The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few. Jesus tells us to pray earnestly for those laborers who will be sent out into the harvest. Being a laborer in God’s harvest is no small thing, and the training for such a work is rigorous -- just look at Jesus’ intensive education of his disciples! Laborers for God’s kingdom don’t just come from powerful places. Instead we see that Jesus taught fishermen and Paul reminds his Corinthian base that not many of them were “wise, mighty and noble” at birth (1 Cor. 1:26). Our team is not just American. It’s been a great privilege to watch God call laborers from Latin America, to serve their own people.
We do recognize our responsibility to build up these laborers to carry out the vision given to us in God’s Word. In seeking this end in El Salvador, we have developed an internship program that accomplishes a number of goals: one) it empowers young people to learn God’s Word so that they understand what the mission is; two) it equips them with practical skills that will help them to serve their society in ways it desperately needs and three) it provides for their needs while they do it. In January 2017 we launched the first year of this program with three high school graduates: Orlando, Angelica and Willian.
The internship program has two parts. During year one, they work on G.O.D.’s El Salvador campus in a variety of facilitated ministry opportunities including agriculture, education and youth development. During this time they are enrolled in a Bible correspondence class from the Institute for G.O.D. Interns live on campus, enabling them to fully immerse themselves in a study of the Word among a community of believers. After this initial year, if the students desire to continue, they then have the opportunity to commit to another four years in the program, in which they would develop their capacity in a particular area. Our hope is that the exposure they received in their initial year would give them enough information to decide what they would like to focus on. We offer further training in ethical building, food production, education, youth empowerment, public health, job creation and women’s empowerment. Over the course of these four years, students will complete a certification in Biblical Studies. So long as students show faithfulness and diligence in their work and study, developing in character as well as skills, they will have the opportunity to accept a full-time position with G.O.D. Latin America!
Recently I spoke with Willian, who has just completed the first year of his internship program. Willian was first introduced to our ministry in 2011 when he took guitar lessons from team member Rafael Reyes, and subsequently attended Bible studies and youth conferences. Reflecting on his first year, he said: “For me, the experience in the internship is a great blessing. From the moment I began, I knew that God would change my life and that something great was beginning for me. For many years I have been looking for an experience like this, and it has been the best decision I have made, because God called me to do this. Every day I dedicate myself to seeking more of God, with faith. It’s a benefit also to have teachers who are teaching us the word of God. At the beginning of the internship, it was challenging because it brought out in me a lot of selfishness, and I was not humble, but as time went on, God has corrected and taught me. God has helped me very much to change my way of thinking, and to act according to his word and to live it, every day.”
As interns live on campus, they are challenged to implement God’s Word within their household and community in a healthy way. Cooking, cleaning, shopping and managing their space and time are all opportunities to live out what they’ve learned in their study of the Word. Willian said of the overall experience, “According to our culture, each person has to try to survive alone. But the word of God teaches us that we should take care of each other, and love each other.”
While initially interns struggled to find a sense of unity, at the end of the year they each - Willian, Orlando and Angelica - expressed in their own words that they had become for each other, and for Lorena and Antonio, a family, united by their shared vocation as they concerned themselves for one another’s interests above their own (Philippians 2:4).
As Willian and Orlando continue on in their internship, and Angelica takes a semester off, we are now processing the applications of our next round of potential interns. The enthusiasm of these first three is moving. They are making a conscious decision to follow the Lord and to give their lives to learning God’s word and practicing it. Join us in praying for them as they embark on this journey, and as they grow in their process of being discipled by Jesus.