From Hours to Years: A Volunteer’s Journey 

This is the story of Chiek Ming, a volunteer who initially joined us to fulfil her practicum hours in counselling and has since become a dedicated long-term volunteer with Malaysian CARE since 2021. Volunteers like Chiek Ming play a crucial role in delivering Community-Based Recovery(CBR) services by journeying with ex-prisoners through our halfway homes - Rumah Petros for men and Rumah Kepercayaan for women.

Could you share a little bit about your first encounter with CARE and how you started your volunteering journey?

My first encounter with Malaysian CARE was when I met Siew Lin, a staff from CARE, who was my lecturer in Counselling at Bible College Malaysia (BCM) where I was furthering my studies. I have always wanted to equip myself in the area of counselling, and stepping down from the corporate world after 30 years allowed me the golden opportunity to do so. As I progressed in my counselling course, practicum hours were mandatory. I then joined Malaysian CARE as a volunteer at Rumah Kepercayaan, CARE’s halfway home for women in early 2021. With little knowledge, I embraced whatever that came my way. 

Odoo • Image and Text
Myona's colleague, Joshua & Fifi during a Phonics Learning session.

What do you do as a Rumah Kepercayaan volunteer and how did this experience impact you?

I spent every Monday getting to know the clients, participating in their daily activities, be it gardening, arts & crafts or even during meal times. It allowed me to get to know them as friends, and become a part of their new community. It was a huge shift for me personally, constantly needing to discern my speech and actions while interacting  with them; yet deep down I know it is God’s love that binds us together.  We may all come from different backgrounds, but we are all created in the image of God. 

It was a humbling experience to start from ground zero. I had the opportunity to counsel and journey with clients. One of the many programmes I ran for my practicum hours focused on addiction recovery. With this programme, we aimed to help them to rediscover their purpose in this new chapter of life. What started as a self-requirement, God used to equip me for a ministry I never planned for.  

Initially, my biggest worry was – “Will I be able to help them?  What if I mess up?” Many clients had gone through hard and fragile lives, with some requiring more care. I have learned to recognise my weaknesses and amplify God’s greatness throughout my journey in CARE. Our time with clients is limited and temporary; but our aim is to help them connect to God and empower them for good works. My role as a lay counsellor is simply to hold space and journey with them as I partner with God in this ministry. 

Chiek Ming (seated on the far left) attending an addiction training conducted by CARE.

Any last thoughts?

We might ask ourselves “How do I know if my ministry is aligned with God’s plan for me?” Just avail yourself; as long as the ministry is aligned with God’s command to love – God can use you in any area. Take the first step of faith and let God lead you.