- 3.5 hours on-demand video
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- 16 downloadable resources
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- Certificate of Completion
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- Know and Love God More
- Biblical Worldview for Life-Work and Calling
- Listening Prayer and Radical Obedience
- Understand Modern Missions
- Cross-Cultural Cooperation
- Partnership with a Missional Organization
- Asset-Based Community Development
- Designing, Proposing, and Completing a Missional Project
- Planning for a Missional Life
- 18+ years old.
- Have personally chosen to follow Jesus Christ.
- Ask someone from your community to meet as a Mentor at least four times.
- Complete a personalized missions project for a Host organization.
- Have some prior cross-cultural experience.
When you have already been on a short-term Christian missions trip, you start to realize you need to do more to make a difference. With the Converge Course, you will prepare to do a personalized missions project.
Hi, I’m John Henry. Welcome to Converge where we know that everyone has a calling, following the crowd will not bring transformation, and a personalized missions project is the best way to discover your purpose.
The Converge Course is required for all approved participants with the official YWAM Converge Internships program. However, if you have not been applied with YWAM Converge, you can take this course on your own. Whether you are an individual, or part of a group, preparing for a Christian outreach, this course will help you and your group make a difference. This is an advanced level discipleship and leadership development course. Let's go make a difference.
- 18-32 years old.
- Willing to serve and learn through Biblical principles.
Open the Resources Folder to view and download the Syllabus and the Structure of the Converge Course graphic.
What outcomes can you expect from this course?
1. Learning about relationships.
2. Learning the meaning of partnership.
3. Learning to make a difference.
Important Preparations: Download the Converge Trip Planner
Immunizations: What is needed? When? Who? Make an appointment if necessary.
Prepare budget & Fundraising plan
Start fundraising - Attach your Converge Profile Page to all communications. Your Page includes a Donate button dedicated to your Converge account.
Glenis Acosta shares about her Converge experience on her 2016 education internship to Albania. Glenis is from Cartagena, Colombia. She is a Converge Course Instructor and Translator for Spanish speakers.
Converge is a YWAM initiative. Youth With A Mission is a global movement of Christians from many cultures, age groups, and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world.
Also known as YWAM (pronounced “WHY-wham”), we unite in a common purpose to know God and to make Him known.
Back when we began in 1960, our main focus was to get youth involved in missions. Today, we still focus on youth, and we also involve people aged 8 to 80. We currently work in more than 1,100 locations in over 180 countries, with a staff of over 18,000.
One of the joys of participating in YWAM is to work with people from many nations. YWAM’s staff (known as “YWAMers”) come from over 130 countries, including places like Indonesia, Nepal, Mozambique, and Colombia.
MEET YOUR HOST
The Host is performing one of the most significant and strategic activities in world missions, showing hospitality. Your Host has reviewed your completed application and personally approved you for the project in the Host's community. Your Host has agreed to arrange for arrival pick up, food and housing, and daily oversight during the internship stay. The Host has also agreed to help the you get acquainted with the culture, the community, and the personnel with whom you will be working.
By meeting your Host early, you are creating a critical safeguard for your protection at one of the most vulnerable moments of your internship experience, the arrival and airport pickup. To make that arrival work, we strongly encourage a one-on-one web conference meeting with the Host. Not only will you get to know the person who will be responsible for your housing and oversight during the internship, the Host will provide you with specific details related to the airport pickup.
Book travel if possible.
Confirm if a visa is necessary and make arrangements to secure it in time for travel. Ask your Mentor or call our office if you have questions.
Start organizing items to bring
Make sure you are praying and continuing your fundraising. Do not wait until the last month prior to departing before praying specifically and communicating your funding needs to family and friends. Ask donors to use the dedicated Donate button on your Converge Profile Page for all donations.
The history of missions is one of obedience and passion - the willingness of ordinary people to suffer and sacrifice and live incarnationally to bring lasting change as they serve God. As the video "Understanding History" emphasized, it is important to understand the context of the place you are going, to understand the historical and spiritual roots of the challenges facing the community you will serve. It is also important to understand the history of missions and those who have gone before us, a history of bringing a biblical worldview in order to transform society. In this lesson, you will learn about this heritage and what "passion" really means. You will also hear two stories of those who were willing to embrace passion and sacrifice in obedience to the call of God: the first, a historical event that initiated the American foreign missions movement, and the second, a modern example of missionaries living incarnationally to transform an impoverished slum community in Cambodia.
