Internship Opportunities With Our Asia-Based Teams

Short Term Internship PhotoAn internship with Servants is probably quite different to any other short term mission exposure you have experienced before.  This is because the emphasis is not so much on what you DO but on what you LEARN.  The intention is that for a few weeks or months, living with a local family in a poor community, you will make a deep connection with the urban poor and allow God to open up a space in you to hear him afresh.  This will occur not in a quiet garden or at the beach, but in a noisy, vibrant, cramped slum.

  The focus needs to be on coming as a learner.  This can sound indulgent because you want to be able to “give” to the people who have great need and being a learner seems to be only “taking”!  However, simply being with people and showing them the respect of learning from them is giving them a huge amount.

Also, through the experience you can learn so much about God, suffering, poverty, discipleship, compassion, powerlessness, and faith.  All of these things are essential to your life as a follower of Jesus no matter where you are.  Living in the midst of poverty helps you see the world through God’s eyes even when you are only there for a short time.  It is important to know that this new “way of seeing” is as much your objective as “doing things” while here.  The focus is on being as well as doing.

It is an irony, but true nonetheless, that God is most often found in the places where we would least expect him.  And when he wants to make himself visible, it is invariably in something “powerless” or weak or poor: like a baby in a stinking stable, or amongst the naked, the prisoners, the hungry and thirsty (Matt 25:31‑46).

Being in a foreign environment, you will sometimes not understand a lot of what is going on within you and around you.  Your emotions may erupt in ways that call into question what you have never questioned before.  You may face things surfacing in you that frighten the hell out of you and make you to want to escape.  But the wonderful promise of these wilderness experiences which we must all face from time to time, is that if you endure, you will begin to see God sustaining you (Lk 4: 4) and you will discover yourself to be “a beloved child of God” (Matt 3:17).

  •  To develop a deeper intimacy with Jesus.
  •  To experience life in an urban poor cross-cultural environment.
  •  To explore poverty and its causes through relationships in an urban poor community.
  •  To observe and participate in development projects operating in an urban poor environment: as a response to poverty, as a method of mission/development, and as what it means to follow Jesus.
  •  To examine the principles of incarnation, simplicity, servanthood, community and wholism and their application
  • To explore and experience the spiritual dimensions of poverty and powerlessness through language learning and cross-cultural experiences.
  • To prayerfully consider and list concrete life changes that can be followed through on return home.
  • To consider God’s calling on your life in terms of future ministry to the urban poor of Asia.

Interns in Asia live with a local host family in an urban poor community and a large part of the impact of this internship will be from your interactions with this family and the community. You are expected to eat with them most of the time and participate as you can in household activities.

    In the on-field manual we have included a daily guide to assist you in ways of looking beyond the surface of what is happening in your family and community. Readings included in the manual are to stimulate your thinking with regards to poverty and its causes and our response as followers of Jesus. We have also provided you with a guided daily spiritual journal to help you find God’s place in the midst of it all. One or two of the Servants team members will be allocated to you as mentors and you will meet with them at least once a week to discuss your experiences in the community issues that have arisen from your daily journal or the readings that you are set each week.

      Additionally, the team meets weekly for a meal followed by a worship/sharing time. We expect you to join us for the lunches every week and stay for the worship/sharing time every second week.

        Although a big part of the program is experiencing poverty and being transformed through the process you will still have the opportunity to contribute in whatever ways you can. During the weekdays you can be involved in a variety of Servants projects depending on your skills, gifts, and passions, and the particular needs of Servants while you are here. For example, there may be a need for some research to be carried out that requires some time and energy beyond what local and Servants staff have on top of their daily life and work.

          You can also contribute to the local community in other ways. For instance, you can give blood at the local blood bank. Due to dengue haemorrhagic fever, there is often a shortage of blood products and ‘clean’ blood is constantly in demand.

