Ministering to a New Generation of Missionaries
February 2024

It's always special to meet young interns and prepare them for their work in the field. It takes a lot of courage to go and live in a remote area thousands of miles away from home. Our sending offices and sending partner organizations prepares them well, and we at SEND North—a receiving area—provide them with support they need while they are on the field.  

We had an intern from Germany who was just 18 at the time. It was his first time being very far away from home. His English was good, but it was evaporating from jet lag. With a 7-hour delay in Seattle, his flights from his home in Germany took a full day. He was having difficulty keeping his eyes open, and we just had a short time to prepare in Anchorage before he would be flying in a much smaller plane to a much smaller village.  

Sharing Knowledge 

One of my tasks on the Logistics and Support (L&S) team is to introduce the story of SEND to folks visiting our Anchorage office. So, as a part of his brief orientation, I found myself describing to this young intern how SEND International that was launched by ex-GI's who went back to Pacific battlefields with the Gospel after World War II.  

Young missionaries must know they are joining God's work spanning almost 80 years. This knowledge also gives them a sense of belonging that they are part of a line of men and women who responded to the call of the Great Commission.  

Providing Practical and Emotional Support

Another way the L&S team serves our people is with shopping and shipping from Anchorage. Some people on our team are way better at this than I am, but they were unavailable that day. So, after other L&S team members introduced him to finance, cross-culture tips, and safety issues related to his internship, it was up to me to get him supplied and equipped. 

His first Alaskan adventure was shopping in Anchorage, at rush hour, in a blizzard. Unplowed busy roads provided its challenge, but we were able to get most of the things he needed. Being part of the L&S team also meant being the taxi and shuttle when our people came into town, which I was happy to do for our intern. 

He would be working outdoors in one of the coldest parts of the planet. We got supplies not only for him but also for his host family in the village, who are also from Germany. That support system will greatly help him adjust to this new place and ministry. Having a host family ready to receive our young missionaries assures them they have someone to run to for encouragement and direction.  

When our route took us by a German deli, I swung in to get some goodies for them. Our intern was (almost literally) like a kid in a candy store. He knew the brands and could read the labels. He even started advising the other shoppers what was good! Great idea to find something familiar, I thought. But when I looked over at him, he was hunched over and wiping tears from his eyes. Oh no! This triggered homesickness. But no, it turns out he had left his contact lenses in too long. He removed them over a sink and was good to go.  

God Is Stirring the Hearts of Young People

I was impressed with this young man, as I have been with the other six German interns I met while living in Anchorage. When giving an overview of SEND's history, I tell people it is a story of each generation responding to a difficult calling from God. SEND's ministry here in Alaska is difficult, complicated, lonely, frustrating, risky, and expensive.  

Serving on a team that supports young people taking on these challenges is an honor. They transition from living in a large urban center in Europe to serving many months in a rural Alaska village—the difference is so striking that they might as well have gone to Mars. They took a leap of faith, knowing they had a big God before them.  

It has been a special joy to meet the brave and bright generation of German interns who serve our people and help them launch their adventures here. We pray that these short-term experiences will make a lasting impact that moves them to commit long-term in God's perfect time.  

No matter where you are from, we have opportunities waiting for you in SEND North! Let us be part of your journey. Connect with a missions coach today.
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