Since I was 13, I have wanted to be a missionary. I’ve felt a calling to work in third world countries, or wherever I was needed, for the betterment of others. There’s also the growth I would experience, something I wouldn’t want to pass up.
I’m being given the opportunity to help on an upcoming mission to Puerto Rico. I still have yet to jump through the hoops but it looks favorable. And if my skills don’t match up with this mission’s needs, there are other upcoming ones. Being a mission volunteer is not the same as being a missionary. Being a missionary means living in a particular location for months or years. A mission volunteer provides service using particular skills for a week or two.
Also, there are missions that are two or more months long where you can work as a volunteer. This means I would be paying to be part of the experience. Some of these missions definitely meet my skill set. Working with children in orphanages, particularly children with special needs, is a natural fit. I’ve worked with special needs kids in the past. As a CNA, my skills might be useful in a medical arena. Working with the elderly, or teaching, are other avenues.
As someone who is a jack of all trades but master of none, I have learned many things which would be of help. There are many places where love is the main commodity, where compassion and a willingness to lend a hand with activities of daily living, homework, and hugs are more important than anything else. This I can do. As someone who chides herself on the lack of a specific career, this is something where my diversity of experiences actually helps.
The United Methodist New York Annual Conference has many opportunities available. My excitement about being able to finally give back is driving me forward. If I do the legwork, this can surely happen. My heart will be answered.