While they are spending a semester abroad with ILP, some of our volunteers want to know how they can participate in their church meetings and other religious events ... even if the language or culture is unfamiliar.
While you're living in a foreign country, you'll be able to make a difference in a lot of ways, not just in the classroom while you're teaching English. You'll be able to help others and help yourself if you get involved with what's going on in your neighborhood. For our volunteers who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you may be wondering how you can participate in your local church meetings.
Looking for volunteer opportunities for Members of the Church?
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While ILP is not at all afflicted with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints many of our volunteers are members of the church and will be able to attend meetings while abroad. Even if you don't know the language, you can still participate in your international ward!
- Find Your Ward
- Choose To Feel The Spirit
- Share Your Testimony
- Sing The Hymns
Choose To Participate
Find Your Ward
After you've moved to another country, you've got to find your ward, right? With ILP, you're likely to be in an area where past volunteers have already been to the ward and can help give you directions and contact information for leaders. When you arrive in-country the "Head Teacher" of your group will have access to packet of information from last semester and it's likely there is info about where your ward is which is really helpful.
You can also do your own research: Get help finding your ward no matter where you are in the world, right here.
Regular attendance will be an important part of integrating in the local ward and participating. No one will get to know you if you aren't going when you can. Even if that means a long bus train, a tiring train ride, or a long walk across the neighborhood, volunteers who have made the choice to find and attend their ward were glad they did!
Choose To Feel The Spirit
Make sure you've prepared yourself to grow spiritually while living abroad. Church might be a little different than it is at home (here's what church is like while living in China for a semester!) but you can still participate and feel the Spirit. That may mean reading through your favorite hymns (on your phone since the local books are going to be in the local language) or finding familiarity in the things that are consistent no matter where you are attending church.
You can also feel the Spirit by visiting an temple on your vacation times. Whether you want to visit the temples in Europe or head to the temple in Mexico, here's how to attend temples while abroad.
Share Your Testimony
A volunteer in Romania shared how she was able to feel the spirit at church and get involved in her LDS ward while living abroad — one thing Emma pointed out was to share your testimony, even if you don't speak the language. You can do this over the pulpit or by providing a musical number, or just through your example.
Emma also was kind enough to share a moment she had in a Relief Society class: "The sister said to us American girls, 'Your testimony is a big thing. It’s an important thing. It’s something that a lot of people in the world don’t have. Your testimony is bigger than a lot of people’s here. Don’t be afraid to share it while you are here.”' What a powerful message that can apply no matter where you're living for the semester.
Sing The Hymns
Don't be afraid to sing the words to the hymns, even if you sing them wrong. Here's Emma's experience in Romania:
'While singing “Isus, Cel umil născut” or “Jesus, Once of Humble Birth” I had tears in my eyes because the Spirit hit me so strong! I was praising and worshipping God in another language, that I don’t even know, and He heard me. I felt such a stillness and peace knowing that.'
Be An Example
Be an example. Even though in some countries where religion is limited ( like China) you can do such much. Even if it's illegal for you to proselytize you are volunteering in, you can still be an example of a faithful member.. You don't have to talk about your religion to choose the right, be a good person, and show charity and kindness.
You can also be an example to others if you attend the meetings, go to the activities, and have a wonderful time with the members abroad. It may take you making an extra effort, like a two hour long train ride to church. You might might have to have personal study time during the meetings because you don't understand what they're saying. But if you make the effort, you will have experiences that you remember forever.
Ready to serve abroad with ILP and get involved in your new ward?
Come learn more about LDS volunteer opportunities here, if you need to do some more research ... but if you're interested in ILP, come start your application — not commitment and no pressure: