Would you like to join us for a few weeks or months during summer (down under)? Here’s what you can expect if you choose to volunteer with Celebrate Messiah NZ.
Our ministry centres exist primarily as a means for sharing the Gospel with Israeli travellers in New Zealand from October to March. We offer free accommodation at these facilities, which makes them extremely popular among Israeli guests – we are often booked many weeks in advance. Each facility is managed by one or more of our staff members, but each season we rely on qualified volunteers to assist us in the work.
Providing this kind of environment involves a good many daily tasks such as managing bookings, cleaning, laundering, maintenance, and landscaping. We gather every day for devotions and prayer, which is critical for maintaining the spiritual and emotional wellness of our teams. And there is almost always a bit of “down time” during the afternoon when most of our guests are out hiking, bungy-jumping, or leaping out of aeroplanes. Interacting with our many Israeli guests is why we are here!
Israelis are remarkably social creatures and are curious about you: Who you are and why you are interested in Israel and the Jewish people. Outside of Israel, young Israelis are far more open to spiritual conversations; you’ll be surprised how easy it is to share your story and discuss issues related to the Gospel.
In addition to hospitality, we also host “Shishi” dinners (Shabbat) and “Hummus Nights” each week. These are informal gatherings when staff and guests usually cook together, eat together, and schmooze together. There is very much a community feel to each facility, which makes a significant impact on our guests. Here is a testimony from a young Israeli woman who stayed at the Zula Lodge:
“Right at the first moment when I arrived at the Zula, I felt at home. Something in me just calmed down. This is the first place I felt like this after six months of travels, and this is not just because the Zula facilities are so amazing. It is because of the special family that you are. Thanks for… opening your hearts and really letting me feel that I belong… These days with you were a unique opportunity to learn and get to know a different way to live life in this world. Thanks for making me ask questions and having the patience to answer them too. You are, without a doubt, a big and meaningful part of my trip around the world, and of my life journey.”
Sleeping arrangements for volunteers vary, depending on where you are serving. At one of our facilities, you will almost certainly be rooming with others, dormitory style. At another facility, you may have your own room, depending on the number of volunteers present. If you are one who needs a lot of “alone time,” this will be a challenge for you.
Food and transportation are provided on a shared basis, meaning that each of us contributes. We provide food staples (e.g., bread, coffee, tea, cereal, milk, rice, eggs, etc) and we ask each volunteer to privately raise extra funds to pay for preferred items that we may not stock (we suggest NZD$30- $50/week). Likewise, a vehicle is available for occasional use by volunteers, and they are only responsible for petrol expenses if the vehicle is being used for personal reasons.
Personal touring while in New Zealand is a must, at least through the beautiful South Island, so consider the option of building in some travel time to your itinerary. We’ll be delighted to help you with your plans, including budgeting your trip. Remember: Car hire, petrol, accommodations and food are quite expensive in NZ, but there are ways to cut costs if you’re willing to be creative.
Church culture, like almost everything else in New Zealand, is extremely informal. You are encouraged to attend a local church while you are serving with us, though our schedule may sometimes conflict with church services. When it comes to attire, we suggest a neat, modest outfit to wear; perhaps a pair of shoes other than your work/hiking boots. Gentlemen, you need not bring a tie. Ladies, dresses or skirts are fine but certainly not required. Bring something in which you will be comfortable, and don’t worry about dressing up.
International travel can be challenging, so don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions. It is imperative that your passport expiration date is at least 6 months beyond your departure from NZ. Also, although some forms of volunteerism are allowed in NZ without a work visa, Border Control is extremely sensitive on this issue so be sure to talk with us about how to describe your reason for coming to NZ.
Our ministry season is from October – March. If you are available to serve for at least one week during that period, please fill out our Volunteer Application.