Beth Staley’s personal testimony about her internship here in South Africa.
Life as an Intern
The thought of internships don’t usually bring about happy thoughts. No one gets overly excited about being an intern. It usually has a negative connotation to it that means you will be a slave to basically everyone for this period of your life, or at least until the new guy shows up. If you watch TV shows, you know that the interns are the ones who really don’t do anything besides get coffee and get yelled at while they mess everything up.Thankfully, I can say that my internship to South Africa wasn’t like that at all, although I did have to use my new ability to drive a stick shift to chauffeur MK’s around. You’d be surprised at how many ways there are to get lost in a city like PE.
Life as an intern in South Africa is great. And by great, I mean it will be the most productive, challenging, growing, and fun period of your life if you have the right attitude. I personally loved every second of it, and it wasn’t even the exciting things that I loved the most. Sure, jumping (or being thrown) off the highest bungy bridge in the world is one of the coolest experiences ever, although it’s is close tie with shark diving and seeing great whites right in front of you. Yes, the sound of my voice was incredibly similar to that of a two year old when I rode the ostrich, and having the background of your phone be a selfie with a rhinoceros is pretty cool. Add in all the beautiful scenery, the gorgeous beach and stunning mountains, minus the ever-constant wind, and you have a pretty exciting place to visit. However, more than all of the excitement and adventure that went on while I was down here, if you asked me what my favorite part of South Africa was, I would not say any of those.
First, I would say that spending time with the missionary families was one of my favorite parts. I learned so much from them all, both by what they said and by their example. If you are considering going on a missions trip, South Africa has some of the best missionaries in the world. You will fall in love with the families there, and even with the chaos that ensues of having twelve kids running around everywhere. If you’re a girl, Amy, Bekah, and Corli are some of the sweetest, wisest missionary wives that I know, and going to South Africa is like getting three blessings in one, because you can learn different things from all three of them. I went to South Africa as an intern and gained life-long friends in the process.
My next favorite thing was the fact that I had an abundance of opportunities to be actively involved in the ministry in South Africa. Not only did I get to see the beginning stages of a ministry that I believe God is going to do great things with, but I also had the opportunity to take part in it. There wasn’t a week that went by where I had nothing to do. Whether it was working on formatting the Xhosa Bible for the Logos program, designing postcards, assembling packets of invitations to pass out, going on visitation, teaching at young ladies meetings, singing specials or teaching Sunday School, there was never a lack of things to do. I’m sure if there was, the same missionaries mentioned above would have thought of something to keep me occupied. 🙂
There is also a great opportunity to use the internship to grow personally. I always had a book to read and write a report about, which was not necessarily ministry, but it helped me in my own personal, spiritual growth. I learned the importance of discipline in the little things in life. Language school helped me to realize the challenges of learning a new language and how to go about it, and teaching the young ladies helped me to get over speaking to groups. Experiencing a minute form of culture shock helped me to realize what I made fun of people for when they visited Peru is not actually all that fun. Practically, I learned a lot about cooking when I had to cook a meal every week for a family of eight. I learned how to drive a stick shift, and how to get lost while doing so. I learned that beauty without a bathroom is vain, especially when you are driving down a beautiful road that lasts forever. 🙂
Most of all, I learned that sometimes God puts you in a place that was so right that all you can do is thank Him for it. For me, South Africa was that place, and it will always have a special place in my heart, even though I am banned from returning at the moment because of visa issues. I am so thankful to Him for putting me in South Africa, for providing for me, and for surrounding me with just the people I needed to help me grow. Maybe South Africa is that place for you too, and I encourage you to go and see how you can be involved in the ministry there. You never know what God could do!