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Working as a missionary or a volunteer requires specific skills and personality traits -- you must be patient, authoritative, committed to teaching and helping others, and willing to make sacrifices, even if your sacrifice is your free time. When you volunteer, you give your time freely to help others; when you work as a missionary, you do so to spread spiritual teachings. In either case, you must possess the same strong will and dedication -- when you do, you can begin making a positive difference.
Determine the type of volunteer work you wish to do. For example, you may wish to become a missionary in Kenya, a literacy tutor in Seattle or a general helper in a local homeless shelter. What you choose to do determines the training you may require.
Undergo the specialized training you may require. For example, if you want to become a missionary in a foreign country, you may need both a degree in theology or religious studies and a background in speaking the native language. More generalized volunteering depends on the institution you volunteer for and may require special language skills or a liberal arts degree.
Consult an organization that recruits volunteers. Like applying to a job, you must apply with an organization to become a volunteer. Consult a recruiter from an organization like the Peace Corps. or the Red Cross, for example, to learn about opportunities and requirements. Similarly, speak to your pastor about mission opportunities with your church. At this point, you'll sign up and await orders for your mission or volunteer work.
Volunteering and mission work are serious time commitments -- plan out how much time you are prepared to devote to service work before signing up for anything.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.