Hear It From The Interns

You Are Important

I was home schooled and from a very, very small town. I didn’t go to college and I spent the year after high school working as a nanny. I didn’t have a huge plan other than I knew God wanted me to take the year to work and go on a short-term missions trip in January to Thailand. When I came back from that trip, I knew I couldn’t continue with my nanny job forever, and I really felt strongly to go do missions in the fall. A few weeks after coming to this conclusion and deciding I needed to pursue missions, I stumbled across the opportunity to do the internship through Instagram – without even looking for it. I didn’t really know anything about the internship, Camino De Vida or even Lima, but I was so excited about it just from the Instagram post that I decided to apply. A few months later, I was on my way from a town with 800 people to a huge city with 10 million people.

In a small town, it is easy to feel known. People know who you are, your name, your friends and family, where you work, what you are good at, and what you are bad at. Coming to a place like Lima is so different. Sometimes I felt really overwhelmed and that I could just disappear into the masses of people and it wouldn’t really matter much; I would just be an extra person in the 10 million. In a town with 800 people, people notice if you park your car differently in your driveway.

One of the first things that we were told when we got to Lima was, “You are here because God wants you here, and you are important to Him.”  Since being here, we have been told over and over again, “You are important to God.” I never thought too much of the statement, other than – “Oh yeah, that’s cool.” Now looking back at my months in Lima, I truly don’t think I could have gotten through five months in a city of 10 million people without that constant reminder. That being said, thinking back to when I decided I really felt called to do missions this fall and in the future, I would have been lost if it wasn’t for God leading me to this internship. I think back about me getting on a plane and going from my small town to a huge city – knowing it is where I’m supposed to be, but if were not for having smiling faces picking me up from the airport, having the best group of friends to live with and go through this process with, or having a constant reminder that I am important to God – I would have come to this city or any city and felt extremely overwhelmed, not knowing where to start, and probably feeling very unimportant. It’s something that I never even thought of while I was looking into the internship. I leave knowing I am important to God. I can survive in a big city and actually really love it. I’m not overwhelmed. I am incredibly thankful for the CDV missionary internship.

-Abigail Fenton, Intern Fall 2015

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Same Shirt, Different Style

Have you ever bought the same shirt in two different colors and expected them to fit the same, but once you put them on, you realized they’re totally different?

Well, that was me in the Mall of Life choosing the next step… the next thing I’d agree to invest my life and time in.

I was just about to finish ministry school (basically an internship), choose a job, and “arrive to my future”. Little did I know that you never really arrive to your future and no two shirts ever fit the same.

There I was with ministry school/one internship on a hanger in the left hand, and in the right hand was what seemed to be just another internship.

See, the shirt in the left hand was familiar. Worn and broken-in, the “boyfriend fit” kind of tee shirt. The shirt in the right had appeared to be the same. An internship I would come to each day, check off boxes on a to do list, learn a whole bunch, and live life. You know, familiar.

But man, I’ll tell you, once I got to Peru and wore the shirt for the first time, I realized that the two might have the same appearance in advertisement, but they definitely aren’t cut from the same cloth.

If this internship has taught me anything, it’s that expectations are always surpassed when you step into the will of God.

Just like the two shirts, seemingly identical, you never know their true form until you put them on.

While donning the shirt of the right hand for 5 months, I’ve learned that you never really “arrive to your future”. Life has a way of always pushing you towards the next thing to conquer and learn.

I’ve learned that just because something bears the name “internship” doesn’t mean that it’s a nine to five built for executive work. This is life with community and endless amounts of life experiences.

I’ve learned that familiarity doesn’t guarantee growth. In fact, I’ve found the opposite to be true. Familiarity breeds stagnancy, which leads to decay and this place, this church is on the opposite side of the spectrum from decay.

I’ve learned that God can take the idea of what you think you’re getting yourself into and make it unimaginably greater and create endless facets to experience His glory and grace in. Especially grace.

To you, the eager shopper in the Mall of Life: go for it. Buy the shirt even if it looks like something you’ve owned before. I guarantee you it’s far better than anything you’ve experienced and anything you could expect. You have my customer satisfaction guarantee.

