SENT BY JOURNEY CHURCH OF ATLANTA TO EAST ASIA.
Esther and her husband, Reo, currently reside in a big city in East Asia. She is working at a Christian education center and serving the local Ch. They enjoy doing puzzles, venturing across town, going to nice cafes, watching funny videos, and worshiping together with their guitar/piano.
1. When did you go on your 1-yr internship?
2. Where do you currently attend church?
New Life Church
3. How did you decide to devote one year to serving as an intern?
I always had a heart for this country in East Asia all throughout college so I was looking for opportunities to go. I ended up applying for Peace Corps, specifying my preference of placement, and after an extensive period of application, interviews, and waiting, I was accepted to serve in a country in Africa. As I struggled to make a decision, my pastor approached me about this one year internship to the country I was trying to go. After several more weeks (or was it months?) of praying and wrestling with God, I made a decision to devote the next year to serve as an intern. God impressed two verses in my heart at the time: Isaiah 61 and Matthew 6:33. I knew that my time abroad will be an intentional “seeking of His Kingdom” and that the year will be “the Year of the Lord’s Favor.”
4. During your time as an intern, what roles did you play?
The main role my co-intern and I played was to support the long-term missionary family there. We did a lot of babysitting and forming relationships with people in the beginning. As time went by, our roles began to be clearer as timely opportunities matched our passions and availability. I played keyboard in the worship team, helped lead the underclassmen SG Bible Study, and supported the core leaders (through accountability and fellowship). We also began an English Corner in a college campus to connect and form relationships with students.
5. What is one realization or revelation that God showed you about Himself, people, and/or His kingdom as a result of your internship?
It seems like an obvious realization, but I was blown away by how God can understand whatever language I was speaking. I was struggling to learn the local language and it was frustrating not having others fully understand what I was saying and vice versa. There was a moment where I realized that even when the words coming out of my mouth were a hodgepodge of various languages, God still understood everything. He is God of all nations and all languages. It was also amazing how immediately I felt connected to the other local brothers and sisters with whom I had nothing in common other than our faith. I was struck by how beautiful His Church is, consisting of diverse and unfamiliar cultures, yet intimacy and love for each other retained.
6. How has your experience while interning influenced what you are doing now and what you hope to do in the future?
Not to sound cliché, but the experience altered my life. Prior to the internship, I knew God had planted a desire in me to come to this country, but I always assumed it will be on a short-term basis. The internship experience led me to make a decision to serve long-term. I distinctly recall sharing with the local church as my internship drew to a close that I will come back. And I did. I am serving at the same local church now and simply doing life here! The Great Commission is what my husband and I strive to do wherever we are (though the specifics of how and where can still be gray and unclear), and I think my internship played a big part in striving to have this Mission-oriented life.
7. How would you advise interns to maximize their experience while they are on the field?
1. This might sound contradictory, but oftentimes you’re not going to feel like you’re maximizing your time in the field. It’s okay if you feel like you’re not doing much. God may be humbling you by allowing you to experience your own limitations in these new environments, but it’s in those moments we experience His unlimited power. Be open and flexible and don’t try to prove your usefulness.
2. Learn the language!
3. Spend time with, learn from, share with, and be under the care of the long-term missionaries. They have so many experiences, insights, and advice on doing missions.