Do something remarkable for others overseas in your retirement – using these 4 key steps. Posted on October 12, 2018October 12, 2018 by Peter Meadows Travel may well be among your plans during your years of active retirement. But what about combining it with doing something amazing – for others and for you? Indeed, there are more opportunities to make a ‘hands-on’ difference overseas than ever before. So if you envy the many young adults doing mission trips, now’s the time for yours. Interested? Then here’s your 4 key steps to getting it right and probably the adventure of a lifetime. 1.Asses what you have to offer Making a short-term impact overseas is not all about having the stamina to build a school. Far from it. During your working life you’ll have gathered skills and experience that, almost certainly, match what is in need – either by doing it yourself or sharing what you know. To help you identify what you have that would fit, there’s a wide range of assessment tools here. 2.Decide how much time you want to commit Opportunities overseas often split into – Short-term – less than 3 months: This might be visits with a team, a short placement at a project or alongside a mission worker Medium term – 3-12 months: This includes gap-year type placements or opportunities that fit within a year, like teaching in an international school Long term -1 year +: term: This tends to be for open-ended opportunities. This doesn’t mean staying for a long time but that the commitment isn’t limited and may include a return to the UK every year for a break. 3.Find the best fit for you Want to serve in a Christian context? Then your first stop would be OSCAR. It’s a specialist clearing house and advice centre with everything you need. Use their website to – Search for opportunities that match your criteria. To comply with discrimination laws they can’t specify an age range. So assume they are all open to receiving enquiries from someone actively retired. 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 those on your list. Tell them about you. They will be able to see if they have something matching what you’re after. Be open to discovery. You may be surprised to find organisations catching your interest due to something they do or where they work. Keep them in your picture too. Find something you believe in. If you are investing your time and talents you need to fully believe in what it does and how it does it. Apply. Eventually you’ll decide which ones to apply to. This 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. Tap into help. Once you’ve nailed this down, use OSCAR for everything else you need to sort out like travel, insurance, and health checks. 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. 4.Go as a servant Don’t go as a rescuer – the hero or heroine ready to end the plight of ‘the poor native’. Rather, go to server those who are the true heroes and heroines– bravely battling against the odds to make life better for themselves and others. 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. But what an opportunity and privilege. It could beat a cruise hands down every time. And to explore in more depth see our webpages on serving internationally. Peter Meadows Peter is AfterWorkNet’s Programme Director. He uses his retirement to help churches, resource inter-church initiatives, enjoy his eight grandchildren, escape to Spain and to spend his kids’ inheritance. Do you have any experience – good or bad – about volunteering overseas? Or some wisdom to share? Then do please comment here or on our Facebook.