I see volunteering as an act of defiance. A resistance against my own natural tendencies, against passivity, and against hatred. My natural tendency is to have my perspective focused on myself, and to be selfish with my time. I am guilty of occupying my time with activities and tasks that will make my own life more comfortable. I am tired of the constant information, updates, and statistics. I am heartbroken that each time I become more desensitized to the suffering of our brothers and sisters. I firmly believe that hatred can be defeated if we choose to put ourselves in positions where God’s goodness and perfection can shine through our weakness.
Last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to volunteer at the Middle Eastern Friendship Centre (MEFC). I spent time teaching English to intelligent men and woman whose homeland was Syria. I played games, colored, and laughed with vibrant, joyful children from Iraq. I drank tea and listened to the stories of wise, quiet mothers from Lebanon. Most of all, I learnt about generosity and resilience at the MEFC. I was deeply moved by the generosity and selflessness of those who work hard to offer opportunities, access to community services, and a community to people from the Middle East, Africa and other cultures. Finally, the resilience of the families and individuals who have undergone unimaginable hardship, was astonishing and inspiring.
Over the past few weeks, God has repeatedly been whispering the word “empty” to me. He has been challenging me to try to empty myself emotionally and physically through serving others. He is humbling me by reminding me that my comfort does not always come first, and that I am meant to be a servant, like Jesus was. I encourage you to try and empty yourself, and trust that God will always fill you right back up. Time spent for others is never wasted time. I challenge you to serve, even if the task seems insignificant. Even if no one notices, serve with all your heart.
I am grateful for TRAC and for the opportunities it has given me to live for more than just myself. I am excited that TRAC is offering opportunities to others who feel similar tugs in their hearts. Opportunities such as teaching ESL classes, being a part of a settlement team, or simply spending quality time with the Kapanda family (the refugee family from the Congo that TRAC is supporting through sponsorship).
In conclusion, I am angry about the injustices in the world, but I have chosen to recognize my anger as a blessing and a driving force. I am guilty of selfishness, but I refuse to give up on trying to be more selfless. I believe in love, and I will never stop doing what I can to offer that love to every precious person in the world. This is why I volunteer.