I have a confession to make. I am an introvert. If you knew me you might or might not believe that’s true. I can hide it well. I enjoy people and conversations. I enjoy spending time with them. But it wears me out. Especially if they are extroverts. This may be exasperated by having three little ones who love me so much they never want me to be alone.
But I sure do love alone time.
One of the things we do each year is host interns to come and spend time in North Africa, experiencing life on the field. It’s usually great, but the more I add to my own family, the more I realize I just don’t have the time to get out with them and show them around etc… but even more than that. There’s the fishbowl reality. Ugh! They get to see and experience it ALL. The problem with this is I am not perfect. I know I’m sure you are shocked by that statement. They see the real me, they see it all. Yes the bed head, the whiny kids, the stressed out mom, the botched meal that wasn’t ready till after the kid’s bed time, driving which usually involves only a few near death experiences, the frustrations between spouses. Worst of all they see us get ready for church on Sunday morning! I hate that part! I wish I could somehow just keep it together for 4 weeks, just four weeks. 11 month olds don’t stand for that.
As imperfect as I am, I realize they can walk away saying one of two things. If God put her here, surely I will be fine. or God is pretty awesome to use such ordinary people. I hope they choose the latter. Because growing up I was always under the impression that ministry people were of a different breed and surely that was not me. When I was in college I had the chance to visit a family in Peru. He is now my Pastor and I will never forget when he told me “Gretchen, I think you have what it takes” That changed my whole perspective on ministry. I realized for the first time “Hmmm maybe God can use me in missions”. I saw the bed head people, though I am pretty sure they had it together more than I do so far. Hopefully our interns will be encouraged by the fact that it’s definitely not by our own strength. Usually they end up being a tremendous blessing to us, usually when they come ready to learn.
So as much of an introvert as I am and it overwhelms me to have eyes watching it all. I pray this makes a difference in their life, and they leave here thinking “God can use me” I know he has used me in spite of myself. And as a friend of mine stated. He uses us through our weaknesses. I’ve always heard that the best teachers are those who understand what it’s like to struggle. Perfection never helped anyone. Except Christ, and he was enough for all of us.
So go ahead try an internship, But go for more than a week. you’ll probably even get to see some pretty good bed head. especially if you come to North Africa.