So you’ve stumbled across an amazing opportunity. You know about missions, but have never lived it, and you for sure don’t want to completely commit for two years before you know if it’s for you or not. Then you stumble across this perfect internship. A missionary internship designed to help answer the question of, “Am I called to full time missions?” And it’s only five months. I’m going to stop and say now that I am biased. 100% biased. I’m a former intern in the inaugural group for this internship, so I’ll proudly stand up and say if you are considering missions, you MUST do this internship. If I really wanted to say something I would say do this internship or else, but that’s a little strong I guess. Now I get that it’s a little nerve racking to move to a new country, so I decided to make a little how to guide. So with that here is my guide on how to move to a new country by someone who kinda-sorta-maybe knows what they’re talking about.
1. It’s easier and harder than you think
This one is hard for me to explain, so you’ll have to take it at face value. There are things I didn’t expect to be difficult, like bartering with taxi drivers, but so many things that were easier than I ever expected. I went thinking I would be lonely, but now I can confidently say that some of my best friends live in Lima, Peru. So know that moving out will bring its difficulties, but also its own joys. The great things trump the bad ones by 1000%.
2. Have/develop a love for coffee
VITAL. And I’m not talking about fleeting love, I’m talking about a die-hard love. You’re about to go to Peru, and let me tell you, the coffee is the best. It’s so good that coming back is hard because you become utterly aware that coffee really isn’t that great in America. I know, I’m sorry. Also, sometimes sleep just isn’t in the schedule, and coffee is a pretty great substitute for sleep. So if you say, “sure, I guess,” when someone asks you if you want coffee, you better learn the joys of always having coffee by your side and respond with a, “Yes of course or I’ll die.”
3. Embrace the zig-zag effect
The Zig-Zag Effect is what happens when you want to zig, but then you have to zag. Basically, be adaptable and throw expectations out the window. The Zig-Zag Effect is created by our intern director Pastor Danny Gutierrez, and the quicker you can embrace the adaptable, fast-paced, constant changing environment of missions, the better off you’ll be. Plus, being on your toes is part of it, and actually super fun.
4. Be prepared to not know what’s going on, like most of the time.
This internship is set in Peru, which **newsflash** is a Spanish speaking country. This means confusion. I can tell you, as someone who came down knowing only the word “hola”, that it’s difficult. If I had a quarter for every time I stared blankly at someone after they spoke to me, I could probably fund myself for the internship all over again. There is a beauty in this though, and trust me you’ll find it.
5. There will be feelings and experiences that you will not be able to explain.
There are so many things you will experience that you never had before. Now, not to be a downer, but there are a ton of people from home that simply wont understand your experiences. I don’t want to be the Wednesday Addams of the internship, but this is something that needs to be addressed. The most amazing part of this internship though is that you will meet some of your best friends. For example, as I’m writing this, I’m in a group text with the other interns talking about food. Typical. Through it all though, I will always have people who share the missions experience. Through the miscommunications and misunderstanding, we can always find ways to relate, and create strong relationships with other missionaries who just understand.
6. Learn to laugh at yourself.
This one is my absolute favorite. It’s extremely important to learn quickly too. I started my time in Peru as someone who took life a little too seriously. I never wanted to make any mistakes and hated being laughed at. Well, I got out of that habit quickly. You will be laughed at, you will mess up, and you will say things that are definitely a language you made up and not Spanish. This would have terrified me, but now I have found so much joy in laughing at myself. I can 100% guarantee you that you will laugh more than ever in this internship, and the quicker you learn to laugh at yourself, the more joy you will find. I’ve found a certain freedom in life that wasn’t there when life was all serious business. Don’t take life too seriously people.
There is so many other things that I learned by moving to a different country. There are still things like language, culture, and direction that you learn while there, but there is something deeper there too. You learn about yourself. I know it’s cheesy. There are life lessons and revelations I can’t even put into words yet that were produced in the unfamiliarity of moving. So let me end by saying this, just do it. Move. Step out. You will get laughed at, may find yourself in a taxi that has somehow caught on fire, or in the middle of an insanely powerful conference. No matter the location, culture, or language, there is always a way to connect and learn from people. Never stop adventuring friends, you’ll find so much in the ambiguity.
Paz y Amor,
One of your trusty interns