The Scientology Latin American Volunteer Ministers Goodwill Tour launched with an opening ceremony in Guatemala City at the Palace of the Ministry of Interior before some 1,600 attendees. The ceremony included a blessing by a Mayan spiritual leader, traditional dance and song. And with the tent officially opened, the Volunteer Ministers set to work, providing help to anyone in need.
Guatemala is one of Central America’s most poverty-stricken nations, impacting some 73 percent of its population. Those whom the volunteers met immediately grasped the value of the simple, practical technology the Volunteer Ministers were offering, justifying the decision to open the tent in this prominent location with a representative of the Ministry of Interior participating.
Launched in 2004, Scientology Volunteer Ministers Goodwill Tours are manned by volunteers who exemplify the character of the Volunteer Minister, described by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard in establishing the movement in the mid-1970s: “A Volunteer Minister is a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others. A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence. Rather, he is trained to handle these things and help others achieve relief from them and a new personal strength as well.”
Clearly, not every area where a Goodwill Tour passes has the same needs, and the first order of business when a team arrives is to meet with the with government, community and religious leaders to scope out the social issues most in need of improvement. They then tailor programs to address them.
Inside their bright yellow tent, anyone can receive one-on-one assistance to address whatever troubles they are facing. The tent is also where the volunteers conduct free courses and workshops that help people learn the vital skills they need to improve their ability to study, communicate, resolve interpersonal difficulties, gain relief from emotional and physical trauma, plan and organize, and deal with their personal, work and family situations.
Whether serving in their communities or on the other side of the world, the motto of the Scientology Volunteer Minister is “Something can be done about it.” The program, created in the mid-1970s by L. Ron Hubbard and sponsored by the Church of Scientology International as a religious social service, constitutes one of the world’s largest and most visible international independent relief forces.
A global network of Volunteer Ministers mobilizes in times of manmade and natural disasters, answering the call wherever needed. Collaborating with some 1,000 organizations and agencies, they have utilized their skill and experience in providing physical support and spiritual aid at hundreds of disaster sites.