Before viewing the following videos on prayer and intercession, take a few moments to read through this simple guideline for intercessory prayer. Follow these principles, passed on to us by Joy Dawson, and you will experience a more intimate relationship with Jesus, praying his prayers for others. Take the time to read the scriptures referenced as well as the principles.
The two aspects of intercession are: 1) to intercede with God; and 2) to stand against Satan, demons, sickness, ungodly circumstances, etc., on behalf of others. The prophet Ezekiel points out that an intercessor must be willing to feel and bear the burdens of those for whom intercession is made (Ezekiel 4:4).
Principles For Effective Intercession (by Joy Dawson)
Praise God for the privilege of engaging in the same wonderful ministry as the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 7:25). Praise God for the privilege of cooperating with Him in the affairs of men.
Make sure your heart is clean before God, by having given the Holy Spirit time to convict, should there be any unconfessed sin (Psalm 66:18; Psalm 139:23-24). Check carefully to make sure you don't harbor unforgiveness or resentment toward anyone (Matthew 6:12; Mark 11:25). In the Bible's oldest book, Job had to forgive his friends for their wrong judgement of him, before he could pray effectively for them (Job 42:10).
Acknowledge that you cannot really pray without the direction and energy of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). Ask God to utterly control you by His Spirit, receive by faith that He will, and thank Him (Ephesians 18; Hebrews 11:6).
Die to your own imaginations, desires, and burdens for what you feel you should pray (Proverbs 3:5,6; 28:26; Isaiah 55:8).
Deal aggressively with the enemy of us all, the devil. Come against him in the all-powerful name of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the "sword of the Spirit"—the Word of God (James 4:7).
Praise God now in faith for the remarkable prayer meeting you're going to have. He's a remarkable God and will do something consistent with His character.
Wait before God in silent expectancy, listening for His direction (Psalm 62:5; Micah 7:7; Psalm 81:11-13).
In obedience and faith, utter what God brings to your mind—believing (John 10:27). Keep asking God for direction in relation to whom or what you are praying for, expecting Him to answer. He promises to guide and direct you (Psalm 32:8). Make sure you don't move on to the next subject until you've given God time to discharge all He wants to say to you regarding this particular burden; especially when praying in a group. Be encouraged from the lives of Moses, Daniel, Paul, and the prophetess Anna, that God gives revelation to those who make intercession a way of life.
If possible, have your Bible with you should God want to give you direction or confirmation from it (Psalm 119:105).
When God ceases to bring things to your mind in prayer, finish by praising and thanking Him for what He has done, reminding yourself of Romans 11:36.
A WARNING: God knows the weakness of the human heart towards pride, and if we speak of what God has revealed and done in intercession, it may lead to committing this sin. God shares His secrets with those who are able to keep them. There may come a time when He definitely prompts us to share, but unless this happens we should remain silent (Luke 9:36; 2:19). Joy Dawson, 1985.
Knowing God is more than knowing your Bible.
When we come to know God intimately, his words are like bread for the hungry and water for the thirsty. God has promised that we can hear his voice. The best place to do that is by reading and meditating on the Scriptures. Every man and woman of God in the Bible and throughout history has known the voice of God. In this lesson, we will go deeper in our relationship with God seeking the intimate experience of knowing his voice.
Knowing & Hearing God
Knowing God is more than knowing your Bible. When we know the author of the Bible, we read his words and they are life to us. When we come to know God intimately, his words are like bread for the hungry and water for the thirsty. God has promised that we can hear his voice. Every man and woman of God in the Bible and throughout history has known the voice of God. In this lesson, we will go deeper in our relationship with God seeking the intimate experience of knowing his voice.
When we listen to God, he corrects and encourages us so that we can be more like him. He has given us gifts and abilities that are unique. He wants his gifts to reach their destination. He wants us to share his gifts by representing him with them. Anita learned that her gift is leadership. When she began to use God's gift God's way, everything changed for the better on that internship team in Guatemala City.
Order your traveler's and health Insurance. Go to volunteercard.com for an excellent option.
Write itinerary. Give copy to parents.
