Finding the 'love bonus' in volunteering

<p>4 September 2017 | St Albans [Victor Hulbert]&nbsp;Sometimes ‘Mission’ comes with a bonus. That is certainly the case for Linda-Rose (USA) who, until recently, was on Adventist Volunteer Service (AVS), and now her new British husband, Jake Jackson, also a recent volunteer at a separate project in Cornwall, England.</p>

News September 5, 2017

4 September 2017 | St Albans [Victor Hulbert] Sometimes ‘Mission’ comes with a bonus. That is certainly the case for Linda-Rose (USA) who, until recently, was on Adventist Volunteer Service (AVS), and now her new British husband, Jake Jackson, also a recent volunteer at a separate project in Cornwall, England.

The two met almost by accident.  Rosemary Lethbridge, leader of the Watering Hole church plant in Totton on the south coast of England, explains:

Jake Linda on location in Cornwall“Linda-Rose nearly did not come to help us at our church plant. Although a strong candidate we gave the position to someone else because Linda, for various reasons, couldn’t start when we needed her. Right at the last minute the other volunteer was offered a permanent job and so was no longer available. So we went back to Linda-Rose and asked her if she was still willing to come and help us. She did and we enjoyed 18 months of working together to bless our community.”

But Linda and Jake, while both volunteers, lived 190 miles (300km) apart serving at two different projects. However, the two plants do occasionally spend time together, particularly at the Adventist Camp site in Chapel Porth, Cornwall.  On one of those trips they met and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jake Linda RoseHistory, however, repeats itself.  Their wedding this summer in the romantic setting of Sylvia’s garden at Newbold College of Higher Education is simply the latest in a whole series of mission romances dating back to at least the early 1900’s.  These, in themselves, helped promote mission.

Oscar and Mary Dorland with 5 children who all worked for the church 3 in Africa1In 1911 Oscar Dorland, a young student from Wisconsin, USA, was asked to go to the newly established Stanborough Missionary College in England. His aim was eventually to head to Africa as a missionary, but that did not happen due to the outbreak of World War I.  Instead he started as a minister in London where he held Bible Studies with his landlady and her daughter, eventually marrying the daughter, Mary.  That missionary romance produced five children, all of whom worked for the church, three in mission service.

Victor Luisa 2Two generations later, their grandson, Victor Hulbert, went on AVS to Lisbon, Portugal.  That year not only gave him a passion for media ministry as he volunteered with Adventist World Radio, but, like Jake, also found himself a bride, Luisa.  It is their son, Steven, who is the leader of the LIVE:St Austell church plant where Jake was a volunteer. 

Steven first met Jake when he was studying at Falmouth university in Cornwall.  Jake’s intention was to leave church but with the love and persistence of local church members and the LIVE St. Austell church plant, he came every weekend.  His faith developed.  

“It was after he went back home from university that I invited Jake to come and serve in St. Austell as a volunteer and he jumped at the opportunity,” Steven says.  “Shortly after, Jake came to the decision to be baptised on Chapel Porth beach. It’s amazing how God is able to work through the lives of people as so many things could have prevented Jake and Linda-Rose from ever meeting, but faith made it happen.”

Dan WeberThat story is repeated countless times across the Trans-European Division and elsewhere.  Dan and Heidi Weber both met while volunteering at the Adventist boarding school in Iceland in the 1980’s.  He is now Communication director for the Adventist Church in North America.  They cannot speak highly enough of the AVS programme.

Diana and Daniel Sabatier, Beatrice and Peter Cooper, Charlotte and Mathew Marshall all met in volunteer mission at Stanborough Park church, England.

There are more. Chris Baker (Scotland) and Karen Hawkins (USA), Gordon Smith (Scotland) and Flor Alvarez (Costa Rica) met in Costa Rica, Michelle Simpson (UK) & Milan Gugleta (Serbia), Kari Wright (USA) and Paul Bellamy (Canada), Daniel Hopa (Poland) and Liubov Milis (Moldova), Aila Heck (Germany) and Nebosja Živanov (Serbia) who also married this summer.  

Karen Plaatjes (England) met her South African husband Philip in Korea. Until recently Karen enthusiastically oversaw the AVS programme for the Trans-European Division.

Andrew Soonim LaylandAndrew Layland (UK) met his Korean wife Soonim Lee, while teaching English in South Korea.  Some years on he has now returned to South Korea in mission service.

It must clearly be said that none of these individuals went on mission service looking for romance, nor should that be seen as a priority.  “Yet,” says Audrey Andersson, TED Executive Secretary and current AVS co-ordinator, “when you meet likeminded people committed to mission, such things can happen.”

That is what Luisa Hulbert strongly believes.  “I know that God put Victor in Portugal for a reason.  It certainly gave him an impetus for his life work in ministry and communication, but it also brought us together in a wonderful way.  AVS changed both our lives.” 

“I am reminded that God knows the plans that He has for us and that when we submit our plans and ideas to Him, He works things for our good,” concludes Pastor Lethbridge.

See also ‘Encounter in Love’ (British Union Conference Youth Magazine, January 2014)Find out more about AVS service (though not romance) by visiting the AVS website.

tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojkovic, associate editor
119 St Peter’s Street, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3EY, England
E-mail: [email protected] 
tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.

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