|Lauren Slater shares laughter and hugs with a group of children during her month-long stay in Ghana in July.|
|Jonathan Cunliffe checks out the health and well-being of a young child during a clinic in Ghana.|
|Erin King takes her turn at the microphone in a training session for the summer interns at partner Radio Worldwide's facilities in Leeds, U.K.|
|James Morrison has a chance to practice his broadcasting skills interning in Leeds.|
|Shogo Matsuki and Ben Vander Plas work on a solar chimney during their summer at the HCJB Global Technology Center in Indiana.|
|Ellie Brecunier discusses ideas for improving social media opportunities for HCJB Global with intern Bryan Cole at the Ministry Service Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His twin brother, Brandon, was an intern in Ghana.|
|Emily Anderson, Andra DeJong and Hannah Larsen-Sorterup get ready to observe a surgery at Hospital Vozandes-Shell in Ecuador.|
|Michael Stück helps Ecuadorians excavate a pipeline for the new clean water system in the village of Lirio San José during his internship in the area.|
|Brandon Cole pauses to enjoy the antics of a young child during one of the medical clinics in Ghana. The students worked at clinics set up in seven different sites, seeing a total of 1,480 patients.|
|Laura Torgerson enjoys interacting with children in Lirio San José. The summer interns held a vacation Bible school for 70 children in the community.|
|Tiffani Lumbatis uses her nursing skills to help a woman attending a clinic in Ghana. The group of interns saw an average of more than 200 patients a day during their clinic work in the country.|
The bar is set high when you've named your summer internship program "Eternal Impact." But that's exactly what David and Cathi Uhles named it—the HCJB Global Eternal Impact Summer Internship Program.
Linking up in Leeds, England, the five interns there learned about radio programming. Others spent their summer sweating under Ghana's sun, shoveling dirt in a highland community in Ecuador, or ministering in Spain or the U.S. Altogether, HCJB Global hosted, mentored and befriended 25 interns in six locales in five countries.
"I wanted the interns to grow in their walk with God, learn and improve their radio skills, especially using radio to engage those far from God, and have a great cross-cultural experience," summarized David Uhles, who directs ministries in the mission's Europe/Eurasia Region. "I believe God let us see each of these goals fulfilled, leaving us with the desire to continue this far into the future."
It was the interns themselves who set the bar high in Ghana where Curt Cole deemed them "exemplary" (including his own son). At an orientation early on, Cole had urged the five interns in Accra to merge into God's work among Ghanaian believers. The goal, he said, was to enter and depart seamlessly for a less disruptive involvement with the African church. Cole, an HCJB Global vice president in charge of the region, and his wife, Karen, guided the group's spiritual formation while Sheila Leech, vice president of international healthcare, handled the logistics.
Writing of the interns' work at an orphanage, Leech wrote, "Wonderful day at the Children of the Light project in Aburi! We screened about 90 children. We treated many of them, and we played with all of them!"
"Some of the coolest things for the students were being able to see patients and diagnose different illnesses," added Curt Cole. "They saw a lot of malaria and high blood pressure. Not a lot of AIDS, but there was some."
In Ecuador, Hannah Larsen-Sorterup, one of six interns in Quito, Ecuador, blogged about everything from a too-rough pedicure that put her foot in bandages to a spiritual spanking while painting a hospital wall. A Baptist university student, she enjoyed the lively Latino worship services at a church in Quito called Dios es Fiel (God is faithful).
"Although you definitely won't see me dancing in church anytime soon, I think that getting to experience the worship of other Christians gives me a new perspective on my own Christian life and what really constitutes worship," she wrote.
Seeing ministry differently was the topic that Shogo Matsuki addressed in a prayer letter to donors. He was one of seven interns working alongside engineers at the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Ind. "I used to think that being an engineer, building houses and facilities may be the only way to use my engineering education for Christ," he wrote.
However, observing the technologically savvy people around him, he said, "Their skills are used in many media-related technologies such as antennas and radios. I am encouraged that God can use anything for His plan, and even I can take part as a college student."
While eternal impact is not a measurable goal, other comments about the interns' work speak well of their commitment. "They were more concerned about how the patient was doing—both medically and spiritually—and not just about dispensing medicine," a coordinator from Ghana partner Theovision told Cole afterwards. The partner said he'd never seen physicians consult with patients at such length.
Nonplussed by the Leeds group, Danny Isenring of host agency Radio Worldwide observed the "high standard of the broadcasts, especially the news service.... One of the lecturers thought that the station he listened to was a local BBC station—and then he realized that he was listening to the student radio station."
In addition to this, the interns' flexibility and willingness to learn impressed their mentors and the local partners. The exchange was bilateral as observed by Laura Torgerson after digging trenches with the people of Lirio San José in Ecuador's highlands. "I realized that we probably learned more from these people than they learned from us," she said.
The pre-internship expectations of one intern seemed quite reachable: "To get more comfortable in front of a microphone and to meet people from other cultures." Afterwards, another Leeds intern had raised the bar, feeling "inspired to believe God for more."
There is a cost to effectively ministering, whether it means poring over accounting reports as Andra DeJong did in Ecuador or rising at 4:30 a.m. for a three-hour drive to a Ghanaian village. Even playtime can cost something as medical intern Jonathan Cunliffe learned.
In an unguarded moment at Children of the Light orphanage, he playfully lifted one child up in the air, "which then led to the exhausting task of lifting all of them up in the air while the rest tried their best to be picked next by chanting, 'Sir, me! Sir, me!'"
The inward pilgrimage was a vital component of the summer internships. Reflecting on one morning's devotional time, one of the Leeds interns, Edith Dotson, later blogged that "as we talked about it and referenced our reading, My Heart, Christ's Home, I began to realize my own daily standing with the Lord." With unflinching transparency before her readers, Dotson continued, "How can I be such a bad friend and servant to Him at times? Yet He is always there waiting. Bless His name for being faithful, forgiving and kind."
The issue of Christian servanthood was pressed upon Larsen-Sorterup when assigned the job of spackling, priming and painting a wall at Hospital Vozandes-Shell. She later recounted how God corrected her on what she deemed her "grumpy" attitude. She chronicled her thoughts:
God: "Hannah, my Son is here right now being treated, so why aren't you working as if He's here?"
Hannah: "God, I don't see Him."
God: "Open your eyes, Hannah. Who do you think that little girl crying is? Or the mother with her child? Or the man on the stretcher? Or the baby struggling for breath?"
Hannah: "They don't look like Jesus to me."
God: "Hannah, they are the least of these, and what you do for them, you do for me. What more do I need to say?"