Communicate with Mentor on how all logistics are going:
-Finances, Visa, Travel tickets, Vaccinations, etc.
When we listen to God, he corrects and encourages us so that we can be more like him. He has given us gifts and abilities that are unique. He wants his gifts to reach their destination. He wants us to share his gifts by representing him with them. Anita learned that her gift is leadership. When she began to use God's gift God's way, everything changed for the better on that internship team in Guatemala City.
The Starting Place for a Biblical Worldview
We have explored the first priority: Knowing God and knowing his voice. If God were silent, there would be no Bible and no biblical worldview. Without the Bible we would be forced to create our own truth and meaning in life.
The Bible is a library of books with a structural unity and coherence that extends over 66 books, more than 40 writers, three languages, 1600 years and three continents. Each of those writers lived their lives with a measure of devotion to God seeking to be faithful to his revelation.
This is at the foundation of the difference between the Judeo-Christian worldview and all others. God speaks. God is both personal and infinite. He is the only One who can be totally objective. God communicates. And He tells the truth. God intends to be understood. Therefore, what God says can be completely relied upon. We can know God's "voice" as he reveals his truth to us, in whatever means he chooses.
There are three levels of revelation:
Natural revelation through creation.
Written revelation through the Bible, the written word of God.
Incarnate revelation, through Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, made personal to us through the Spirit of God.
The Christian worldview is the perspective of all reality from the viewpoint of Christ and His kingdom. God is all powerful and personal. God knows all that is knowable, and He has revealed Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. We are created in His image, male and female. Our capacity to love our children unconditionally is a reflection of God's personality. Our capacity to experience rejection and hurt is also a reflection of His personality. God has created us free, and, therefore, responsible.
The Christian understands that because God has spoken, we discover that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the one Person you can't afford to ignore. Eternal life is knowing Jesus and the Father.
Jesus is our hope. We don't get connected to God because we make sacrifices or do good, but rather we do good because we are connected with God. Our life’s work and calling is our grateful response to his goodness. A biblical worldview is not a philosophy, but rather a way of seeing everything. Through the Bible, we come to understand that we may have a relationship with a loving God who has demonstrated that love through His own sacrifice on the cross. This paradigm shift empowers even the most grievous offender to find personal restoration and a relationship with a personal-infinite God.
We believe that it is important that you have a background knowledge of your host community's surrounding culture. As you view the following videos, take some time to research into the culture surrounding your chosen internship location. Culture is complex. It is expressed in the language of a people, and it is formed by the history, the geographical landscape, and influences of surrounding peoples. Consider the government, the economic, the media, and the educational spheres of influence. Consider the family and religious structures as you seek to understand and cross over into another culture.
When Christians reach out to the poor, we too often unintentionally communicate something false to them about their value.
This is what the poor “hear”: “We are complete, you are not.”
Robert Chambers writes, "Poverty is entanglement." The poor are caught in a web of systems; they lack power, materials, choices, relationships, and influence. Poverty is much more than an issue of material wealth. The poor experience at least one of these three characteristics:
1. Poverty of Being
2. Poverty of Purpose
3. Poverty of Relationships
Relationships that work against their well-being
Simply put, the goal of our outreach to the poor should be to avoid communicating the lie that they are not valued. Our goal should be to identify with the poor in our mutual recovery of identity in Christ, and our part in God’s creative design and purpose.
How do we do that? In order to communicate value to the poor, we must first communicate value to the volunteers serving alongside us in ministry to the poor.
This is why we should emphasize “Calling” as a missions strategy. If our outreach emphasizes the discovery of vocation in the life of the volunteer, the Christian participant in ministry to the poor, then we will effectively communicate the value of the design and purpose of God to the community in which we minister.
Then we will fulfill the commission to preach the good news to the poor.
Our aim is the same as that of Jesus’ public ministry:
“And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, ‘THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.’” (Luke 4: 17-19)
Our goal is to ‘set free’ the poor from their destructive relationships so they may enjoy Shalom, a Hebrew term for peace, completeness, and welfare. All of us are called by God to an abundant life of healthy kingdom relationships.
The way we reach this goal must begin with the right posture, the right attitude. We must begin by demonstrating a servant heart, the nature of our servant King Jesus.
In our outreach to the poor we must represent a kingdom community, demonstrating the biblical story and representing God’s identity and purpose in our relationships.
