Posts in Immersion Internship – 2016

A place called Home.

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016, Nikkie Brink

It’s a strange feeling packing up and leaving a place so familiar yet a place that you’ve only been for 12 weeks. A place where you’ve laughed, cried, grown, ate, slept and lived, home, a place I now call home. For someone who’s only ever called West Michigan her home, Zambia didn’t take long to take on the same status. I’ve realized home is what you make it, home is where the Lord wants you and has you. The expression goes “there’s no place like home”, which I agree with, but I’d like to add something, home isn’t always one place. As ‘The Elijah House’ emptied of most of our new family, my heart ached for the journey to begin again. I’m not ready for this to end, this temporary home doesn’t feel the same with out the all the members of our family in it. And that’s exactly it, moving out doesn’t change what we’ve gained. The Lord had this planned specifically for the time that it happened and it’s time for the next part of what the Lord has up his sleeve.

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This place that is so different than my first home yet instantly became another home. The work of my Heavenly Father amazes me. The way he adapts us to certain circumstances and brings us half way across the world, to the unfamiliar, to bring us closer to him. Makes me wonder how many homes I’ll have before my heavenly home. It also gives me such a comfort and peace that no matter where I am the Lord dwells with me.

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The growth in our eclectic family wouldn’t be contained to the walls of The Elijah House, Livingstone, Zambia or even Africa. This experience has grown me in more ways than I could have imagined, some I’m sure that I don’t even realize. And we as a family got the privilege of witnessing each others growth over this winter. Growth that undoubtably could have happened without each other but how cool that God chose to bring us together do make it happen. We’ve all heard the same teachings, mostly been around the same ministry and programs yet we’ve all grown in such different ways, specific to us, all at the same time!

“Far be it from me to not believe,
Even when my eyes can’t see.
And this mountain that’s in front of me,
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea.”

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God brought me to Africa with this song and he’s sending me home with the same one. Going home to Michigan for the next few months seem like a mountain. A mountain I have confidence that God will throw into the sea. I’ve certainly had some mountains in the last few months that I wasn’t confident would be moved, but mountains that WERE MOVED! Praise the Lord. As I process through what exactly happened during EXP I can’t wait to jump in to the next season ahead. I’m fully embracing whatever God’s got next for me, because no matter the hill or the valley they have their purpose.

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What a whirlwind the last 12 weeks have been, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

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NikkiBrink ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nikkie Brink • 2016 International Immersion Intern

Spiritual Growth

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016

The Elijah Experience has been such a great, amazing and exciting journey of knowing myself and finding my identity in Christ. I learned a lot about God, myself, community, missions, ministry and prayer. It was good beating the drum about AIDS in Livingstone. It stretched me in new ways and helped me rely on God for courage, which was just amazing.

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Not all times were okay, sometimes we were given challenges that were out of my comfort zone but at the end of it all, I discovered that I created relationships with my fellow interns out of the same challenges and it brought me back to the importance of living in community.

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Through this internship, I have discovered my spiritual gift and am so excited to put it into action. We went for an outreach to Lesotho and in as much as it was interesting, it wasn’t just an adventure, but people’s lives were touched and many gave their lives to Christ. That really pleased me. My greatest highlight is my continual spiritual growth and I wish the same for everyone.

JaneMwiinga ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Mwiinga • 2016 International Immersion Intern

True Identity

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

And as Elijah confesses his fear, God calls him back to his true identity.

During my time with the Elijah Experience (EXP), I can identify a lot with Elijah in this story. For so much of my past, I have been controlled by fear. Although I have been in relationship with God in the past, my choices often reflected my fears.

In the beginning part of the summer, God reminded me that the core of my identity is in being His beloved. He freed me from shame I hadn’t recognized that I had. In Lesotho, He called me out on deep parts of my identity that I need to surrender – parts of my identity that are rooted in fear.

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Throughout this summer/winter, God has been calling me out of fear and to the identity He intends for me. Just as the falls can change so drastically in three months yet still in essence remain the same, so God is doing with my soul. As God calls Elijah out of fear, He calls him into relationship and into mission. My perspective change has shown me parts of my identity and life choices that are not in line with God’s heart. As intimidating as it can be to return to the States and the familiar setting of my old habits, it is also exciting because God has promised to give me the bravery to follow through with my decisions and to pour down an overflowing blessing when I choose to follow His heart despite opposition.

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Many people probably have the question: “are you glad you did the Elijah Experience?” Without a doubt. It has probably been the most spiritually challenging time of my life yet, but challenge brings growth. It has not been the growth I was expecting going into this, but it is exactly the growth God had planned for me from the beginning of this. Thankfully, His wisdom is so much better than mine.

