers written of impressions and things learned and it became a symbol of what we learn on a daily basis and what we accept in gratitude. In this short time, new friendships were made. There were many good talks and prayers just as good laughs and serious topics and reflections. At the end of the class, we said an emotional goodbye and we are already looking forward to meeting again: a year from now for our evaluation class!
Comment of a volunteer towards the end: “I have learned so much in these two weeks and a lot of it will most likely not only help me in my time as a volunteer but also beyond that.”
Coordinator for the volunteer program