Our outreach should portray the kingdom of God, which represents the character of God in all the various expressions of his callings.
God is healer, communicator, builder, author, creator, artist, counselor, teacher, etc. Therefore, these vocations are representing God’s character in community.
Outreach is best when we represent the kingdom of God in a community of servants. We represent the character of God and the holistic and interrelated spheres of His ministry.
Ministry to the poor requires a vision of the kingdom of God.
Review the scriptures in the Personal Study area at the bottom of this lesson. As you do, think about the following questions: "Who are the poor?" and "Why are people poor?" How does the visual "Bad News for the Poor" relate to what you read? As you read the story "Goliath's Mom," think about how it relates to these concepts.
Goliath (pronounced: “Go-lee-at” in Spanish) was an especially big baby born to a single mom in a four-foot high cardboard box with only a straw mattress on the dirt floor of the Guatemala City garbage dump. Thousands of squatters made their home living on top of the garbage. They made their “homes” out of scraps, tires, boxes, and other discarded items found on the dump.
It was our health care interns' first day at the clinic at the city dump. The clinic might have closed that summer in 1991 if we had not arrived. The YWAM staff team leading the clinic were all enrolled in the first University of the Nations Introduction to Primary Health Care School for Spanish speakers. They were glad we came. Our team, led by Nurse Bonnie, kept the clinic open and operating.
Our journalism and social work interns took a walk with me through the dump community. We met a man with bright yellow eyes, a key symptom of an acute and fatal case of hepatitis, probably due to alcohol abuse. He was silent, but his facial expressions betrayed the fact that he was a dangerous man. After we directed him to the clinic, a woman told us the same man regularly beat his wife.
Smoke rose over the mass of garbage burning at the center of the dump. Our eyes began to burn and I wondered how anyone could live in this place. We continued to visit families in their “homes.” One family of twelve seemed very well settled with a larger one-room hut, 12×15 feet, which included a large family bed and hammocks for the smaller children.
On our return to the clinic, we almost walked passed the “box.” But we heard the whimpering of a baby inside. I stooped down to look inside. This small box was a woman’s home and she held her oversized baby, Goliath.
We were welcomed “in,” but only one of us could fit on the straw mattress on the ground next to her. I looked in the sad dark face of the woman and joined her. I held her big baby.
I didn’t know whether to choke from the smell, or cry for the conditions this baby was born into. With the help of a translator, I spoke to the woman about her baby and the Child Jesus, who was born in an animal stall.
The woman paid close attention and I sensed the Holy Spirit drawing her as my words were simple and direct. I spoke of a hope that was beyond all hope. I shared Jesus.
Goliath’s mom prayed with me that day. As I opened my eyes I could see something happened; her toothless grin was from ear to ear. The next day, Golaith’s mom was at the clinic asking to help. She became a true follower of Jesus that day.
The poor are poor due to a loss of identity and a loss of vocation. Therefore, the poor are set free, not merely through a steady income, a job or a hand-out. They are truly free when they gain understanding of their identity in God and discover their calling in God.
Learn more at Facts on Global Poverty - http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats
Recommended Reading: God of the Empty-Handed: Poverty, Power, and the Kingdom of God by Jayakumar Christian.
Search the Scriptures for understanding:
Exodus 23:3 and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.
Leviticus 19:10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 25:35 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.
Deuteronomy 15:4 However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you,… v. 7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.
Deuteronomy 24:12 & 14-15 If the neighbor is poor, do not go to sleep with their pledge in your possession. Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poorand needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poorand are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.
1 Samuel 2:8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; on them he has set the world.
Psalm 12:5 “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will protect them from those who malign them.”
Psalm 14:6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.
Psalm 40:17 But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay.
Psalm 140:12 I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.
Proverbs 13:7 One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
Proverbs 14:31 Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Proverbs 19:1 Better the poor whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.
Proverbs 20:13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.
Isaiah 14:30 The poorest of the poor will find pasture, and the needy will lie down in safety.
Isaiah 40:20 A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple.
Zechariah 7:10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or thepoor.
Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 12:43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
What is a calling from God?
What is a calling from God? Put simply, calling is a summons, like a court summons. The purpose of the call of God is for you to engage with the world in response to God. So calling begins with a relationship with God, the calling to know him.