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KatherineBaldwin ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Baldwin • 2016 International Immersion Intern

The Lord is Faithful

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016

My entire experience, summed up in three to four paragraphs will only be giving a glimpse into how vastly amazing this adventure has been. I am so thankful for all of the ways that God has grown, challenged, and cared for me. When I decided to leave for this adventure to Africa, I knew that I would have to allow my heart and mind to be in full surrender to God and give Him a chance. As I stepped onto the South African Airways plane for an eighteen-hour flight, I committed to having faith in all God showed me on this trip. Twelve weeks later, as our time comes to a close, I am amazed at the ways that God has revealed himself to me through His faithfulness to my boldness and trust. My hope is to carry this trust as I go back to the States.

Poetice and EMIZ are transforming lives in Livingstone, Zambia. Their focus is not only among the community and in outreaches, but also in each of us that have lived here for the last three months. When I decided to be a part of the internship I had the expectation that I would be constantly doing ministry with vulnerable and abused women. I thought my main focus would be helping restore girls who were a part of Girls Revolution. I loved building relationships with many of these beautiful young women who are striving for purity and want to learn about Jesus. Every Thursday we would sit in a small group of about twelve girls and learn about purity. They shared their stories openly and asked tough questions in order to seek wisdom for their day to day living, but this was not my focus.

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When the days began to turn into weeks and I thought we were getting into a rhythm of ministry and discipleship, we were challenged again by change. Different short-term missions would come work alongside of us in ministry and we utilized the extra hands available by creating special events for the children around our community. Towards the end of summer, the interns had an incredible opportunity to lead and facilitate one of these groups. Reach for Life camp was incredible as we had 100 teens from five different schools spend time getting to know the Lord so much more. Some of these teens had heard about purity from Girls Revolution as well as our Beat the Drum program we facilitated in July. Beat the Drum incorporated awareness to the dangers of HIV/AIDS and incorporated biblical principles to living a life of abstinence. God transformed lives and made himself audibly, physically, and mindfully present to so many of us. However, these ministries and intentional times with individuals was not my focus.

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Discipleship was one of the richest aspects to this internship. Throughout our time in Africa, we have had leaders from within the ministry and across North America teach us, in depth, about the Lord. Our mornings were dedicated to these rich teachings and learning more about the fullness of the Bible and God’s promises to us. God pursued me. God chased me back into communion with Him and began to show me how much He truly loves me. He began to refine me by fire so that I could begin to feel the freedom of His friendship. God feels my hurts and He has been waiting for me to release these hidden pains in my heart. I am God’s ministry and His grace is always available, I just need to truly receive it.

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God made me His focus. He wanted to redefine my relationship with Him and show me how He is my guiding friend. I wouldn’t change these last three months for the world. I loved every moment and I experienced the beauty of building relationship with cool Christians. 😉 I am sad to be leaving, but incredibly stoked for the adventure ahead. The Lord is faithful.

onnadrake ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Onna Drake • 2016 International Immersion Intern

My Roller Coaster Ride

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016

I cannot believe that this internship has come to an end! What an incredible summer of learning, being stretched, and growing!

It’s hard to put into words what exactly the Lord has taught me, or what I have experienced here. From living in a cross-cultural community, to traveling across southern Africa, or practicing 12 spiritual disciplines to draw us closer to the living God, every experience has taught me something I hope to bring home with me.

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From the very beginning, I was so excited to live cross-culturally in a community of believers. We all got to know each other in depth by founding our relationship on a common desire to glorify Christ in all that we do. Little did I know the amount of challenges that come from living with 15 other people. But it was in these moments of uncomfortableness and frustrations that we learned to address conflict in a loving godly way together as we continued to strive for unity.

I loved all the teachings we had this summer! We dove into so many topics in depth that challenged the way we viewed the world and God’s mission. My perceptions of justice and mission has been radically shifted, and God has planted a passion in me for seeing his people come back to him. God wants to be with his people! He longs to restore and bring justice to brokenness and poverty around the world. And if we have truly encountered the living God and believe that this is his mission, it shapes the way we see everything else in the world.

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I feel like my heart has been on a roller coaster. There have been days and experiences where I have felt like I was on the mountaintop, and other days where I’ve felt like I was in the desert. I have felt so joyful and on fire for God, but he has also brought me through periods of silence and confusion. The amazing thing is that either way, I have learned something. God has used every single emotion and situation to teach me something. And it hasn’t been easy. But it has taught me to trust God at ALL times, and to surrender my heart to him. I want to be the one to control my own spiritual journey, and I want to be the one who knows what’s going on in my heart. I’ve learned that there is so much more rest and freedom in releasing that control to the Father. There is so much rest in smiling back at him and trusting that he holds my heart.

I am so thankful for every experience this internship has brought. I am thankful for the amazing people I’ve met, and precious moments spent with the Lord. I am thankful for my Heavenly Father who has loved me unconditionally through every moment and doubt. Going back home will be hard. But it’s comforting to know that it will just be another season that God brings me through to deepen my roots in Him.

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EmilyProude ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Proude • 2016 International Immersion Intern

My Amazing Experience

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016

My experience during the internship was amazing. The lessons changes my perspective on a lot of things. Going through the 12 disciplines form the book Celebrations of Disciplines added to me spiritual growth. Being a part of the different ministries that EMIZ has was a blessing. I was also honored to be a part of Beat the Drum Zambia for the first time. We also had outreach in Lesotho where we ministered to different people. I have loved my time here!

