When I first moved to Paris, I wasn’t necessarily sure as to what to expect as far as cross-cultural ministry. I’d been overseas before, having lived in multiple European cities, and having traveled to Africa, but I hadn’t yet been a part of an established ministry center.
After being here seven months on the ground, I can tell you that my approach and viewpoint of cross-cultural ministry has completely shifted. God has continued to show me time and time again how He wants to shape the culture over here, and what I can be doing to come alongside Him in His plan for here.
Before embarking on your internship, my advice would be to prepare yourself in every way possible before getting on location. Here are a couple ideas of what you might want to do to prepare yourself for your internship.
1. Prepare to be stretched in ways you thought weren’t possible. Cultures operate in a different way than what you’re accustomed to, and having an open mind and willingness to try new approaches will always open doors.
2. Understand that you’re not coming to do your mission; you’re coming alongside the Lord and His mission. Your motives and mindset should reflect this.
3. Get into the practice of being regularly in the Word and in Prayer. Spending time daily with the Lord will help your relationship with Him grow. A firm commitment from you will only help to further your intimacy.
Once you’re on the field, here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Don’t become over-focused on your goals, to the point that you tune out God and what He is trying to tell you just so you can achieve what you want to. By doing this, you not only ignore God, but ignore why He called you to join Him on His mission.
2. Your time on location is not about you. Not about what you can tell others you have accomplished. Not about elevating yourself above others. Approach it with humility, and make sure you do everything you’re asked to do to the best of your abilities.
3. Remember to respect the Sabbath. Take that weekly time to explore God’s wonders and beauties, and you’ll find yourself trying new and exciting things, not only resting, but gaining a deeper understanding of how God is at work across the globe.
Whether you’ve been called to serve overseas, in the States, or where you currently are, we are all His servants. When you walk out your door in the morning, you need to be ready to give an account of what He has done, regardless of your position on a map. Faith is the first step that we make within ourselves, and our Faithfulness is what’s seen on the outside - what sets us apart from the crowd. Regardless of what is happening in the world, God has amazing plans for furthering His Kingdom, and living boldly in our daily lives will help make that difference.
Austin Wood is a 23-year-old guy from a small town in Hawai’i, and currently lives in Paris, France where he’s exploring his passion for music and people in an urban environment, while also learning what God has planned for his life. He’s currently working on a 2-year residency with Envision Paris, and is excited to see the Kingdom reach all corners of the Earth.