As you view the videos in this lesson, consider your relationship with Jesus. Consider your relationships with others, including your family, your neighbors, your society, your environment. And consider your relationship with yourself. God calls us to know him and the value he places on us and all he has created.
As you abide in Christ, appreciating his goodness, he sends you out into the world as a witness, an expression of his character and ways. God is communicator, artist, teacher, gardener, healer, law giver, just judge, architect and builder, and father of all families. There are many expressions of his character and many ways he calls his children to represent him.
The Latin phrase, 'Coram Deo,' sums it up well. It means 'To live in one world before the face of God.' In other words, the spiritual life, Christ in you, is to impregnate every area of life.
Calling, therefore, is:
The summons to participate in the will and work of God in human history.
Before viewing the following videos, read the article, "A Conversation on Calling," by John Henry.
Lesson nine videos include:
Discipling Nations, Joe Steinke
Humility & Yeast, Scott Bessenecker
Career & Calling, Brenda Lewis
Vocation, yours truly
Undoing Missionary Stereotypes, Trent Shepherd
Completing the Pre-Departure Phase
Congratulations! You have completed the pre-departure phase. By now you should have raised your funds for your final tuition payment. You should have purchased your flight tickets and, if necessary, obtained your visa by now. If you are still raising funds to pay off your travel expenses, you may continue to do so. We can reimburse those expenses when sufficient funds have been raised through donations to your account.
This final pre-departure lesson is meant to help you reflect on what you have learned so far and begin to transition into the next four phases of your Converge experience: the Enculturation phase, which are the first few days after you arrive; the Assessment phase, which is the time to observe, research, interview, map, and pray about your final project; the Field Project phase, which is when you and your host have agreed about your final project. During the Project Phase, you will design and complete your field project and produce your report. Remember, your Field Project Report must be completed before the end of your internship session on the field.
The final phase will be the Debriefing, when you wrap things up with final meetings, turning in your field project report to your host and the Converge office, and saying all your good-byes to friends and colleagues you have developed at the host location. Are you ready?
As you prepare to travel and transition to the field, please complete your final Mentor Connect meeting. Then post your reflections assignments about the pre-departure lessons and about your Mentor experience so far.
Very important: Please download and print the FIELD JOURNAL so you will have a hard copy of all the remaining assignments while you are at the Internship location. This journal was prepared for you in the event that you will not have adequate internet access to the online course. You should use your Field Journal to make notes of any important information, especially during the Enculturation when you will learn more about the Host’s Organization, the local culture, the Dos and Dont’s, your schedule, work duty assignments, and how to get from the place where you will reside, where you will dine, your place of work, local shopping, banking and money exchange, and clinics or emergency facilities.
Please also note that even if you expect to have internet access during your internship, you may find that, like in many parts of the developing world, the internet situation can change without warning or even the anticipation of your Host.
Therefore, it is important that you not only preview the assignments and phases you will complete during your internship, but that you make sure to download the FIELD JOURNAL, which contains all the assignment instructions as well as a handy place to keep record of your Converge experiences.
During your pre-departure phase, you learned about the heart of missions and you have taken an inventory of your personal relationship with God. Take some time to prayerfully reflect on what God has shown you in the past weeks and what it means for your life and calling.
Here are a few important tips to prepare you for life on the field. These tips will also help you make decisions about what to bring and what not to bring with you.
Often times you will be in a situation that it would be culturally appropriate to give a small gift of appreciation. You may handle this in a couple of ways. You may want to come with a few gifts that would be more personal. Or you may want to wait until you are in the host country to buy something at the time of need. We are not suggesting that you buy anything expensive, but some token form of appreciation is very appropriate.
During many of the evenings and the weekends, you will be free to do what you want. There are many places that are lovely to visit and we encourage you to enjoy your free time by exploring and visiting places that interest you. However, your Host will likely set certain restrictions applicable to the time of day or place you wish to visit. Your Host will explain those restrictions during Enculturation. These restrictions and guidelines are for your safety and for the long-term effectiveness of the work the Host's organization is doing. Please heed the instructions. Failure to follow the restrictions and guidelines set by the Host, whether they be cultural or safety restrictions, may be grounds for dismissal from the Converge program. If you are dismissed and sent home, it will be at your own expense. Thank you for your consideration.