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MumbaMwape ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mumba Mwape • 2016 International Immersion Intern

Chaotic Wonder

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016

How can one sum up a whole three months of chaotic wonder? These few months have been one of learning and going with the flow. I always I have my own ideas and expectations but God was quick to crush those in the first couple weeks, which definitely hurt a lot. But I know that He had to tear down my wrong ideas to build me up with things of Him.

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I knew I would be taken outside of my comfort zone and I know that God has given me the gift of adapting to new areas. It’s the situations that get me all caught up and frozen. Doing programs like Beat the Drum was great and they did train us well. Of course things come up and schools will change their mind at times, so the organization can be lost. What was challenging for me was to adapt to the new situation of the new disorganized situation that we then found ourselves. I think through that couple week I saw a glimpse of something that could be in me. I am not good at connecting with middle age teens but it doesn’t mean I can’t get better and grow in that.

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Before I came I was hoping to be with the really young kids because my heart just burned with love for them. Thankfully there were times in Choma andLesotho that I got to spend with them. I would’ve liked to have even more time to spend with them, but again that was my own hopeful expectation.

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The experience with the house of 16 people was so much better than expected. It went from difficult living to better in the middle and difficult towards the end. I’m glad to have the opportunity to know what it’s like to live in that way with so many others, but I’m also glad that it’s not for a longer amount of time. Maybe it’s just me, but living with multiple boys can be an experience that you only need to live out once.

I love my roommates, with all their constant singing and laughter. Our conversations weren’t always kept surface level and we were always curious to know more. And so many funny questions were asked about both of our cultures which I really enjoyed!

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The amount of learning… I feeling like it’s overflowing my brain, in the best way. I have learned so much from various teachers that made my mind expand in way I didn’t think would be possible to happen. Growing up with so much Christianity in my life I didn’t really know what else they would teach me that I didn’t already know or have heard before. I am so glad I was wrong! I now know so much more about my Father and His people.

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I feel so spoiled with love from people from my house and the organization. This is a place that cares so much about the individual before anything else and that’s something this world needs more of. The heart of Poetice and EMIZ is primarily about God’s will for His people, to have relationship with Him and it shows.

KaylaHoogendyk ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kayla Hoogendyk • 2016 International Immersion Intern

Practical Missions

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016

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I am not too good with words, but I will try to summarize this internship.

This experience for me has been amazing, from day one God has moved in all of our lives as interns and even in our relationships. It’s funny how within just four days of our internship it was like we have known each other forever. For the first week we have grown as a group, stepping on each others toes, embracing each other, and learned from our mistakes.

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We have also grown spiritually, learning some spiritual disciplines and how to apply them to our lives. We have not only had lessons in class, but we have experienced practical ways of doing missions through outreach to Lesotho, which was a highlight for me, and through EMIZ programs such as Reach for Life camps and Reach for Life in schools, music camps, and Beat the Drum. It’s amazing just to see how God is working in people’s lives all around the world, and to learn that how his love and grace are sufficient for us all.

Believe me, you will want to do this internship. God bless you all!

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jabu_hamweene ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jabulani Hamweene • 2016 International Immersion Intern

Reignited

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016

The Elijah Experience has been one of the most amazing experiences and I will remember for a life time. EXP gave me a platform to interact with people from different cultures. I thought living cross-culturally would be hard but not impossible. When we put aside the many differences and focus on the immeasurable similarities we created an amazing family bond.

As a person, I am mixed between an introvert and an extrovert. Before, I would speak less and explain less but through EXP, I discovered that I am able to explain with less difficulties and use my words more in my talking and interactions.

There were certain spiritual disciplines I took lightly but they have been re-ignited, challenged, and shifted my view point on them. Through EXP, God has taught me that the spiritual disciplines are God’s way of loving on me and desiring me to be more intimate with him.

In a nutshell, this has been my experience with EXP.

Chileleko_Mukonka ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chileleko Mukonka • 2016 International Immersion Intern

New Found Hope

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016

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My name is Hastings Makuwa from Livingstone, Zambia. I am going to miss my friends. My fellow interns have been so good to everyone. I saw love and care in each and every one of them. It is amazing to see how God has processed with us through love and care.

I am also going to miss the leaders of (EXP) The Elijah Experience. These guys have been so good. Before this program I felt rejected, but joining this program has really helped me feel at home. I was hopeless and I found hope in this whole journey.

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They helped me know who I am, they awakened the sleeping giant inside of me. The areas where I was sleeping in my life were awakened, my dreams, passions, relationship with God, my heart for missions, everything.

This program has really helped me. I have been empowered to become an agent of change in my own community and passionately follow Jesus Christ.  

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Hastings Mukuwa ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hastings Mukuwa • 2016 International Immersion Intern