Christian Alternatives to the Peace Corps

by Margaret Mills

The Peace Corps, an American volunteer organization run by the federal government, traces its roots to 1960 and a famous speech by John F. Kennedy. Peace Corps volunteers provide technical assistance to developing countries and foster understanding between America and foreign cultures. Christian non-profit organizations also offer aid and education to developing countries. While some focus on establishing churches and giving humanitarian aid, others also offer technical assistance and business development.

Interserve International

Established in 1852, Interserve International (interserve.org) seeks those with professional skills to work with communities in Asia and Arabic-speaking countries. Opportunities for volunteers cover a variety of fields, from medical and academic to business and technology. Terms of service vary from less than one year to two years and more. Those seeking longer terms of service must have the support of their church, experience in Christian ministry and a marketable skill. The application process includes filling out a preliminary application form and submitting a resume. Download the form from the web site and submit to Interserve USA – Career Track, PO Box 418, 7000 Ludlow Street, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania 19082-0418. Call 1-800-809-4440 for more information.

Engineering Ministries International

Engineering Ministries International (emiworld.org) is a Christian organization that offers professionals in architecture, engineering and design volunteer opportunities in developing nations. Projects include designing and engineering homes, schools and public buildings. Volunteers begin with a 10- to 14-day trip overseas. Download a volunteer interest form from the web site as a first step. Internships for recently graduated students are available, as are longer terms of service as construction managers. Contact EMI by mail at 130 East Kiowa, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903. Phone them at 719-633-2078 or contact them through their web site.

Living Water International

Living Water International (water.cc) is one of many Christian organizations that specialize in providing clean water to needy populations. They provide the equipment and training needed to create a self-sustainable water system, using local workers and materials when possible. Trips for volunteers to Central America are available. The group size is limited to 12. Check the web site for trip availability and contact the coordinator for each specific trip. Training is also provided for volunteers in well drilling, pump repair and hygiene training. Contact the group by mail at PO Box 35496 Houston, Texas 77235-5496 or call toll free 877-594-4426.

Fellowship of Christian Farmers, International

The Fellowship of Christian Farmers, International (fcfi.org) offers opportunities for farmers in the U.S. to participate in a variety of trips abroad to share their resources. Projects have included building a demonstration farm in Haiti and educating Haitian farmers on the use of heritage seeds. Other activities include building construction and handing out seed packets in Jamaica, Albania and Russia. Contact the FCFI at PO Box 15, Lexington, Illinois 61753 or call 309-365-8710. Register and pay for upcoming one or two-week trips on the web site.

About the Author

Margaret Mills has been writing for more than 30 years, focusing on articles about religion, forestry, gardening and crafts. Her work has appeared in religious periodicals including "Focus on the Family" and similar publications. Mills has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northwest Nazarene University.

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