You or your parents may be concerned about stories of political unrest in developing countries and may wonder how safe it is to live at the host's location even for a month. Although it is true that there may be political problems, violent activities are generally confined to certain areas of the country. We want to assure you and your parents that our Hosts have your safety in mind at all times. Your host will NOT be taking you into any area that is known to be dangerous. We encourage you to keep abreast of what is happening in your host country. If a U.S. Travel Advisory or Warning is released, please follow their instructions. Keep in mind that there is always some risk when living and traveling in a developing or economically depressed country. There may be times when it is necessary for your Host to change the dates or the location of your internship's planned activities due to the nature of dealing with developing countries.
Camera Equipment and Smartphones
The best camera to take on an outreach is one of those small, inexpensive, fully automatic 35 mm cameras. The one you already own may be fine, but it may attract attention due to its size and expense. Or it may get lost, stolen, or damaged on this sort of outreach. The decision is still yours. The main thing we want you to remember is not to be too flashy with expensive equipment. Depending on the location of your internship, it may be completely inappropriate to bring a camera. If you travel with a smartphone to severely impoverished locations, we highly recommend that you keep it put away in a secure place and use it only when it will not attract attention. Very often expensive personal items are stolen. Please be sensitive and cautions. If you bring expensive items with you, you do so at your own risk.
If you are bringing anything of value such as a camera, laptop computer or jewelry, it is advisable that you declare it with customs BEFORE you leave the United States so that you will not be taxed when reentering the States. The procedure is to take whatever you are declaring to the customs office located at any international airport. They will give you a document proving that you had purchased it in the USA.
Depending on the internship location, it may be best that you leave your electrical appliances at home. But if it is necessary that you bring it, please check on the type of electrical outlets and voltage that your host's country uses before you leave.
Church attendance during the internship is strongly encouraged, whenever possible. You may choose the church of your preference. There will likely be Protestant and Catholic churches available for you to attend. It may be best for you to choose a church that your Host or some member of the Host organization's staff attends. They will likely be willing to accompany you and introduce you to the members of their church community.
You will likely have the opportunity to give a financial gift to a local ministry or organization before returning home. We encourage you to travel prepared to bless your Host's community with a generous gift.
Ask your Host before you travel. It may be that you will need to wash your clothes by hand. If so, you should bring a bar of laundry soap and a few clothespins. If you find it difficult to buy a "bar" of laundry soap, you Host may advise that you buy it when you arrive.
The Project is your key contribution during your internship. Your assignments during both the Enculturation and Assessment phases are meant to help you identify a focus for your Project and to begin the process of gathering and organizing information. The Project will be the result of prayerful consideration of a relevant issue, approval of the proposal by the Host and/or supervisor, and the research you conduct during your internship. Then, after implementing your Project, your Final Report will be submitted to the Field Project Leader, your Mentor, and the Converge Course instructor through the assignment link on the Debriefing page. It may take the form of traditional written report, or you may choose a different format.
The Project takes into consideration a particular need or needs of the community that you will identify through your mapping exercise, interviews, and other research. You will propose a project or program that could be completed by you if you were to return to the community in the future, or perhaps by someone already there, to address this need. You will consider in your report what challenges might be faced and what resources might be needed for success. This project will help you understand the context and needs of the community where you are interning, and will help you look beyond the daily activities of your internship to the future and potential of the community.
At only three days, Enculturation is the first and shortest of the phases that you will experience once you have arrived at your internship location. During this time, you will complete your first on-the-ground assignment, the Community Mapping Assignment, which will help you contextualize the community and begin to consider potential foci for your Project.
Since you will be recovering from travel, potentially dealing with changes in time and jet lag, as well as learning the ins and outs of your internship, cultural expectations, and organizational expectations, it is particularly important that you familiarize yourself with the Enculturation phase and assignments PRIOR to departure. This will allow you to form a plan for completing your community map (but be flexible, as things are not always exactly as you anticipate upon arrival) and to be intentional about the way you approach your first days on the ground.
If you haven’t already, be sure to download and print two things:
Trip Planner, found as a downloadable resource with Lesson 2: What to Expect in the First Section of the course.
Field Journal, found as a downloadable resource with Lesson 10 Reflections and Next Steps.
