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Summer on Mission

Have you ever spent a week with a group of young adults who are fully committed to Jesus? There is just something special about the energy of that group of people. Watching them worship is a joy; they easily offer prayer to one another and listen well during teaching sessions. They also know how to have fun, enjoy having conversations, and are quick to laugh.

I get to spend a week with a group like that each year, in late May/early June, as we welcome our interns for the summer. And it is one of my favorite weeks of the year! This year, we have thirty-five interns serving with us all summer. We have twenty interns from the USA and fifteen from the countries where JV serves. They all stepped out in faith as they worked through our application process and asked people to partner prayerfully and financially with them so they could serve.

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Our internship kicks off with a two-day team-building event called the Amazing Race. Our interns have probably never been with everyone they’ll be serving alongside, so this is the first time they all meet in person. And we want teams to bond well so that they can serve with unity all summer long. The Amazing Race is designed to help teams do this.

This year, the Amazing Race started at Prague’s airport, where teams all received a jigsaw puzzle. Only one team member could touch the pieces, but they were blindfolded and completely reliant on their teammates’ instructions. When the jigsaw puzzle was complete, it revealed a code that had to be cracked to give the location of the next challenge. And off ran each team to the center of Prague when they worked that out!

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We organize the Amazing Race with various challenges so that each person participating has a chance to shine. The variety also means each person has the opportunity to be vulnerable with their weaknesses, learn how to ask for help, and rely on the strength of their teammates. Some of the challenges also helped prepare interns for summer as they had to write a grocery list for a mission team training or work out song lyrics in another language. Inevitably, most teams will have conflict at some point as they vie to figure out the best way to complete a challenge or the quickest way to get to a new location. But that’s an important part of learning to be a team together too.

After one teammate on each team spent 60 seconds in a waterfall on Friday evening, it was time to run to the finish line! The teams ended the Race at our Malenovice Conference Center, and after a good night’s sleep, we were ready to dive into Intern Training!

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This four-day training conference is designed to equip all our interns for their summer. There are sessions on the ministry of JV, how to serve well as a team (like teaching on personalities, conflict, and culture), and skills they’ll need during the summer (sharing the gospel, resting well, leading games, working with translation, etc). There are also evening sessions with worship and a main talk crafted to point us all to our Good Father before we head into busy summers of serving.

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Throughout all this time, interns are led by the staff they’ll be serving with all summer long. As ministry in each country looks a little different, this is a vital part of the process as staff can help interns apply each session to their particular context. 

On the last night, we have communion together before we pray over each team, commissioning them into the good works God has prepared for them this summer. It is the sweetest time as we ask God to bless and use us for his glory.

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As you read this,  the interns are already serving in their countries, preparing for camps, and meeting up with young people. They’ll spend their summers serving local churches across this region, helping with many of the 120+ evangelistic camps we’ll organize, and telling young people about a God who loves them and made a way for them to come back home. 

My hope for our interns has always been that wherever they go after serving with Josiah Venture, wherever God calls them next, whatever they do with the rest of their days, they are different because of what they saw God do in them and through them during their summer with us. And I just cannot wait to see what God does with this group of interns—this summer, and for the rest of their lives, as they live in his love and on mission with him.



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