          We are looking for applicants who have a spiritual maturity allowing them to face difficulties and learn from the experience. In part, this means we generally do not accept interns younger than 21. In addition we are seeking people who:

          •  Have a heart for the poor and those suffering injustice, and are seeking to demonstrate that in the way they live their life 'at home'.
          •  Have a commitment to Christian community, and are seeking to demonstrate that in the way they live their life.
          •  Are seeking to be actively involved in mission in their own country.
          •  Are actively exploring a commitment to long-term mission among the poor.
          • Are flexible, self-motivated, self-starters who will be able to survive (flourish!) by using initiative and courage in very simple living conditions and a new culture.
          • Who come to learn, to be challenged and to be changed (rather coming to do things and save or change others).
                  Due to the limited number of internships we are able to offer each year with our teams in Asia, we give priority to those who have either: previous cross-cultural experience outside of Western countries, OR past cross-cultural experience within the West (such as working with migrants or asylum seekers), OR significant experience working or living amongst marginalized people.

                If you believe that you fit these criteria there is a three step process for applying:

                  1. Submit The Asia Internship Application Form: Complete the short online Asia-Based Internship Application Form. Once you've submitted this, your local Servants Sending Office will get in touch with you and will also contact the team(s) you are interested in interning with.

                    2. Two References: You will need to pass these reference forms on to the appropriate people: One Christian Reference should be filled out by your pastor or equivalent Christian leader in your church or ministry that knows you well, and one Work Reference to be filled in by an employer. The Servants office may also want to contact your referees to discuss your application if we have not had a past relationship with you.

                      3. Two Interviews: Before being approved for an internship, we'll schedule a time for your local Servants Sending Office to interview you (in person or via Skype) and a separate time for the Field Team to talk with you via Skype. During these interviews we'll explain more about the internship and answer any questions you may have.

                      Pre-field preparation is essential to making this experience as valuable as possible. Objectives for pre-field preparation are to begin to engage with issues of poverty and injustice in the world and your personal response as a follower of Jesus and learn about cultural differences, some of your own cultural biases and some tools to deal with these.

                        Required Preparation:

                        • Read Thomas Hale's excerpt on bonding from “On Being A Missionary”. Click here to download a copy of the article.
                        • Read Jo Ann Van Engen's article “The Cost of Short Term Missions”. Click here to download a copy of the article.
                        • Many Servants teams have created internship and/or team informational packets designed to help prepare those joining them. If the team you'll be interning with has such a document, your Servants mentor will provide you with a copy, to be read and discussed together. The team may also require you to read/watch some context-specific articles/videos.
                        • Process the aforementioned readings with your Servants mentor. This can be done through email, by phone or face-to-face.
                        • Keep your home church informed of your progress. Ask a small group to commit to praying for you and commit yourself to sharing with your church on return.

                          Other Suggestions For Being Well-Prepared:

                          • Have a look at the Recommended Books and articles which all long term Servants workers read before joining. You don't need to read them all but many may help prepare you for what you are about to experience. There will also be readings to complete during the internship.
                          • Connect with a local church or Christians in your hometown who are from the country where you will be interning.
                          • Keep a journal in which you can jot down or draw your thoughts, feelings and ways in which you can respond to the readings, pictures and movies you have used.
                          • Find a local Christian (wise friend, pastor, spiritual director, etc.) who will commit to meeting regularly with you both during your time preparing for your internship and upon your return. It's important to have someone in your hometown with whom you can process and debrief.
                          • Participate in local Servants groups or events if available in your area.
                          • Find a picture of a scene from the country you are going to and write, draw or discuss observations regarding cultural differences between the culture portrayed and your own.
                          • Cite a movie or work of art (not of those already mentioned) that influences your interaction or attitude towards the poor.

                          International Medical Insurance:

                        • Servants requires all interns to have appropriate international medical insurance coverage for the full duration of their internship, including travel dates. Feel free to contact your local Servants sending office for a list of insurance providers that they recommend; however choosing and arranging medical coverage is the interns responsibility as Servants is not liable for this.
                          • Vaccinations:

                              Four to six weeks before the start of your internship, you will need to have completed all compulsory vaccines for the country where you will be interning. You are responsible and liable for obtaining these vaccinations. You can obtain the list of required and recommended vaccines for each country at the Center for Disease Control's webpage. Visit your GP or a travel clinic doctor to receive these vaccines and other medical advice.