– Hope Rogers, Intern Fall 2015

I Learned To Laugh

I can’t even begin to tell you the countless times that I’ve heard the question, “What was the biggest thing you learned during your internship?” once I returned to the states. Talk about a tough question. I remember the first couple times that I heard it, thinking to myself that there was no way that I’d ever be able to really answer it fully with just one thing. But the other night as I scrolled through our internship’s hashtag on Instagram, (#internshipcdv) and looked at mine and the intern’s full journey in Lima from start to finish, I realized that I finally had my answer.

Let me just start off by telling you a little about myself. I’m one of those people that’s obsessed with planning and organizing, and as nerdy as it sounds, color coding may or may not be one of my favorite past times. Before I said, “yes” to the internship at Camino de Vida, I was a pre-med major who had spent the last four years in college preparing to eventually go into medicine so I could do medical missions someday. I didn’t just have a plan for the next couple years of my life constructed in my brain… it was more like I had a ten year plan all ready to go. I thought I knew exactly what my next steps would be, and exactly how I would accomplish my goals. But the truth is, all the plans I was making never felt quite right. There was always a little piece missing, but I could never figure out exactly what it was. But after taking a short-term trip to Peru and finding out about the internship, for the first time I felt a truly peaceful, passionate, and fulfilling draw toward something in my future that as many times as I tried to push off to the side and ignore, I couldn’t escape. So in spite of the plans that I had made, and the future that I had always pictured, I decided to say no to my brain for once, and say “yes” to what was in my heart. Fast forward three months, and there I was on a plane headed toward Lima, Peru, with really no concrete plan of what my life was going to look like even just for the next five months.

When I got to Lima, I felt like a wide-eyed little kid. Everything was so new and so exciting. Every tiny task (even just going to the grocery store) felt like an adventure. If you asked me, or any of the other interns, we would have told you that our lives felt like a dream. But eventually, the newness wore off, and the realization that “this is real, day-to-day life” started to set in. Pretty soon, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for sometimes hours on end, and constantly not being able to fully communicate what I needed to (Spanish is hard y’all) wasn’t so fun anymore. FaceTime sessions with friends back in the States started feeling a little more awkward and a little more distant, and to be completely honest… a lot of things about being a missionary that seemed so great suddenly weren’t. I found myself laughing a lot less, and stressing a lot more. But right around that time, Pastor Danny and Stephanie (future interns… I can’t even begin to put into words how blessed you are to be under their leadership) sat down with me, and challenged me to reevaluate where I was putting my trust, and to guard my joy. They challenged me to stand strong in the middle of what sometimes felt like chaos, and to truly celebrate life, in the good moments and the bad.

When I made the decision to truly, wholeheartedly follow their advice, I began to uncover the biggest lesson that I learned in Lima… I learned to laugh. I learned to laugh at myself when my brain couldn’t process the idea of speaking one more word of Spanish, I learned to laugh when the water in the shower suddenly turned off while there was still shampoo in my hair, I learned to laugh when I realized that all of the plans that I had made for my future before the internship were nothing that I wanted anymore.

“…she laughs without fear of the future.”

-Proverbs 3:25

I’ve heard that verse a million times throughout my life, but I don’t know that I could have ever said that I truly owned it until now. When I look at my life today, and I see how faithful God has been through my shortcomings and my every failure and imperfection… how faithful He was to bring some of the best friendships into my life that I’ve ever had while I was in Peru, how faithful He was to provide every penny that I needed while I was there, how faithful He was to show me exactly what my next steps were supposed to be after the internship, there is truly no fear in me for what the future holds. Instead, there is laughter and joy, because I now realize more than I ever have before that His plans for us truly are far more than we could ever imagine, and though there are hard moments along the way, a journey walking with Him surrendered in the plan that He has for your life is truly the most beautiful one you’ll ever take.

So my advice to you if you’re considering this internship is this: If God has put this internship on your heart, even if you’re feeling a little scared or a little unsure of what your future may hold if you say yes, take the leap of faith and do it. And laugh a whole lot along the way.

