Effective Summer Ministries—September 2013
This past summer many Faith students had the opportunity to travel in the United States and abroad as they completed their internships or took mission trips.
• Charlie Carter, a senior in the Pastoral Training/Greek program completed his pastoral internship in New Woodstock, New York.
• Natalie Bunjer, a senior in the Local Church Ministries/Missions program, took the opportunity to go on a six-week mission internship to Landshut, Germany.
• Pamela Betz, a junior in the Office Administration/Women’s Ministry program, ministered with the Faith Chorale for three weeks in the Netherlands, France, and Germany. She spent an extra month after that tour working with missionaries in Berlin, Germany, and in La Rochelle, France.
Hear from these students as they share what God has done in their lives this past summer.
What prompted your desire for the location in which you served this summer?
Charlie: I never had considered going far for an internship, especially being a farm kid from Iowa, but God provided an opportunity to go to New York so I went!
Natalie: I was born and lived in Germany until I was 9 years old. My parents were missionaries to Bavaria at that time. I believe God has used the short time I got to live in Germany to give me a heart for the country and for the people. I have had that desire for some time, but now having spent six weeks immersed in the culture and with the people, God has given me a much stronger passion for Germany.
Pamela: Initially I tried out to be a part of the European Chorale because I saw it as a great opportunity to minister alongside my friends doing something I love--singing! From there God continued to fuel my passion to get more involved and learn more about the work God is doing in Europe by working alongside missionaries and learning from them on a personal level.
How did you see God at work?
Charlie: God showed Himself in big ways throughout my internship! I had opportunities to preach and teach as well as work with individuals. I could see Him at work in the church in the lives of the people the whole time I was there!
Natalie: Throughout the whole trip God was hard at work in my life. Though I could speak some German, I never felt like I could communicate effectively. Throughout my time there, God drastically improved my speaking ability, and my last week in Germany I was able to be a counselor at camp. A big answer to prayer came on Friday during camp. One of the girls in my room was unsaved and I was praying for an opportunity to sit down and talk about the gospel with her. Friday morning I just sat and prayed for a long time that today (the last day) might be the day. God answered that prayer and Leonie placed her faith in Jesus Christ Friday evening!
Pamela: I tried to go into this trip with the mindset that “God is always at work.” For instance, while singing on the streets of Paris, God allowed our Chorale to cross paths with Tony and Shamel. They came to our concert the next day and several of our Chorale members were able to build relationships with them and share the gospel. Six weeks later, the day before I flew back to the States, I went back to Paris and was able to find Tony again! It was an encouragement to hear that he had gone back to church and that God was still working in his heart weeks after we had met him.
What did you learn about how culture impacts the way people live and understand the gospel?
Natalie: True Christianity and true believers are far less common in Germany than here in the United States. A lot of them are first generation Christians, and they live out their Christian walk so earnestly and genuinely. To them, Christianity isn’t just what you do but who you are. I was so impacted and challenged by how real being a Christian was to them and how honest they were about their struggles.
Charlie: I learned that God bridges the gap to help you minister no matter where you are and that the Holy Spirit can speak the truth to someone’s heart anywhere!
What did you learn or experience that will change the way you live and represent Christ in your community and church?
Natalie: I was impressed with the number of one-on-one discipleship Bible studies that take place weekly among the believers in the church. This is what I want to start implementing in my own life from both directions: being discipled by an older and wiser Christian and taking the time to start discipleship with a younger girl in my church.
Pamela: While working alongside missionaries in Europe, I learned from their creative ways to reach people, their servant hearts, and how the love for God spilled into the lives of others. I do not want to put “ministry” into a box, but rather live out every moment in service to my King!
Charlie: My internship really opened my eyes to what pastoral ministry really looks like. The pulpit really is the cherry on top of the sundae! It’s not that you don’t emphasize and greatly enjoy the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, but you spend a lot of time—almost all of your time—with people! Studying at Faith had taught me that the ministry is people. I was able to take that and see what it really looks like on a day-to-day level.
What was the most challenging aspect of your trip?
Charlie: Effective ministry cannot be centered on you at all! It was a challenge to me to be looking out continually for opportunities to minister and to keep working hard! I was really stretched out of my comfort zone at times!
Natalie: The most challenging aspect of my trip was speaking the language and overcoming my fear of speaking the language. It was challenging, exhausting, miserable, and so rewarding all at the same time. Though it wasn’t always fun or easy, I am so, so thankful for this challenge.
Pamela: It was challenging to be outside of my element, away from my family, people who speak my language and away from all things familiar. I was challenged as I tried to get to know people and minister to people in ways that I wasn’t as familiar with or comfortable with.
What did you enjoy most about your trip?
Natalie: I loved the country, the culture, the people, and the food! I don’t think I can narrow down what I enjoyed most. However, some of the highlights were the times I got to spend with the youth group. There were about 20 of them on average, and they were probably the most welcoming and accepting teens I have ever met. It was so special to be able to develop relationships with many of the girls and now, thanks to technology, I am still able to communicate with them.
Pamela: I most enjoyed the people I was able to meet throughout Europe. Whether it was the people who graciously opened up their homes, people I met on the street, people I was able to share the gospel with, believers whose love for God and others overflowed, missionary families who opened up their lives and their hearts, or the children and youth I was able to connect with, I was continually blessed by the people God allowed to cross my path!
Charlie: The time I enjoyed the most was with the families that I stayed with. I stayed at a different house every week!
How has your time so far at Faith prepared you for this ministry?
Natalie: My time at Faith has given me the opportunity to study God’s Word in-depth as well as take classes relating to missions and culture that all aided me during this trip.
Pamela: I am thankful for all that I have learned during my time at Faith about my God and His Word. The more I know Him, the more desire I have to serve Him!