By Rosalee Mohney | Photos by Jesse N. Love
“I’m doing volunteer work because I wasn’t able to say ‘no.’ I’m called to do certain things – it happens that I volunteer to do those things.”
“The fullness of life is found not in receiving but in giving. When we serve others in Christ’s name, it is we who are most blessed.”
“I volunteer because it is good for my soul.”
The reasons for volunteering are as varied as there are people. For one person I’ve spoken to, volunteering saved her life as she went through a particularly difficult time; she found her self-respect once again.
“Do all the good you can, to all the people you can, in all the places you can!” The volunteers that go out from our churches every day exemplify these words.
A critical component of volunteering is passion. Our souls need to be deeply stirred for the passion to come roaring through and say, “Yes! I will help!” We come to that moment of passion through differing ways – the pastor may call, a chairperson asks for help, or God calls us directly and says, “You’re going to do something to help the Rebuild.” This last statement came from my personal experience – the Voice stirred the passion of my soul.
We carry on the long and rich history of Methodism, but more importantly, we live out what Christ told us to do – to go out and help people – all people! There are dozens of areas around the globe that are struggling in the aftermath of disasters. Some people are asked to volunteer to help in extreme situations that require intense, hard, physical labor. United Methodist Early Response Teams are some of the first to arrive after a flood and begin the work of ‘mucking out’ buildings so the damage can be assessed for rebuilding efforts. In the recovery phase, volunteers are needed for several months and years to help families and communities rebuild lives. It requires dedication, time, money, a deep faith, generosity of talents and skills, loss of sleep, planning, and disruption to personal lives.
The Rebuild: Up from the Ashes Project has been rebuilding homes for survivors of the worst wildfires in our Washington history. Hundreds of homes were completely devastated. In Okanogan County and the surrounding area, people were deeply impacted by the fires. The community was affected, too: kids developed school problems, domestic abuse increased, a sense of fear and a loss of hope were paralyzing. What can one person do?
The call for help went out and people responded by the hundreds. Communities were astonished at the response. In 2016 and 2017 there have been 42 Methodist volunteer teams that have helped rebuild homes for people who are hurt.
Why do the teams go to help? One team said, “It felt like we built a strong community with common goals surrounded by God moments.” Another team leader said, “I was struck by how the team’s efforts were received and appreciated. Many recipients seemed overwhelmed that people from Western Washington were willing to come for a week to do whatever they could. All were very grateful.”
Why do people volunteer to travel for many miles at their own expense to do hard work to help someone else? The passion for the work comes from being a people wrapped in the directive from Christ to go and do.
We are compassionate people with a passion for action!
If you are interested in being on a team or team leader, please contact Rosalee Mohney, Wildfires UMVIM Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.