I was scheduled to take a full March break week off when our world changed in a moment. One moment quickly turned to many changes and many moments. Schools cancelled for the month. Events cleared. Businesses closed. Restrictions in place. Isolation redefined. Jobs lost. Loved ones on the frontlines of health care. And children—our children, Compassion’s children and children around the world—the most vulnerable of all.
What we didn’t fully expect came upon us. What we couldn’t fathom to take place on such a global scale entered our lives so quickly. We found ourselves in a vortex of emotion and hourly change. In a matter of a few days, life looked so different. And now, an uncertain season lies ahead.
As the leader for Compassion’s Volunteer Network, the question that came to my mind almost immediately was, “What does this mean for our volunteers in this time of isolation?”
I thought of our strong community of volunteers across Canada who serve on the frontlines of our events, present their Compassion story at churches, fundraise, serve in our office and share with their communities. What would this look like for them? How could we continue to encourage and inspire volunteerism when everyone had to stay home?
“Perhaps the question isn’t how to volunteer in this time of isolation, but rather who are we becoming as volunteers in this time of isolation?”
It was during this time that we decided to draw our Compassion volunteers together into a virtual space simply to talk, share and pray together. It seemed like such a small step. But it turned out to be exactly what all of us needed most.
Volunteering in a new reality
Perhaps the question isn’t how to volunteer in this time of isolation, but rather who are we becoming as volunteers in this time of isolation? And what I was witnessing in these virtual gatherings with volunteers was just this—the overflow of some beautiful traits.
Strength. Hope. Courage. Faith. Prayerfulness. Compassion. Passion. Concern.
When crisis hits, our typical response is, “What can I do?” We want to alleviate suffering, problem-solve, raise money and figure out a way to get through this as quickly as possible. We are just simply wired this way.
But what if we reframed our typical response? What if we instead asked God, “Who do You want me to be in this season? How can I reflect You to the world around me? How do You want my prayer life to change? How can I be a voice of hope?”
Truly, this is the heart of being a volunteer. It is out of who we are that we serve, love, and give of our time. As you try to reconcile this time of being at home with your desire to serve God and serve people, consider these three ways to be His hands and feet as a volunteer in a time of isolation.
1) Be faith-filled and pray
Join our Compassion family around the world as we pray and seek the Lord during this unprecedented time. It may seem like a small thing, but prayer is powerful. Here are some ideas and resources to help get you started:
- Compassion’s Global Prayer Guide
- The Lord’s Prayer for a Pandemic
- Join our weekly Volunteer Virtual Space for a time of sharing and prayer, every Thursday at 2 PM EST. Contact us for more information.
- Start a virtual weekly prayer group with your close connections
2) Be a voice
Let’s remember that volunteering with Compassion began out of a God-given love and burden for the most vulnerable. We want others to know about the needs that exist for children around the world, including those in our own communities. We know we cannot remain silent. And so, we use our voice in the unique spheres of influence God has placed us—our home, our job, our social media feeds, our neighbourhood, our church and our family.
“What are some ways you can advocate and use your voice and perspective in this season? Your voice matters. If you think your influence is small, remember that it’s part of a collective voice that is powerful and contagious.”
Here are a few ways to get started:
- Share your voice on social media: It could be a prayer request for those in need, a Compassion blog about our frontline ministry work around the world during COVID-19 or a trusted local news article about the needs of the most vulnerable in your community.
- Start a small group: With a few like-minded people, create a virtual space to share your mutual heart for those in poverty, cultivate ideas of how to make a difference and ultimately, support each other in your unique journeys to seek justice and mercy in your communities.
- Write down your thoughts: If you enjoy journalling, start writing down your thoughts about the most vulnerable—it may be prayers, poems or a letter. Anything that helps you begin expressing your voice!
- Stay connected: Connect with Compassion’s Volunteer Network to receive weekly ideas and thoughts for being a voice of compassion in this season.
3) Be ready
Use this time to invest in the Word, your relationship with Christ and your understanding of the world around you. We have resources to equip you in learning more about poverty, the unique needs of communities and Compassion’s ministry through the local church. As you take this time to invest in yourself and your learning, I believe He will bring opportunities your way to be His hands and feet to the world around you.
Here are some of our favourite Compassion resources to help you in your learning journey:
- Eyes to See: A beautiful, perspective-shaping devotional with 30 daily readings.
- Compassion Blog: Learn, be inspired and get closer to Compassion’s ministry around the world and here in Canada through our blog.
- Step Into My Shoes: An online family devotional with videos, inspiring your family to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
What is resonating with you most in this season? Could you find a moment today or this week to listen, and lean into God? Ask Him, “Who are you calling me to be in this season as a volunteer?”
Take another moment and share with us so we can pray for you and support you on your journey! I encourage you to stay connected to the Volunteer Network community as we journey this time together. I believe God is going to use each one of you to lift your voice, to share hope and to be a life-giving influence, “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Written by Teresa Stracuzzi