I wanted to share a little about summer internships and why we love hosting interns for two months. This year, our interns arrived on June 6 and departed on July 31. Some of the focal points of their time were: orientation week, English Camp, hiking trip on the Camino de Santiago, Sunday School re-design project, and debrief week.
What is an internship? An internship is a two month experience to get a bigger picture of what God is doing around the globe under the guidance of a missionary team. Interns have the opportunity to get their feet wet in cross-cultural ministry and to have a discipleship relationship characteristic of our ministry, vision, and heart for Gospel-centered, grace-filled living.
What does an intern do?
- Apply the gospel cross-culturally
- Live in community with other interns and missionaries
- Interact with and engage different cultures
- Explore your gifts and the way God has gifted you to serve others
- Builds financial partnerships and creates a network of prayer support before going
- Improves language skills by taking classes or participating in weekly conversation classes
- Helps the missionary team in projects, support, and encouragement
What do former interns say about it?
Two Things I Learned in Spain:
1. How to kiss strangers…or how to start a conversation with them about Jesus (take your pick)
Typically, both Spaniards and Catalan people greet and say goodbye to friends and strangers by giving them two kisses, one on each cheek. Every Sunday, I got (and gave) a lot of kisses before and after the service! It took a while to get used to it. (How are you supposed to time the words “How are you?” in between puckering your lips without spitting on the other person’s face??) But by the time the short-term team came, I had to remind myself a few times not to scare the other Americans by giving them all goodbye kisses.
For me, it was much harder to strike up spiritual conversations with strangers than to kiss them. Ironic for a missionary intern, I know, but the embarrassing truth is that it makes me uncomfortable to bring Jesus into casual conversation. (What if I say something stupid, or offensive?) On the Camino, I was able to take some of my first baby steps in sharing my faith—with complete strangers. During each conversation, my heart beat faster than it did walking uphill wearing my backpack. But each time, I had a supernatural sense that Jesus was there, too, helping me with my wobbly attempts. I realized that if the Gospel is true—that if the God of the ENTIRE UNIVERSE actually did come to earth in REAL HISTORY to save us from death and evil—and if it is part of my identity, then it makes no sense to never mention it in conversation. The question in my mind has started to change from, “Why mention Jesus?” to “Why not mention him?”
2. God’s grace is everywhere (or, SLOW DOWN and enjoy!)
I am not a patient person.
This lesson was a good one to learn in Spain, where mealtimes with friends are leisurely, and where I usually had no idea what I would be doing the next week, day, or afternoon. I was constantly reminded to slow down, to focus on loving people in the present moment and to enjoy the experience I was having rather than worry about what I was going to do next. Sometimes, the reminder to slow down came in the delicious form of a chocolate croissant and a cup of coffee. Other times, the reminder of my impatience and my inability to slow down was more literal. Once, while we were making a peach cobbler for dessert, Hannah watched me pace around the kitchen while the cobbler was in the oven. She asked, “You don’t like to wait for things, do you?”
It must have been pretty obvious. Hannah was right: I hate to wait. I hate to slow down. I need to learn patience.
“Yes, yes, God, I knew that already. Now can we please hurry up and move on to something more interesting?”
The answer, thankfully, is always “No.” Because I had to slow down, I built better relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ during this summer. Because I had to slow down, I noticed more of God’s small, everyday gifts to me and I’m learning to trust him more with bigger things, like the GRE I’m taking in two weeks and my future after college. I can’t wait to see what he has for me next!
-Audrey, Vilassar de Mar Intern