Mission Week Volunteers Use Skills of All Types…Feb. 1, 2012

“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross lies your calling.”      ~ Aristotle

Our mission week has begun. Old friends greeted new friends and returning volunteers oriented first timers. The group felt like a team from the first meeting and it was clear that this is a good-humored bunch.

First timer, Tammy from North Carolina, was recruited by her friend Kristin who is a returning volunteer. “She asked if I wanted to go to Mexico and I thought ‘Sure, why not?’ It’ll be great—the weather, the diving—and then she said to bring along a pair of work gloves.”

Back: April, Gary, Byron, Ray, Jason, Roger, Jay. Middle: Kristin, Aimee, Larry, Mike, Karen, Ilene, Sandy, Phyllis. Front: Tammy, Becky, Shirley, Diane, Julie.

Asked if she had any fears about coming on the trip, Diane from Nebraska said “Absolutely. Lots of them. But after our fellowship time (code for Happy Hour), they went away.”

As we discussed the upcoming projects we learned about a wide variety of skills in our group. Roger has an engineering background; Mike, Shirley, Karen and Larry speak Spanish; Jay is a woodworker; Julie is a dentist; Becky is a seamstress; Kristin, Tammy and Ilene motivate and add energy; Byron, Ray, Jason and Gary can fix just about anything, April is wizard in the kitchen, and get out of the way when Sandy has a power tool. It’s great that Aimee is an experienced surgical nurse, but we hope not to use that particular skill.

But what about someone like Diane? She wondered how her special skills in knitting could possibly contribute to families who struggle to simply feed their children.

Diane (left) used her knitting skills to share some happiness with Antonia (right).

The answer was evident on the face on Antonia, a grandmother who helps care for more than a dozen family members. Her meager resources go to caring for the children. She never dreamed that someone would take the time to knit her a beautiful shawl to keep her warm during the damp and chilly winter months. “She was so happy,” Diane said. “She gave me a hug.”

It’s easy to see where many of our skills will be used. But perhaps the most gratifying results will come in finding unexpected ways to share those talents just waiting for an opportunity to touch someone’s life.

“Your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.” ~ Victim of the October 1998 Texas flood in reference to the volunteers helping to restore her home

We hope you’ll add your comments below. We’d love to hear from you. — Phyllis

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