Volunteer Ministers in Action - Helping Where Help is Most Needed

V olunteer Ministers have been active in times of emergency and have helped people in need after earthquakes, floods, fires and explosions. Probably the most common form of relief provided by Volunteer Ministers is the delivery of assists – basic techniques which alleviate the emotional and spiritual trauma of injuries and aid the healing process.

      A team of Volunteer Ministers mobilized in January 1995, when Kobe, Japan, was hit by an earthquake – one of the most catastrophic of the 20th century. Relief centers were set up throughout the city. Medical teams tended to the physical needs of the residents, followed by the Volunteer Ministers who saw to the spiritual concerns of the victims by giving more than 4,000 assists. The assists were so visibly effective that lectures were set up to teach others, including many Red Cross volunteers, how to deliver them.

Volunteer Ministers work with relief organizations such as the Red Cross to not only provide food and clothing to those in need, but to help those burdened by the loss of a loved one or a cherished possession or to bring spiritual and physical relief to a person wracked by pain.

      The effectiveness of Volunteer Ministers in disaster relief efforts has drawn the attention of government officials in some nations. When an earthquake struck Russia’s Sakhalin Island, a team of Volunteer Ministers were flown to the disaster site on a government plane. The Deputy Commanding Officer of the military for the region found their contributions so essential to his brigade’s efforts that he later wrote that he considered it “absolutely necessary” to include individuals trained in the methods of The Scientology Handbook as part of any future disaster relief efforts, “to deliver help in emergency situations and also to increase the workability of the rescue teams.”

      The actions of Volunteer Ministers are by no means limited to serving others only in times of disaster. In the United States, in Nevada, when a Volunteer Minister heard of a young girl who had stolen from a local store, she contacted authorities to offer assistance. The Volunteer Minister helped the girl take an honest look at her life, work out how to take responsibility for her misdeeds and begin a more ethical life from that point on. This was neither an empty pep talk nor a stern “warning.” The Volunteer Minister and the girl worked together to actually do a series of steps to improve the girl's attitude and responsibility for her own life. When the girl later returned to school, the principal was amazed at the change and began sending other children to the Volunteer Minister. The local juvenile hall and police department also began to refer youth to the Volunteer Minister for help, after discovering the effectiveness of her work.

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