After you print them, put them in a travel notebook and read through the Field Journal. Then, finish filling out your Trip Planner.
Please take a few minutes to look at the Enculturation page and to think and pray about the next phase of your Converge experience.
Your Host will meet you at the airport, help you get situated in your housing, and give you some time to rest after your travels. In addition to showing you hospitality, your Host will introduce you to supervisor and personnel.
The Enculturation is a three-day period of briefing to get settled into your new surroundings and learn of the history, community, mission, and current operations of the organization with which you will intern. During the Enculturation you may also receive some language learning exercises, as necessary. The Enculturation will likely also include an opportunity to attend and perhaps participate in a cultural celebration.
The Enculturation is also designed to help you focus on social and cultural "do's and don'ts," as well as instructions about the spiritual climate of the community, and any safety recommendations to help you navigate your new surroundings and pray for the people and place where you will be working.
In addition to introductions to all significant leadership staff, you will be introduced and oriented to the community to gain familiarity with the local area. As soon as possible, you should learn to use public transportation, and find local services (such as bank, shopping, and medical facilities).
One purpose of the Enculturation is for you to settle into your new surroundings, acclimate to the new setting, the new time zone (if applicable), and the new community in which you will be serving and learning. However, the primary purpose of the Enculturation is for students to meet with the supervisor and understand the vision, history, and current status of the program or project with which you will work during your internship.
As you begin praying about your field project and for the community your are serving, you are likely to find various forms of poverty or injustice that relate to the mission of the host’s organization. Your first assignments will prepare you for your Project. Approach these assignments prayerfully. Prayer will make an important difference not only in the potential impact of your project, but also in the level of receptivity and ownership of the people in the local community. Be aware that your project could be empowering, or continue to reinforce the unequal “top-down” relationships that can result when outsiders come in with a plan and vision for a poor community.
In Lesson 8, you learned about types of poverty that affect people and that all of us experience some form of poverty in our lives and relationships. A “Needs-Based” approach is one that tends to emphasize or reinforce the poverty, particularly material poverty, present in the community. An “Asset-Based” approach, however, recognizes that all people and communities have skills, resources, and knowledge; those are the community’s assets which have the capacity to contribute to their own development.
Your Field Journal has a written description of your Community Mapping Assignment. Review it or download the pdf available in the previous lesson.
Before completing the Community Mapping Assignment, study this table carefully to understand the difference between Needs-Based and Asset-Based approaches to Community Development.
Take advantage of these external resources which are available on the internet. We understand that you may or may not need them for your particular Converge project. Nonetheless, we encourage you to consider how to serve the community where God has placed you for this internship.
As you prepare, spend some time in prayer and intercession for the community, your internship, and the people you will encounter.
Ask God to show you ways that your research, through the mapping and interviewing exercises, can be empowering to the community. Ask God to reveal any areas of poverty in your own life that may create a barrier as you begin to identify the assets the community possesses that may enable them to work for change.
And above all, Pray sensitively for the community.
It is important to proceed with sensitivity. “Sensitive Interviewing” is part of the Community Mapping exercise, and it’s how we build relationships. Your skills of interviewing (and building relationships, including cross-cultural relationships), will continue to grow as you pray and practice sensitivity. Sensitive Interviewing is about asking open-ended questions:
About emotionally sensitive topics (personal trauma, abuse, loss – including abortion, etc.)
About culturally sensitive topics (family planning, tribe or ethnicity, faith, gender roles and equality, cultural practices such as female circumcision, etc.)
Among vulnerable populations (the poor, cultural, ethnic, and religious minorities, women in many cultures, children, etc.)
And among those with disabilities (physical or mental)
For a small organization reaching a particular area, and depending on the mission of the host’s organization, your community mapping and interviewing exercises may require you to walk about the neighborhood observing the housing, services, water sources, family sizes, schools, availability of food and security, etc.
If that is the case, be sure you have communicated with your Host about your plans and that you have someone to accompany you and assist you with translation and navigating the community. This is for your safety as well as the opportunity to develop a friendship with a staff member.
On the other hand, your Community Mapping Exercise may not require you to go out into the community. Your mapping and your interviews may be all in-house with the host organization’s staff team, it may be the clients in a retail or service business, or it may be appropriate for much of your mapping and interviewing research to take place going through old records in filing cabinets to research the host organization’s capacity and effectiveness.