-Sydney Wright, Intern Fall 2015 

 

 

 

 

You’re Stronger Than You Know

There are many times when you look at this big event or hurdle in front of you and go, “Um, that’s never going to happen. Have you met me?” It’s one of those times when you have look ahead, see a mountain, and find a neat little side path that doesn’t go to the top of the mountain at all right next to the difficult mountain path. I know I’ve been a traveler on that side road plenty of times. So, when I saw a road that went to Peru right next to the comfortable little side street called Alabama, I had a choice. Do I choose the easy road or the uncomfortable one? The first doubt that popped in my head was, “I’m not strong enough.” Now I can say, I was wrong about that.

You are stronger than you think. This is the phrase I heard way before I got on that plane ride to Peru. I had family members, friends, and even people I just met tell me this phrase. Now did I believe them? No, but they had a strong word that would mean so much to me after I got on that plane. I now know that yes, I am stronger than I know. Now you can say, wow the missionary is praising herself, but first let me explain something. I, nor you, have any strength. We are completely weak beings. What I found here in Peru through this internship is that strength, undeniably powerful strength, comes from God alone.

“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber” (ESV, Ps. 121. 1-3).

I’ve read this verse a ton, but when it hit me hard was when we were on our mission trip to Arequipa. Now I must say when I read this verse, mountains surrounded me, which adds to the “read all the verses about mountains while by a mountain” stereotype, but it made me think about this. The mountain shows the strength of God, and through God we are able to take that difficult trek up the mountains in our life. I was faced with two paths, comfortable and uncomfortable, and I choose the mountain path straight to Lima, Peru. On that path I was able to find my strength in God and finally see that I am stronger than I know.

-Madison Luna, Intern Fall 2015

How To: Fundraise

For a long time the word “fundraising” was a bad word in my life. I would hear it and automatically begin stressing at the mere thought of having to ask people for money, and I know I can’t be the only one out there with this problem. While in Peru I learned about fundraising in detail from people who understand and have lived on the mission field. We got to hear a little “why and how” behind this huge idea of fundraising and the practicality behind it all. Since then, I can confidently declare that it doesn’t scare me as much anymore, so i’m here to pass that wealth of information on with some of the tips I got and experienced on how to fundraise.

Understand it will take hard work and dedication.

If you are anything like me, the beginning stages of fundraising are a ball of stress and procrastination. It’s the weird time where you haven’t actually done anything to fundraise, and then being stressed due to said procrastination. The best way to begin fundraising is understanding that it will take time and effort. Don’t be like me and begin with the “maybe money will fall from the sky” mindset, but rather know that it will take work to get funded. Make an effort to sit down and map out the how to do the fundraising and start thinking of practical ways to accomplish this.
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Don’t be afraid to be honest

Here’s the truth we all know: asking people for money is extremely difficult. Here’s another truth: getting asked to donate money really isn’t that awkward. I can think of a million times that I freaked out and stressed over conversations I would be having about money. I asked the “what if” questions over and over again. This stress has even led me to just back out on asking for donations. On the other hand, I can think of plenty of times people asked me for donations and none of them made me uncomfortable. You can’t fundraise if you don’t ask. Yes, asking people for money is awkward, but people want to help you. Don’t be afraid to be honest with people on where you are at and what you need.

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Tell your story

Going along with that last point, you have to ask people in a way that is personal. The absolute best way to ask people for donations is to invite them into your story. Fundraising is beautiful in the sense that you’re raising money for a cause. Instead of just asking people to support you and give you money, describe to them how they can partner alongside you to help facilitate change. Missions is not just some organization looking desperately for donations, but it’s an individual person called to help people in need. Fundraising should be personal and not just raising money. Always be prepared to tell your story in the beautiful way it is being uncovered to you. Invite people in the beautiful mission God has called you to.

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 Utilize tools to help you 

There are so many incredible things out there to help you fundraise.

