The Task-Based Summary of My SummerPosted: October 5, 2010
This is the letter I sent to the Pritchard Award Committee summarizing my summer’s jobs and comparing what I actually did to my proposal. The Pritchard Award Committee were the ones who selected my summer project as one to fund.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of the Pritchard Award Committee,
Thank you again for your support of my summer internship in Lima, Peru. Over three months after we last communicated directly, I am back at Jewell and am wrapping up my responsibilities related to Lima, while settling into a new school year. I will be speaking at Chapel on Wednesday, October 6 with a more reflective and evaluative focus, but I would like to provide you with a project-focused review of my internship, especially comparing the expectations and goals communicated in my application from December to my actual experience.
I had six main areas of service in my internship. While I had identified almost all of these areas in my Pritchard Award application, I discovered the actual percentage of my time spent in each area, and the roles I filled in each area, only as I started the internship. I will describe them in descending order in terms of hours spent.
The biggest change from my expectations of my job responsibilities was the amount of time I spent with short-term teams from the United States. I spent far less time with the short-term teams than I thought I would. I knew as soon as Sara Ward, my supervisor, told me that they were planning on hosting only two teams for the whole summer, that my job was going to look different than I had thought it would. The preparation for the teams took some significant time before they came, both meeting with Sara Ward about team logistics like food, lodging, schedules, and transportation, and meeting with the team of church members who were partnering with the short-term teams in their outreach. As a team of Peruvians and missionaries, we planned, advertised for the programs, prayed, and gathered materials for the arrival of the teams. Once the teams were in Peru, one of the missionary team was with them at all times, and often that was my job, from 9:30 in the morning to 9 at night. I worked as a translator, organizer of transportation and food, facilitator, and general point-person for the team. The first team assisted in putting on a sports camp outreach to kids in the church’s neighborhood, while the second team partnered with the church in beginning to make connections in a slum neighborhood where the church is only beginning its outreach. I ended up spending plenty of hours in preparation for the teams as well as many hours with them in a concentrated span of time as they were actually serving in Lima.
An area where my role and responsibilities were much greater than I had thought they would be is my involvement with Handmade Mujer. My role with Handmade Mujer, a new micro-business ministry that provides training in running a small business and in jewelry making and an outlet to sell that jewelry, was threefold. First, I assisted with the design and content of the website (www.handmademujer.com) I served as a facilitator between the website designer, a member of the church and talented programmer, and Sara Ward, the leader of this new ministry. This meant that I set up meetings, translated occasionally, and acted as an initial advisor and responder to Luis’s questions and suggestions. I was also in charge of uploading content to the website once the design had been finalized.
The part of my work with Handmade Mujer that took the most time was the creation of a catalog of the jewelry made by women in the church, to be sold to individuals in the United States who are connected to House of Glory and the church in Lima. I photographed the jewelry, wrote or collected descriptions of the pieces, designed the catalog layouts, researched printer options, prepared an order form, and made many, many revisions to all of the above.
Thirdly, I worked with Sara to get this micro-business ministry off the ground. This included sending emails, taking orders from the short-term teams, providing feedback on decisions, and keeping the process organized and moving forward when Sara couldn’t be directly involved.
I participated in the music ministry of the church in two ways. First, I attended rehearsal, set up, and played guitar as part of the music team for at least three-fourths of the Sundays I was in Lima. Secondly, I created a new edition of the church song book, renaming files on the computer for greater ease of use, adding new songs, and editing out typographical errors. These tasks only took a few hours a week, but were consistently part of my responsibilities throughout the summer.
My role at the House of Glory was primarily to support the programs and activities put-on by the staff at House of Glory and the other two summer interns. In addition to their near-daily childcare, Lindsey and Holly (both interning in Lima, but with their focus almost entirely on the House of Glory) taught an English class on Tuesdays and directed a fun activity of some sort every Saturday. These activities included a spa day, learning how to make no-bake cookies, making journals, and playing volleyball. Lindsey and Holly planned and executed the activities, with my support as needed. Instead of planning, I took on the role of intentionally building relationships with the girls. Every Saturday, I would ask each of the girls to share one bad thing and two good things from her week. For however many minutes it took each one to think of and explain her things, all the attention was on her and her thoughts. Although they were bashful at first about sharing, by the end all of the girls would greet me at the gate on Saturday morning with their “dos cosas buenas y una cosa mala” (two good things and one bad thing) ready. My role at the House of Glory was to help out as needed by the tutoras, house moms, for day to day activities or special events, and to do this kind of informal relationship building.
Although many of my activities could not be neatly summarized under any heading other than “Miscellaneous,” I served the church in whatever other ways I could be of help. I came two hours early for the service every Sunday to help clean and set up the chairs, musical instruments, and children’s spaces for the service. After the service I helped condense all of the church’s supplies into the storage room where they belonged during the week and cleaned the areas we used. I led games for youth group each week, helped prepare and serve food at church functions, and did whatever I could to help the missionaries accomplish their responsibilities, from running to the store to get materials for a project, to taking care of their children during a meeting, to writing emails in Spanish. My role in all of these various activities was to support the functioning of the church and its ministries.
My role in the church’s Children’s Ministry was much less extensive than I had expected. I helped the missionary who had been in charge of the ministry arrange her files so that the transfer to the next director would go smoothly. I made sure that there were materials available to each week’s teachers during the gap between one director and the next, but as soon as a church member stepped into that role, I reduced my responsibility to teaching once a month. Preparation for each teaching assignment meant preparing a lesson for 3-7 year olds from an adult Bible commentary, in Spanish. This only took a few hours a week, however, much less time than I had anticipated.
To generalize the changes in responsibility I’ve detailed above, the feature that seems to characterize these changes is this: Before I came, I envisioned a greater part of my role would be serving as a facilitator for others to connect with the individuals in the church and the various ministries. As it turned out, I had two and a half months to serve directly in the various ministries in very humble ways before I connected the short-term teams to them during my last three weeks in Lima. This experience served me very well. I began by meeting human needs directly myself, learning what serving in those contexts looked like and building relationships, and then transitioned to facilitating the connection of other peoples’ manpower and desire to serve, informed by my experiences and the relationships I had established.
I would consider my summer internship to be a success, in meeting basic human needs, in growing personally, in developing skills and perspectives to bring back to the William Jewell campus, and simply in spending time with and learning from some of the most welcoming, sacrificially-giving, and affectionate people I know.
I look forward to reflecting further as I prepare to speak at Chapel and would love to communicate with you about whatever else you would like to know about my trip. I can also show you more pictures than you’ll ever want to see, to supplement my words.
In all seriousness, none of this would have been possible without your decision to support me by offering me the Pritchard Award. Thank you again for the support you have given me and for making this opportunity possible. I am immensely grateful.
Very sincerely yours,