Going There

There are more opportunities to make a ‘hands-on’ difference overseas than ever before.

Indeed, if you envy the many young adults who now take a year out, now is the time to take yours – and make an impact doing so.

  • What do you have to offer?

    The skills and experience you have gathered from your working life are a good place to start. However, not everyone wants to do the same after retirement as in their working career.

    Maybe you have other gifts or abilities you would like to explore? For a wide range of assessment tools to help you identify what might fit go here.

  • What needs to be kept in mind?

    Christian work is about adding value to whatever God is doing. And using use the gifts and skills He’s given you to serve whatever activity you become involved with.

    It is not about rescuing others and being a hero on their behalf. Poor communities need the dignity of deciding and managing their own future – a future in which God is already at work. Joining in is a privilege that calls for humility and a servant attitude.

  • How long do you have?

    What length of time do you have available? Doing something short-term, initially, might help you decide. Perhaps your church supports a mission worker you could visit. Then you can think about whether you can offer a few weeks or months, or perhaps a year.

    Opportunities are often split into –

    • Short-term – less than 3 months: This might include visits with a team or be a short placement at a project or alongside another mission worker
    • Medium term – 3-12 months: This includes gap year type placements or opportunities that could fit within a year, like teaching in an international school
    • Long term -1 year +: term: This tends to be for open ended opportunities which doesn’t mean staying for a long time but that the length of term isn’t limited and may include a return to the UK every year for a break.
  • How to find what's right for you

    If you specifically want to serve in a Christian context then your first stop would be OSCAR – the specialist clearing house and advice centre with everything you need.

    Using their website the simple process is to –

    Search: Look for opportunities that match your criteria. The ‘Refine Your Search’ menu helps you select different activities, locations and duration. Most opportunities do not specify any age range so as to comply with discrimination laws. So assume they are all open to receiving enquiries from people of any age.

    Compile: Compile a list of possibilities. Even if not everything matches, if there’s something that interests you about the organisation/opportunity, include them too.

    Contact: Contact those on your list, telling them about you. They will then be able to inform you whether they have something that matches what you’re looking for.

    Discover: As you do this, you may discover organisations that catch your interest from something they do or where they work. Keep them in your picture too, as it’s important to believe fully in the ministry that your organisation is involved in.

    Apply: Eventually you’ll decide which ones you want to apply to. The application process is also a time for helping you select the right one. This isn’t like a normal job application, you are both trying to assess what God may have in mind.

    Once you’re on your way, use OSCAR for everything else you need to sort out like travel, insurance, and health checks.

    Non-church sources

    There are also opportunities through non-church sources such as –

    • VSO – with opportunities for those up to 75 and including short-term assignments.
    • HelpX – an online listing of opportunities for short-term work in exchange for food and accommodation. In a typical arrangement a helper works an average of 4 hours per day in exchange for free accommodation and meals.

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The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife