In this series, Erin has been corresponding with a couple interns from last summer in SI Dominican Republic. In this article, Anna Williams reflects on what two summers have meant to her during this pivotal time of her life.
What was the value of the summer internship/STS program to you, personally?
I interned with SI Jarabacoa in 2014 and then SI Santiago in 2015. I obviously thought it was an extremely valuable experience since I did it for two consecutive summers. For me personally, I saw how God worked throughout the simplicity of life. Whether it was sharing a meal with someone, connecting with an outreach participant, or going to a local church, it was obvious that God was working. While doing missions work, I think you actively try to look for how God is working in your life and through those around you. However, bringing this mentality back home has been a struggle. It’s difficult to see God work when you are going through a huge life change. I finished up college, helped start up SI Santiago, moved back home, and started my first “real” job within less than 4 months. I think it can get discouraging to go from serving in a foreign country where there is literally no concept of time constraints or a daily routine, to going home and settling into a completely “normal” life with this weird concept of a schedule (that you actually have to stick to). I’ve had to keep going back to the concept of finding God in everything that I do. I don’t have to be literally trying to save the world in order to make a difference. If I am diligent in the small things of ordinary life, God will show me how to glorify him through that.
Did your work this summer help clarify your future steps in your vocation?
Two summers ago when I made the decision to intern with SI, I was struggling with what life would hold for me. I was considering medical school, and honestly really not too excited about that option. I entered college “knowing” that I wanted to be a doctor, so I chose to major in biology. But as the semesters went on, I realized that this was not the path God wanted me to take. Somehow God led me to take the SI internship in the field of social work, which was the most random yet rewarding internship of my life. I started off the summer super confused, and left Jarabacoa knowing that I loved missions, the people and culture of the DR, and working with people on a deeper, more personal level in the field of social work.
I then decided to intern again with SI in 2015. I initially wanted to return to Jarabacoa as a volunteer, but then when I was told I could work with SI Santiago for their first summer of outreaches, I got super excited and went for it. This past summer completely reinforced in my mind that I am meant to go back to the DR at some point in the future, preferably with SI. God keeps answering my prayers with a “not yet” whenever I ask Him about the timing of going back to the DR. I am currently praying that God will give me the courage to go whenever He tells me that it’s time!
Grove City College
Biology Class of 2015