                              • The following is a list of the normal vaccinations you will need (immunizations for children or Western countries may differ so please contact your GP/Family Doctor). The compulsory ones for Asia are: Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Rabies. Hepatitis B and Japanese B Encephalitis are needed if you will be staying longer than one month. Cholera and Tuberculosis are optional because they may not be very effective.
                                • Also check that you have all your childhood vaccinations up to date, especially Polio, Tetanus, Diptheria & Measles/Mumps/Rubella (normally administered together).
                                  • Malaria Prophylaxis is recommended for areas where Malaria is endemic (this varies from city to city). Wherever you go, bring a strong mosquito repellent to avoid catching any mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever.
                                  • For internships of six months or longer duration, it may be possible to have your financial support processed through the Servants sending office. Please discuss this with your Servants mentor if you think this will be helpful in your situation.

                                      Regardless of whether or not Servants processes funds for you, If you plan to raise financial support you may wish to read Friend Raising: Building a Missionary Support Team that will Last by American, Betty Barnett.
                                      Funding the Family Business by Miles Wilson is an excellent resource from a more British perspective.

                                      1. Valid Passport and Visa: Please check well in advance that you have a valid passport and that it does not expire before the end of your internship. For some countries, you can receive a tourist visa upon arrival. However, other countries require you to apply for a tourist visa in your home country. Talk with your local Servants sending office for help on acquiring any necessary visa. Please have your passport and visas sorted out before you purchase any travel tickets. We also highly recommend you purchase travel insurance.

                                      Before arrival on the field, you will need to send us:

                                      2. The Results of A Criminal Background Check: An unfortunate necessity in this day and age, is that we are required to have a Criminal Background Check record on file for every intern and missionary. Please contact your local Servants sending office for more information on how to get one.

                                      3. A Signed Copy of Servants' Child Protection Policy:

                                      4. Your Completed Final Details: Form: Please download the form here. You can fill most of it out on your computer, but will then need to print it out and sign the form in a few spots. Please send the completed and signed form to your local Servants sending sffice and the team with which you'll be interning. It covers important details such as insurance information, power of attorney (who can sign your stuff), what to do with your body in case of ahem...accident or death, a release of liability etc. Yah! Fun.

                                      Before Returning
                                      At the end of your internship you will fill in a debriefing form and discuss your learning with a member of the field team before departure. This discussion will also include issues concerning re-entry and the importance of continued discipleship and accountability with a spiritual director, mentor or prayer partner. Goal-setting with regards to life-changes and maintaining accountable relationships is very important for making the most out of your internship.

                                        After Arrival Home:
                                        Within 1 month of returning home you will meet up with the Servants mentor you met with before your internship by phone or preferably face to face. This meeting is to help you process your experiences and also to discuss goals and possible ways to continue contact with the field team, your host family and the ministries you may have been involved with. We recommend that you also debrief with your mentor within 1 month of returning home. Discuss with them creative ways you personally can live more justly. Write an article, story or poem for the Servants newsletter or website.

                                          Life Goes On:
                                          4 to 6 months after your internship we will follow up with you to discuss how you are integrating your experiences into life and how we may support you. It is important that you keep meeting regularly with your mentor also. Take any opportunities that come your way to encourage your church’s participation in the work of Servants or ministry to the poor in general. Staying involved with the Servants community through local events, prayer groups, email and phone contact is expected and useful to enable the long-term impact of your experience to consolidate itself.

                                          Colin ConroyServants Cambodia Intern
                                          I learned a lot during my month-long internship with the Servants Cambodia team. I learned about poverty and brokenness and living in cramped conditions, yes, but also about community, about celebration, about depending on God and about the importance of language learning (even during a very short visit). Nearly all of what I learned was only possible because I was living in the community, as part of a family. If I had been living somewhere else, in a comfortable flat or hotel, and visiting every day, I think I would have come away with a very different, and far more incomplete picture of life in an Asian poor community.