Posted by: Elder and Sister Hambelton | February 4, 2013

The Real Work of Our Mission

One draw back to our work is the confidential nature of our interactions with clients. We don’t photograph them and we don’t blog about them and their employment challenges. The result is that we do not have a good representation on our blog of the amount of person-to-person work that we do. We have reported meetings with stake and ward leaders, training stake employment specialists and Senior couple missionaries and some of our workshops and similar activities but the real rewarding work and the work that has the most individual pay off is the work we do with individuals who come to our consultation sessions.

We have consulted one-on-one with people in cities throughout Scotland and Ireland. They have come from all walks of life and include many immigrants, some investigators and many young adults. Each consultation can take 2-4 hours and most return for additional sessions. We listen to their histories, help them focus on their priorities, help write CV’s (resumes) and applications, coach them on interviewing, and try to get them registered online on the Church’s employment website so they can access additional information and services and we pray for them and worry about them. It is thrilling when they get the jobs they want, or even temporary employment that encourages them and helps pay their bills.

We have had some professional and skilled adult clients who have lost good paying jobs they have held for years. Many have never been unemployed for very long, and now in this economy, they cannot find work. We help some evaluate their interests, skills and experiences to choose new careers and occupations to pursue. Some need help brushing up an old CV, or practice unused interview skills. Some take our workshop to retool their job finding skills. Once they get some renewed energy and hope they are often independent and work hard to find new jobs. They are always grateful for the help we give them and many are successful in getting something even when it is not always at the pay level they had before.

We work with many young adults, some just finishing schooling and too many who have not yet begun or finished their education. We worry the most about these clients because they sometimes do not realize the future options they are eliminating by settling for low-level jobs and getting trapped by not finishing or taking more education. It is difficult for them to sacrifice now for such delayed benefits later. The graduates we help are qualified but inexperienced and they get discouraged. Unemployment is highest among this group, so the difficulty is real. We encourage them and teach them to network, to interview well and write clear and compelling CV’s and cover letters. Most of these clients finally land jobs they are happy to have.

Some of our candidates are immigrants who have come to Scotland or the UK for a better life than they had in their home countries. Some have qualifications and skills that are not recognized here and they have to settle for lower level jobs. Many have language difficulties that really reduce the options they have. Some have spent all they have to get here and find life is just as hard, with the added challenges of a new country, a new language and new customs. Most have to get entry-level manual jobs and live at subsistence levels. Most will never see the prosperity they hoped for, but many of their children will. They attend school, they learn the language, they absorb the culture, and they have the immigrant drive to succeed, and they face fewer obstacles than their parents. The parents sacrifice much so that their children can have success in the future. Others have the drive and native ability to climb up from the bottom themselves. They take the most time and they are very grateful. We did not imagine we would be helping people from Ghana, Kenya, China, Spain, Ukraine, and Poland among other countries.

A good many of those we see, have been unemployed for years, sometimes many years for a variety of reasons, from a lack of skills and education, to illness or injuries, to addictions and dependency. Many are taking the first steps towards self-reliance. They come with little hope and a history of rejections. We try to help them identify the skills they have but don’t see and we help them write their CV and coach them on job searching techniques and interview skills. Most have to take entry-level unskilled jobs, usually part-time and the money they get sometimes is less than the government benefits they already have and may lose. We rejoice when we get some to start school or find jobs and begin the climb to self-reliance. Others we rejoice that they are even trying. All report that our services are better and more caring than the Government Job Centre’s that are their only alternative.

Many require long-term help and support from their wards and quorums. Education and training would be an answer but some lack any literacy or academic skills to succeed in an education program. Apprenticeships are mostly reserved for younger applicants and many of our clients are beyond the age restrictions. They have few options. The choices they made early in life have foreclosed much of their future. Some are determined to do what they can and take the jobs they can get and are at least working. Others fall back into welfare dependency and we often see them lose interest in church and wander away. It is sad. These are the people we most need the wards and quorums to reach out with support and with long-term help.

One-on-one consultation is the most challenging and exhausting work we have ever done. We are frequently rewarded with progress and success and sometimes discouraged by those that give-up or fail to come back. It is hard to see them let fear and low expectations discourage them, and settle for little. It is wonderful when they make progress or find success.

Considering it all, this has been a challenging but rewarding mission. We have learned much, and we would encourage anyone, from any background to consider such a mission, especially here. A foreign mission, making a genuine difference in a beautiful country with amazing history, and wonderful people who speak English (sort of), how can you beat that?

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Responses

  1. Your efforts are amazing. You will have touched many lives for the good, forever. It is still that free agency that will propel so many, but you are giving them the best shot at moving up. We pray for you to be safe, and receive the blessings you need. And for your clients…the same!
    Love
    Karen and Lee

  2. Wow!, Even though it is hard to hear that things are sort of the same all around the world job wise, it is refreshing to hear the hope in your reports. I think that you have so much empathy and skill to share, it is not at all a question as to why you two are there in that setting. We pray you will continue to succor the weary and encourage the weak, I know you do that for me just reading your blog!

    Kindest regards,

    Rich & Laralee

  3. I knew you two would make such a difference wherever you went, but this mission seems to have been hand-picked for you! You really understand and really know how to help people. You will leave a big hole when your mission is complete. You have blessed many lives! Bless you both!!
    Love,
    Paul and Connie Giauque


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