50 Stories: A Contribution to make
"At the Llanfair Uniting Church in Penrhys, we have hosted Time for God volunteers for about 18 years. They’ve come from Sweden, the United States, Korea, Germany... lots of different countries.
When they first arrive here, they experienced culture shock. Our community is quite isolated; we are 20 miles from the nearest city. It takes time to adjust and some volunteers struggle with homesickness, but people are really friendly here, especially the children. Our volunteers realize that they have a contribution to make.
The volunteers have helped with a variety of community-based projects. They have been involved in most of the church projects, our Sunday school, leading worship, homework club, a daytime café, an evening café for the children with lots of activities, a craft club, to name a few. The community asked us for these projects 23 years ago, when the church opened. We’re reviewing the current needs of the community, too. It is an exciting time, we are trying to look back and look forward together.
When the volunteers first arrive, they are quite shy and they often have a different picture of what a church looks like in mind. After their year of service, there is an improvement in confidence, and they grow in faith and tolerance.
They realise that they have contributed, particularly in the lives of our children. They give positive attention and make friendships. Because they’ve come from different backgrounds, volunteers connect our church to the global Christian community.
Having volunteers from different countries helps us. It helps us learn about the world. We’re trying to think of others more than we think of ourselves."