Nearly 20 people were commissioned this week to serve as volunteer mission workers for either Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM), the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), and partner ministries with ServiceLink, the office that helps to recruit and train volunteers for the denomination.
The commissioning service capped an orientation that took place this week in the Burlington, Ontario, office of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
"These orientation workshops are a collaborative effort with CRWRC, CRWM and ServiceLink – including the planning team as well as workshop leaders," says Carol Sybenga, program manager of ServiceLink.
"We also like to include former volunteers who have served with our agencies and who can share first-hand experiences with orientation participants."
One of the breakout sessions, in fact, joins volunteers with people who have served in the countries where they will be going.
Volunteer mission workers will be serving in countries all over the world. For instance, a family of five will be serving orphans in Kenya and engaging in various projects in the areas of agriculture, tutoring, vocational training and providing love and support to more than 200 children.
Another volunteer will serve as a CRWRC International Relief Manager in Pakistan.
A retired couple will be travelling to Bolivia to work with a veterinarian ministry.
A number of mission team leaders were on hand as well, preparing for future trips to Nicaragua and Japan.
In Nicaragua, teams will assist in various community development projects whereas in Japan, they will be involved in earthquake/tsunami relief work.
"There are also those who are looking to develop long-term partnerships with an overseas community – to learn from each other and to share various gifts and skills," says Carol Sybenga.
Two volunteers working in the Burlington office also participated in the orientation. They have served abroad and wanted to learn more about serving with the CRCNA.
"There were also a few people from the Canadian Reformed World Relief Fund who were here to collaborate with us and preparing to lead teams in the future," says Sybenga.
This week's gathering was the second of two volunteer orientations put on every year by ServiceLink and the other agencies. The orientation in the Grand Rapids, Mich., office took place this past May and "we hope to do that again in 2012," says Sybenga.