If you’ve walked around any of TWR’s offices this summer, you might have noticed some unusually young faces scattered among the staff.
That’s not to imply all of TWR’s regular employees are over the hill! It’s just that the summer interns are here and have been working to help reach the world for Christ.
Though they arrived at orientation nervous and quiet, it only took a round of mini-golf to get these interns to loosen up and develop a unique bond. Imagineering, drawing, dancing, rock climbing and studying Chinese are just a few of the talents and hobbies this group possesses.
This year’s class is the largest group of summer interns TWR has ever encountered. Nine are working in the Cary office, while the remaining seven are employed in TWR facilities in Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
Upon their arrival, these interns knew that any new job promises challenges and responsibilities. They have learned to adjust to new homes, offices, churches, and cultures. But regardless of the challenges they face, these young adults haven’t lost their senses of humor.
Sam Turkal, an N.C. State University student interning in Bonaire, says, “I am not used to working so much. I can’t sit in one place for eight hours. So I’ll go out back occasionally to check on the goats.”
You see, herds of goats (as well as donkeys, iguanas, and parrots) are quite common on the Caribbean island of Bonaire, and frequently wander onto TWR property to graze. As you might imagine, none of the interns in Cary has had the opportunity to say that.
But, whether they’re watching the goats, eating schnitzel (Tiffany Cobb in Slovakia), or killing a poisonous snake (Axel Barth in Cary), the interns have made some great memories. Many of those opportunities originate in the office, where interns are valued and given responsibility with the tasks they are managing.
“Traveling has been incredible, and so has learning to live in a different culture and seeing new things,” says Brooke Halteman, an intern and Purdue University student serving in South Africa. “I have also been given big responsibilities at work and am being treated as a regular employee. … They really trust me and value my input, which is awesome!”
Many of the interns agree and are overwhelmed by TWR employees’ loving welcome and continued efforts to work with them and receive their input. In their various roles and in their departments, these interns are learning quite a bit about ministry, TWR and the work God has called them to do.
“Largely, God has taught me about my mind,” shares Chris Sapp, a video intern in Cary who is studying cinema and media arts at Biola University. “For better or worse, he’s pointed out how the mind is a window to the heart, and he’s shown me a little of what the world looks like through his lens of perspective.”
Morgan Jackson, a rising senior at Illinois State University interning with Project Hannah in Cary, also chimes in: “God has been teaching me that this can’t just be a job. … Yes, things need to get done. But they shouldn’t be rushed through or completed without reflection as to the massive impact they could potentially have on the Kingdom. … What I do here in my short time at TWR should be savored, prayed over and not taken for granted considering its profound effect on the company’s overall efforts to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”
For TWR Internship Coordinator Alan Lawton, this is the best part. “I hope that each intern gets to use their training and expertise to serve God and that they come away from the experience knowing that God gave them these abilities and that these gifts can be utilized for his Kingdom in global missions,” he says. “I hope that they will draw closer to God as they go through difficulties and joys and they will learn that they must draw their strength to serve through daily communion with him.”
Lawton also shares some advice for Christian workers everywhere.
“Ministry happens in the margins – between jobs and when you have a chance to grab a cup of coffee or tea with a co-worker, while waiting for a key to be cut, while standing in line at the store. We often think that we must get our job done as quickly and efficiently as possible to please God, but it is in the in-between times that God gives us a moment to offer a word of encouragement or challenge, a testimony or empathetic remark. Don’t rush through life but keep your antennae always up for those moments that God brings into your life.”
Pictured above: Tiffany Cobb, Paul Cook, Amy Ellmers, Brooke Halteman, Ethan Law, Zayna Abdo, Kayla Schlipf, Chris Sapp, Sandi Dalton, Nathan Heath, Lebo Pooe, Sol Brocker, Sam Turkal, Emma Haegele, Axel Barth, Matt Dickens, and Internship Coordinator Alan Lawton
Not pictured: Morgan Jackson