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Internships With Our Teams In The West

Short Term Internship PhotoEach year we accept a small number of interns to journey and learn with our Western-based intentional Christian communities.  Currently most of those are hosted in inner city Vancouver, BC by the Servants Vancouver community.  However, if you are interested in interning with the Southall, London community contact us to see if there are any openings coming up.

Your  internship with Servants will probably be quite different to any other you have experienced before.  This is because the emphasis of your time will not be so much on what you do but on what you learn. The objectives of a community exposure with us are usually as follows:

  • Consider God’s heart for the poor and what it means for your life.
  • Gain an understanding through participation and readings of what it means to live incarnationally amongst the urban poor in a Western context.
  • Experience life within an intentional Christian community including daily and weekly rhythms of prayer, meals and fellowship
  • Increase your understanding of Servants and perhaps discern together with us whether God is calling you to be a part of this movement.

The intention is that for a few weeks you make a deep connection with those who live in the forgotten corners of Western cities- people who struggle with addictions and mental health problems, who are marginalized and long-term unemployed, who have recently immigrated or are without legal status – 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 and vibrant  inner city urban community.  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 new environment and living in community with others, you will sometimes have struggles and frustrations.  Your emotions may erupt in ways that call into question what you have never questioned before. You may face things surfacing in you that 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 will live within our intentional Christian communities in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and Southall, West London and a large part of the impact of this internship will be from your interactions with our neighbours and the team.

    You will be provided a Formation manual as a daily guide to assist you in ways of looking beyond the surface of what is happening the neighbourhood 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 will also provide 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 regularly for morning and evening prayers, meals and other activities. You will join in fully in our rhythms of life. For more information see the Internship Info pack.

        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.

        We are looking for applicants who have a spiritual maturity allowing them to face difficulties and learn from the experience. In part this means that we generally do not accept applicants younger than 20 for internships with our Western teams. 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).

        To apply for an internship with either the Servants Vancouver or Southall teams, please complete the following steps:

          1. Submit The Internship Application Form: Complete our online 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.

              Good preparation prior to the start of one's internship is essential to making this experience as valuable as possible. Even before arrival, it's important to begin engaging with issues of poverty and injustice in the world and your personal response as a follower of Jesus. We will also provide training in how to respectfully engage with a culture that is different than your own.

                Required Preparation:

                • Read one of the following books: The Irresistible Revolution or Community and Growth.
                • For Vancouver: Read the Servants Vancouver Community Guide and Internship Info Pack. Both will be sent to you by your Servants mentor.
                • For Vancouver: Go to the Servants Vancouver page and watch the videos about the team and neighborhood. You can also go to YouTube and find numerous documentaries about the team's neighborhood by searching for "Downtown Eastside".
                • For Southall: Watch this video about being homeless in Southall.
                • 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.
                  • Keep a journal in which you can jot down the thoughts, feelings and prayers that arise as you prepare for your internship.
                  • 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.

                  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.
                • 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 in your country.

                    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.

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