Towards the end of 2021, after much prayer and thought, i58 began an internship program. This program is based in Greece, but includes travel to other countries.
We have seen many people return for a 2nd and even 3rd time of short-term volunteering because of a deep connection with the work on Lesvos. The i58 Internship Program is being established out of the desire to offer something more to young people who are committed to growing personally, have a long-term interest in missions, and are looking for ways to build their ‘tool-belt’ for ministry.
In this article, we give details about the internship program, as well as hear from some of our current interns.
We see the need for leaders to respond to the needs in Europe and the Middle East as conflict continues to cause displaced people. Our goal is to develop leaders that are capable, responsible, trusted, and know the language. They will be able to lead teams and set up programs where there are none.
Following are a few requirements we have for those interested in the i58 Internship Program:
The term requirement is 12 months, if a one-year visa can be obtained. If the interns are working in 3-month terms in Greece and three months elsewhere, there is a 15-month requirement (Three (3-month) terms in Greece minimum).
Interns will have the opportunity to serve in various roles in a camp in Greece, as well as explore opportunities in other parts of Greece and other countries.
A few opportunities that interns may invest in are children’s ministry, women’s ministry, teaching English, and serving in a specific role in camp. This will be a hands-on, learn-and-immediately-implement-the-skills, training program. The internship also includes some schooling at the Bible school in Athens; this helps many of the interns gain a 1-year student visa.
“God has been showing me the family of God, the Church. I’ve never before experienced its diversity and connectedness despite significant cultural differences and languages, until this internship.
Also throughout this longer term, and sometimes hard work, it’s made me realize how much of my motivation and “why” has to come from God, and how unsustainable it is without Him dwelling in me.
One of the most stretching things so far is being given assignments in other countries (Romania/Ukraine, Turkey, etc.) without much instruction. Kind of a “You’re responsible for how fruitful your time is there,” type of assignment. It required us to figure stuff out, and take the initiative ourselves.
A few things led me to do the internship:
There are many exciting things that have happened, but here’s just a few:
This internship is only halfway through at the moment, and I would definitely say it’s been a worthwhile experience.”
“God has already taught me so much through this internship program. I have often let fear of failure or what other people think of me cripple me and control my decisions. I am learning to live with trust in God as my motivation instead of fear. When I rest in the fact that God is my Father, I am OK with making mistakes and being vulnerable as I follow Him. After all, that is the only way to grow!
The internship program is not a rigidly structured outline. It doesn't have a list of things we need to accomplish by the end of the year and a step-by-step guide on how to do them. One of the most stretching things about the internship for me has been that lack of structure. But the process of figuring out what to do next has been crucial to building our team, leadership skills, and trust in God.
On the other hand, the most exciting thing about being an intern is the uncertainty. I don't know where we are going to be a couple months from now. Will we be on Lesvos? In Romania? In Ukraine? In Turkey? Who knows. We have this incredible opportunity to completely depend on God to show us what He wants us to do. And it's exciting, because God has always directed us in the past, and I know He will again.
Before I decided to do this internship, I knew I wanted to do something in long–term missions, but I didn't really know how to start. I wasn't sure how or where I wanted to serve, and I felt like I had a lot of growing to do personally and spiritually. As much as I wanted to go somewhere long–term, I didn't feel equipped to serve well. When I got asked to be part of the internship, a year specifically geared towards personal growth and experience on the mission field, it seemed like God had custom-designed it exactly for me.
This internship is not a program to make you an effective missionary, or a great leader, or an accomplished, disciplined person. Rather, I see it as a year of opportunity to let God reveal Himself to you and mold you into what He wants you to be. It's a chance to step outside of your comfort zone and see what happens when you trust God for everything. It's an opportunity to make a difference in peoples’ lives as you allow God to change yours.”
“Looking back over the last five months, I am in awe. I am in awe of who God is and all the amazing ways He has been showing Himself to me through this internship. Seeing His faithfulness, His love, His miracles and timing is so exciting and motivating. It’s also been very growing and stretching in ways I never would have guessed.
One of the most stretching things for me has simply been learning to trust God no matter what. One way specifically was with my visa. In order to stay in Greece for more than three months, you need a visa. As interns, we all applied for student visas. Unfortunately, when I applied in November, I was denied mine. I began to question if God really wanted me to do the internship. I went ahead and left with the team, praying God would clarify things for me in the very near future. Over the next three months I felt an incredible peace that only God could give.
In January, I returned to the states to reapply for my visa. I remember specifically praying that I would only receive my visa knowing it was an absolute miracle from God. And that’s exactly what happened. The interview did not go very well, and complications came up concerning dates with the college. It looked very uncertain as to whether I would receive my visa. About a week and a half later I received a phone call from the Greek Consulate. It was on a Saturday when they were not open! They said that they were going to issue me my visa! It was an absolute miracle. Seeing God work through the impossible, showed me that, yes, this is exactly where He wants me and that I can fully trust in Him.
The highlight of this internship for me has been being part of a team that is unified and fully committed to serving God. As a team, you learn your strengths and weaknesses. You learn to work with different personalities and ideas. Each person on the team adds an important aspect. I have personally been inspired by each one, and it has been an honor to work alongside them. We’ve made many good memories through our team training, day-to-day life in Greece, linguistic classes, an exploratory trip to Turkey, and the latest–living and working in Romania. As of right now we don’t know what the next couple months hold for us, but we are trusting God to open the right doors at the right time.”
“It's April 9th and I'm in Suceava, Romania at a wonderful place called home. This new home is one of many. Home for me means family, community, food, and a place to live. I came here knowing next to nothing about what we would be doing. I had no idea of when I would return to Lesvos, (another home) when I left on March 3rd.
This is normal life being an intern. People ask what our plans are, and I respond, “What plans?”
Isaiah 58:11 says "The Lord will guide you continually...". Is there anything better than to be guided by God? For sure, to be guided CONTINUALLY by the One who created us, the One who loves us and won't stop, the One who gives us freely ALL we need! I get overwhelmed just thinking about all that God has provided for me in the past few months. What a splendid life to live having King Jesus as your best friend.
The hosts that welcomed us into their home (mine now) is an answer to prayer. The favor from God we have gained here is what we asked for, the opportunities we have to serve alongside people whose hearts are after God, is incredible. All within the past few weeks.
Our internship started last November and this is only a glimpse of what God has been doing.
Of course there are times of trial, things I don't understand, circumstances that make me want to shout and yell to give up and punch things. But the Father, His gentle loving presence is ALWAYS there for me when I look for Him. God is revealing things in my life I didn't know were there. Selfish thought patterns, beliefs I believed because I thought they were correct, the amount of trust I don't have.
Want to know more about the internship? Sign up. Books, mentors, accountability, traveling, language study, leadership and good discussions are all a big part of our year.”