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When was the last time you did something for the first time? For TWR intern Thomas Shifflett, the answer to this question is easy. He’s encountered new things around every corner this summer, among them being flying in a plane, scuba diving and working on radio towers. 

Thomas is an incoming senior at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa. where he’s majoring in electrical engineering. This summer he left his hometown of Madison, Va. to live on the small Caribbean island of Bonaire to serve with the electrical engineering team.

Q: How did you first hear about TWR?

I heard about TWR from our Collaboratory Project co-director at my college. He knew that I was interested in taking the missionary route and thought TWR would be a great place to start my decision-making process.

Q: What drew you to pursue an internship at TWR?

I was drawn by the faith-based service that TWR provides. TWR connects so many people to the good book and services that help people. My goal is to help spread the good word to as many people as possible, and TWR is doing that with their radio signals, apps, recordings and so many other ways. As a Christian, it’s hard to say no to working at TWR, because they are doing what every Christian should want to do. TWR serves as the fishers of men that Jesus wanted.

Q: Have you always had a desire to work in ministry?

I have been thinking hard about working in ministry for about a year now. Before I grew closer to God, money was the only thing on my mind. That’s why I chose to major in electrical engineering. It’s easy to find a job and is a solid career due to constant improvements of electronics. It wasn’t until this past year that I decided to pursue the missions route. I came to realize that everything I do down here on Earth is only temporary. You can’t take all the money you made to heaven, but you can help someone else reach that eternal walk in Heaven with Jesus. That’s what I have decided to do: to help as many people as possible get their ticket to Heaven.

Q: What kinds of projects have you be working on this summer?

I have worked on many projects this summer. The main one that I just completed was a backup automation system for the air conditioning in the transmitter room. 

Q: Have you experienced any challenges during this internship?

I haven’t experienced any challenges during this internship. This was the first time I have ever been on a plane or outside the country. I think if it was not for the TWR community here on Bonaire, it would not have been nearly as fun. The people here are such great, God-loving people, and that has made this trip so much better.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

I am still deciding on whether I want to pursue my Master’s degree after graduation. If I choose to go to work right after college, I may take a few years to work in the U.S. to help pay off my student loans. Then I would work in the mission field. Or, if God is willing, I will go straight into missions (hopefully with TWR) and somehow pay off my student loans while in the field.

Q: Is there anything specific you’re looking forward to doing (or anything fun you've already done) in your spare time this summer?

The one thing that Noah (my fellow intern on Bonaire) and I wanted to do down here was get certified in scuba diving, which we did. I had wavering faith in myself during the first dive because I had issues equalizing my ears, but I summoned the strength to finish. I’m so happy I did. I have no idea what I’m going to do when I get back to the states because I’ll miss diving so much! 

Q: Let’s lighten up… what's your favorite holiday to celebrate and why?

I would have to go with Easter, because that is when our Lord and Savior died and rose from the grave. He sacrificed everything for us and took on the weight of all of our sins. I don’t know how I can ever make it up to him, and that is why I want to spread his word to as many people as possible. They should know how he sacrificed himself for them so they can spend eternal life with him in heaven.