First off, you have a plethora of websites available to help you raise money, which are so helpful in keeping your money in order while also having a place where people can check your progress. (if you are doing this specific internship I recommend using Modern Day. You can look more into the benefits of using them, but I can guarantee that they provide a great service.)

If you happen to be skilled in writing, or even if you’re not, a blog is a huge way to connect with your fan base. This is a big commitment and I can tell you sitting down and actually writing a blog is harder than it seems, but is absolutely perfect in helping people stay connected to your progress and story. Check out WordPress or Squarespace to get your blog started FOR FREE (<— music to a missionary’s ears).

Those are just a few ways to jumpstart and keep your fundraising going. Don’t be afraid to get creative with what you have.

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Understand the reason.

If you haven’t paid attention to anything so far, this is the one you need to focus on.

I’m a big picture person, so this is the part that excites me the most. There is so much work and information that goes behind fundraising that it is easy to forget the “why” behind what you are doing. People are the reason for everything, including fundraising. I always saw fundraising as something I needed for me and me alone. Super selfish I know, but it really has nothing to do about yourself. You are allowing people to help support missions and be a part of everything that God is doing in the world. Through you, people can connect to missions and, even more, the heart of God. It is so helpful to remember while your fundraising that it’s not about you at all. You are raising money to be a missionary and serve the people and church of another location, and those giving to you are connecting to mission in the way they can- generosity.

Don’t let fundraising be this huge road block that takes forever to get over and makes you just want to cry. Raise money with purpose, understanding that it’s not about you. It’s all about what Jesus is doing in your life and in the lives of those all over the world. It’s all about people, even fundraising. Invite people to listen, learn, and give to the world of missions.

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Chao amigos,

Madison Luna

Out Of The Dust

If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I’m a planner. Well, I used to be at least until about 10 months ago when I watched all of my plans, dreams, and goals fall apart one day after the other.

At that point of my life I was holding onto this clarity that I could see tangibly in front of me. I could see the fruit of my crops and I could see what my path had in store. I saw a young girl starting her fourth semester of college with a great job, an amazing group of friends, leadership roles within her church, and a bright future. The only bad part was, I didn’t actually like where my path was headed, because if you looked further down the road, slowly but surely that fruit started to rot, grow sour, and fall off.

The path that I thought was perfect for me seemingly turned to dust right in front of my eyes, and I was left confused, broken, and hurt. But even in the pain of those moments, I had to remind myself of one simple thing:

God creates magnificent things out of dust.

And once I realized that, I saw a new path open up. This internship became a beacon of light that was scary, unfamiliar, completely new, no information, and yet all that the same time, overwhelmingly full of peace.

So to keep it going with the dust analogy, the day I moved down here was like someone handing me a broom, and during the weeks, days, and months spent here, I began to sweep up the dust that my hopes and the dreams of my past created and turn them into something more. I was able to metaphorically see how God is able to create something spectacular out of something, frankly, not so spectacular. Just like God formed Adam from the dust and breathed life into him, so he did again with my life. I was reminded of the joy of salvation and how God can take something so incredibly broken and undeserving of help and not just throw a lifeline out, but reel them onto the shore of something more than they could possibly imagine.

This internship has taught me that clarity isn’t in a 10-year plan. Clarity is found when you take that running leap into the unknown because you’re trusting in the voice that is telling you to soar. That sometimes you may find clarity about what’s next for your life while you’re doing something that has nothing to do with that. That you can find clarity even in the midst of the most uncomfortable thing you’ve ever done, and that clarity can sometimes surprise you.

Young person on the other side of this screen, hear me when I say that you are not crazy. You are not crazy to want to be apart of this internship. You are not crazy to want to move to a different country for five months to study missions, even if you’re not completely sure it’s what you want to do. You are not crazy for wanting to give up everything you’ve ever known and go somewhere where you know nothing. I promise you, this internship, it’s apart of something way bigger than what you could ever imagine. Don’t be afraid to step out onto the different path. I’ll even hand you the broom to help you clear the way.

-Danielle Bailey, Intern Fall 2015

HOW TO: Move To Another Country

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,

Madison Luna

One of your trusty interns