Spotlight on Mission – Tear Fund


Tear Fund Go – every year many people volunteer to go on overseas for a short time to help with a project and here are some reflections on two volunteers Julie and Earl.

At first glance it looks like their common ground is both being over the age of 65. But, after they shared their experiences of travelling with Tearfund, I discovered that it’s their courage and closeness to Jesus that unites this brilliant pair.

Julie didn’t know that she was a teacher until she was faced with a room full of people to teach in Zambia. She gave a lesson in how to care for others, listen well and resolve conflict. You may think that you don’t have the skills to be a volunteer, but if you’ve ever led a Bible study, hosted a small group or been through a challenge in your life then you’ve got experience and wisdom to share.

Julie learnt that it doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s about your strengths. ‘An older man was surprised to see me painting, and asked me my age,’ she says. ‘When he heard I was in my early 70s, his verdict was that I was strong.’

For Earl from Lincolnshire, the challenges started before he even left the country. First, where to go? ‘Cambodia seemed to stand out,’ says Earl. But after some research, he changed his mind. ‘I don’t do heat, and 28–32 put me off.’ Yet, within a few days… ‘God spoke to me through his word saying not to worry about conditions. He will help me cope in whatever circumstances,’ he says.
Next, the cost. Recently retired and on a pension, Earl had every reason to be careful. But a timely sermon confirmed the decision to travel. Did age ever factor into Earl’s decision? ‘Yes, my age did make me hesitate,’ says Earl. ‘But not my ability.’ Earl’s courage comes from his relationship with God: ‘It is not what we can do, but what God can do through us,’ he says.

Find out more about Tear Fund by visiting their website