50 Stories: Working together in love
"I started work at Bethany Christian Trust in January 2014. At that stage, we had already recruited volunteers for that year. It was the first time I had been introduced to Time for God.
I wanted to learn about the nuts and bolts about how TfG worked, and to continue building on the relationship we already had.
This year we are hosting three full time volunteers for our Bethany House project, which is about giving people a hope and a future and helping them work through a tough time in their life.
Time for God found us excellent volunteers. They’re really enthusiastic, so it was an easy decision to make. We usually only take volunteers who are 21 and older but one of our volunteers was just 19 when she came; we decided she was so incredible and mature enough to handle it.
Part of our volunteering policy states that we will aim to attract as many different volunteers from all different sectors of society as we can. We don’t just focus on churchgoers; we try to reach as many people as possible. When working with international volunteers, we realise that we can all learn from each other. If you have someone who comes from a completely different walk of life, who will volunteer and give their time to see someone else’s life benefitted, surely that will be a real blessing to them.
From my perspective, we do our best in providing training and making sure that the volunteers feel supported, but the staff obviously have a job to do, too. I feel that support and supervision is part of our culture to think about the bigger issues in life, spiritual topics, and providing these young people with opportunities to better themselves. They think about the tough questions like, why am I doing this? What impact does this have on my life?
Time for God also provides conferences, and that complements what we already do. It’s an added layer and it helps us and supports us to look after our volunteers even better. Engaging with people who are doing similar work is essential. Time out is really important to process.
Bethany House volunteers will support the staff, get the residents up, answer calls, serve meals, and shadow project workers in their assessment of potential service users. They come in and get used to the culture and understand more about how the house is run and working with vulnerable people. As time goes on, they learn and gain a lot of experience. We expect our volunteers to uphold the standards of our organisation, maintain boundaries, genuinely take an interest in their own learning, and working together as a team in a way that is respectful.
We work together in love."
This post is part of '50 Stories,' a year-long series of personal accounts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Time For God.