During my years as a youth minister I was fortunate to have many different interns serve during the summer months to learn the ropes of youth ministry and missions. It was always exciting to work with them and to help train and show them the "behind the scenes" stuff that took place, especially when planning calendars, events, and trips. They would certainly understand the analogy of the duck swimming on a pond. When you see a duck swimming on a pond, the duck appears to glide accross the water effortlessly. What you don't see is the duck's webbed feet under the water working continuously to keep the duck stable and moving the duck in the right direction. When people go on a mission trip, a youth trip, etc., they typically see a well run trip and enjoy it accordingly. However, most do not see all of the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the trip runs smoothly. The interns that have worked with me have seen what takes place "under the water" that makes what takes place "above the water" run smoothly (or at least as smoothly as it can!). Most of my interns were amazed and unaware of all of the work that went in to make a trip work before the internship and appreciate the trips even more since they were shown the ropes.
A few years ago I started selecting interns to work with me during the mission trips. It was one of the best things I have done. Having a group that works behind the scenes to help plan and implement the activities and ministries of the day has helped me in a lot of ways. "Taking things off of my plate" was not just an option, but a necesssity for me to continue doing the trips. Over the past few years I have learned to delegate responsibilities to various team leaders (or segundos as we say while in Honduras) and to interns. This was hard for me to do at first but I have come to enjoy the trips so much more knowing that things are being done by others which allows me time to participate more and even get some rest every now and then!
Selection for the mission interns is a fairly lengthy process. Once emails go out and posters are put up around campus, word gets out about the internship. A detailed discription of the expectations, requirements, and cost is shared to those who express interest. This year about 2 dozen began the process. The process included filling out an application, securing 3 letters of recommendation, and writing a 1 page essay on why they wanted to do the internship. Some went the extra mile and also wrote a biography of themselves to give me even more information to consider. 1 on 1 conversations (interviews) were also done. Once all of this was completed I selected 9 interns that will be working with my Torch teams this summer in Honduras.
We have 4 who have served as interns for me before and 5 new interns. 7 have been on at least one Torch trip. All have impressed me in various ways and I am very confident that they will do an excellent job this summer working with the 2 teams working in Honduras. Here is a quick introduction of the 2012 interns:
1. Kathryn Bettis. Kathryn is a junior at Freed-Hardeman University and is from Clarksville, Tennessee. This will be Kathryn's 2nd internship with Torch and her 3rd trip to Honduras.
2. Kennedy Cheatham. Kennedy is from Hendersonville, Tennessee, and will be a senior next year at Beech High School. This is Kennedy's 2nd internship and her 3rd trip to Honduras.
3. Tyler Gist. Tyler is from Columbia, South Carolina. He is a junior and will be transferring to the University of South Carolina next fall. This is Tyler's 2nd internship and his 7th trip to Honduras.
4. Luke Larson. Luke is from Lithia, Florida, and is a freshman at Harding University. This is Luke's 1st internship with Torch and his 2nd trip to Honduras.
5. Julia Morgan. Julia is a freshman at Freed-Hardeman University and is from Moore, Oklahoma. This will be Julia's first trip with Torch Missions and her 2nd trip to Honduras.
6. Ashley Stewart. Ashley is a junior at Freed-Hardeman University. She is from Columbia, Tennessee. This is Ashley's 2nd internship with Torch and her 5th trip to Honduras.
7. Leah sutter. Leah is from Tavernier (Florida Keys), Florida. Leah is a freshman at Florida Keys Community College. This is Leah's first internship with Torch and her 3nd trip to Honduras.
8. Rachel Timmerman. Rachel is a senior at FLVS Home School and is also from Tavernier, Florida. This is Rachel's 1st internship with Torch and her 3rd trip to Honduras.
9. Erika Wenger. Erika is a freshman at Freed-Hardeman University. She is from Richmond, Virginia. This is her 1st internship with Torch and her 1st trip to Honduras.
I could say a lot more about all of the interns but I will be brief this time. More will be shared at another time. As you can see, the interns come from all over the U.S. and each will bring their unique talents to the mix as we form the 2012 team. I am very excited about the choices and I believe they will do an excellent job this summer.
As far as the trips go, things are shaping up very well. Here are the tentative numbers for each team as of today:
Costa Rica: 65. This trip is full but a few reserved spots might open up soon.
Honduras trip #1: 75. 5 spots remaining.
Honduras trip #2: 77. 3 spots remaining.
We already have 2/3 of a container of supplies collected already! Mt. Dora Bible School (Florida) donated lots of stackable chairs that were used in their auditorium. Ken Haab has secured a lot of school furniture (desks, chairs, cafeteria tables, etc.) from the Florida Keys. Singer Sewing Machines has donated 3 HUGE boxes of sewing supplies that will go to the Mi Esperanza program this summer. In addition, I already have had to rent another storage unit here in Henderson to store supplies that are coming in. Once we get a container scheduled I will give all of you more information about shipping date, loading location, etc.
As the year comes to an end and Christmas break gets closer, I hope all of us will take time to enjoy what is really important. God has belssed us all in a very special way. He has placed many people in our lives and opportunities to reach out and serve to those who are less fortunate. As we continue to focus our efforts on Costa Rica and Honduras, remember that your ministry starts by reaching out to those who are all around you. By helping and ministering to those close to you, a ripple affect is created. By ministering to those far away, you bless not only them but you create new ripples that will work their way from the center out. The greatest gift you receive might very well be the one that you gave away. Peace.