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Life Changing Internship

October 24, 2016

When that time of the year comes around and we start to recruit for our summer internship in Ghana, I begin to get excited. I always wonder who God will send. What personalities? What skills they will bring? What life experience?

The very fact they apply for an internship in West Africa shows a degree of “adventuresomeness”.  Willingness to raise their own funds speaks of a young person on a faith journey, solid trust in God, and (hopefully) some creativity. Applying for a medical internship shows that the candidate has an idea of their career pathway, and coming on a mission trip- well that shows  willingness to serve God. All  of these are “great attributes for a summer intern with Reach Beyond!

Sometimes I wonder what their expectations are before they come? Do they know how much they will be stretched?  Do they think about the very early mornings and long drives over pitted bumpy roads to the communities we serve? I wonder if these young people realize that they will spend hours in the African heat- usually under shade but still hot, doing the same thing over and over again- about 150 times each day- taking vital signs, dispensing medicines under supervision, weighing children, shadowing doctors as they attend to patients, dressing smelly wounds? Do they realize that we expect a LOT from them in terms of commitment, Bible study, leading devotions and Sunday night worship for the whole Ghana team?

I conclude- probably not.

But they also don’t realize that however much they want to give of themselves and “help the poor Ghanaian people” They will receive far more than they could ever, ever give. Smiles of appreciation, unintelligible affirmation from old toothless women, warm handshakes and hugs- lots of hugs – from  Beautiful smiling children.

The interns don’t realize what a difference  this trip will mean to them- how they will redefine poverty and begin to question who is really poor- the North American who has everything and wants more- or the African who has nothing and is content. They don’t realize that God will show Himself to be way bigger than they ever imagined, and that He is alive and well in Africa through His church, His worshipping church who sing so harmoniously as the day begins.

They don’t yet realize the reward of  successfully treating someone in pain, relieving the fever of a sick child, comforting a weeping person, touching the outcast. They don’t realize how God can use them.

So, summer internship? Full of surprises, blessings and challenges. Full of new food experiences, laughter and sunshine. Full of new times of reflection and learning life lessons.

I look forward each year to that experience we call Akosa Ntosa- joining our hearts with the African people to make life better for all of us and to model Gods Kingdom together here on earth.

 Learn more about this exciting internship by checking out our Reach Beyond internship page



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