When Trish Pecar retired from primary school teaching over ten years ago, she needed a new way to use her God-given skills to help others. 

Trish knew how easy it is to become isolated after retirement, so she decided to attend an event at her local library that promoted different opportunities for volunteering. That’s where she first heard of Baptist World Aid, and how the organisation helps communities around the world emerge from poverty. 

‘A volunteer coordinator from Baptist World Aid was at the library and told me she was looking for someone to read people’s handwriting,’ Trish recalls. ‘It sounded so interesting, and having taught children since the seventies, I knew it was something I could definitely do!’ 

So, in August 2012, Trish started volunteering with Baptist World Aid. She started checking the physical letters that supporters wrote to their Child Partners overseas, and then moved on to checking the letters that the children wrote back. 

With her love of reading, grammar, and helping people, Trish’s role suited her perfectly. Over time, she also learned how to enter data into an online system, so when the pandemic struck a few years ago, she was able to keep assisting from her computer at home. 

Volunteering has also pushed Trish out of her comfort zone, encouraging her to get out of the house and meet new people. ‘I feel like God has led me here,’ Trish said.  

‘I might stuff two hundred envelopes then go home and think, “I did something useful today.” I like making a difference. I’ve made friendships with different volunteers, and I never leave here without a thank you.’ 

Continuing a Legacy of Faithfulness 

Baptist World Aid is built on a long legacy of committed volunteers like Trish. Since the organisation started in 1959, faithful people have served in a wide range of roles—from designing artwork and updating supporter databases, to researching ethical fashion and checking letters from children overseas. 

While the team has had its ups and downs—especially during COVID when it became difficult to volunteer—one thing that has stayed the same is the sense of fellowship and camaraderie.  

This is what Ian Abbott, who’s been volunteering since 2014, loves about serving at Baptist World Aid. ‘Since I started, I’ve seen people from all situations volunteer: university students, people who need experience to enter the workplace, retirees,’ Ian said. ‘The good thing is you don’t get in a rut because there’s a variety of things to do.’ 

Volunteers Ian Abbot (left) and Trish Pecar (right) with Katharine Ullrich (middle), Child Sponsorship Coordinator.

Ian previously worked in forest management before taking on a management role at the Baptist Union of Australia. During this time, he enjoyed taking part in Bible devotions led by visiting staff from Baptist World Aid. So, when Ian retired to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren, he decided to become a Baptist World Aid volunteer. 

One of Ian’s favourite roles is helping the International Programs team, which works with our local Christian Partners to deliver community development programs. ‘My wife and I were already Baptist World Aid supporters before I volunteered, so it was great to learn about the programs we support overseas,’ Ian said. 

‘To actually see the program sets out to help a community in a certain way, read the report on how it’s going, and see that the program is achieving more than what was intended, brings me satisfaction.’ 

Ian also loves knowing that the work he does is making a difference for communities in poverty—that he’s part of the body of Christ serving vulnerable people around the world. ‘It’s rewarding to do things for other people,’ Ian said. ‘Life’s not all about me, and there’s satisfaction in knowing your time is spent well.’ 

Baptist World Aid volunteers contribute their time and talents to help create a better world for all. Interested in becoming a volunteer at Baptist World Aid? Find out more here.