When you are ready, and when your Host allows you to move about the community to conduct your Mapping Exercise. You are a witness for Jesus Christ. However, your witness right now is to be a disciple. Be a learner. Be sensitive. Be aware of the community members present and the potential dynamics that this may create as you start looking at the community. It is critically important that you discuss any potentially sensitive topics you may want to find out about with your Host before going out to conduct the mapping and interviewing exercise and find out if there are any potentially sensitive issues in the community that you may not have thought to ask about.
You also want to avoid harming the people who participate in the process, you want to avoid harming the relationship of the organization to the community, and your relationship with those you are working with.
Keep in mind that, often, harm is done unintentionally (even by those trying to be sensitive!) That is why it is so important to talk to the Host and try to be sensitive with the organization’s staff members who will likely have a deep understanding of the community.
After you complete the mapping assignment, you will begin the Assessment Phase. Stay prayerful and stay sensitive. You will need to be continually mindful of the fact that many of the people you will interact with fall into a vulnerable category, even if they do not seem vulnerable to you.
Now that you have completed all the Pre-Departure Lessons, traveled to the Field Project location, and had opportunity to be introduced to the Field Project personnel, facilities, and your regular schedule through the Enculturation Phase of the Converge experience, it's time to move into the Assessment Phase
During the Assessment Phase, you will have a regular schedule with the Field Project. Assessment is what you do in addition to your regular schedule, including informal time building relationships, listening, questioning, surveying, mapping, and researching to determine what your proposal for your Field Project Report will be.
There is no prescribed method for your Assessment, and the Interview Assignment in this section is meant to be a tool – among others – that will help you gather the information you will need for proposing and completing your Field Project Report. The Mapping Exercise from the Enculturation Phase may be a helpful starting point in framing your questions and working toward a proposal. However, more important than assignments and research is attitude. The Assessment is the essential cross-cultural, relationship-building phase, which requires an attitude of learning, listening, and observing
Very often, the needs of a community will not be obvious, and therefore your Field Project Assignment will not be obvious. Until you know what to propose to the Field Project leader, it is very important that you gain specific information by asking probing questions. As you do, it is also very important that you continue praying, listening, learning, and serving. Pay attention to your surroundings and listen to the project staff and clients. As your relationships grow, your understanding and your ability to focus your energies on a specific Field Project proposal become clear.
You have three tasks during the Assessment Phase: First, completing the Interview Assignment; Second, meeting your mentor via WhatsApp or FaceTime or Skype (whichever you decided before you departed for the field); and Third, submitting a proposal for your Field Project Report.
Details of the proposal, and information on the Interview Assignment are both found as a downloadable resource below and also in your Field Journal.
There are two major types of tools that are likely to be most relevant to your project: interviews and focus groups. These tools allow the you, the researcher, to facilitate and adapt the discussion. You can follow up immediately on new information and ask for more details.
So, Interviews are used for individuals; and Focus Groups are like a group interview.
In the context of a focus group, you serve as the facilitator of a conversation that takes place between you and the group. And you can encourage the conversation to happen among members of the group.
You may use either or both of these tools for your assignment. For more information about interviews and focus groups, review the links below from the Community Toolbox.
Keep in mind as you begin your research, that the assignments that you complete during your internship are designed as learning experiences to help you better understand your community and to think and ask meaningful questions. While you may conduct a highly formal interview or focus group if you are comfortable or have prior training, it would also be appropriate to use less formalized contexts for your research. For instance, if it is the habit of staff to gather in the evening over tea in a common area, it would be appropriate to bring some prepared questions to this casual setting and, after telling them about you project, ask if it's okay to ask them a few questions. If you are working directly with members of the local community for your internship, you might consider chatting with one person or a group during a break in the day or over lunch at the field location. Just keep in mind that you should still be mindful of how you approach any sensitive topics regardless of the context.
Review the information on sensitivity and "sensitive interviewing," keeping in mind that the community you work with may be considered a vulnerable population and will need an added degree of sensitivity as you approach certain topics.
Keep in mind as you begin your research, that the assignments that you complete during your internship are designed as learning experiences to help you better understand your community and to think and ask meaningful questions. There is no requirement for you to conduct a highly formal interview or focus group unless you are comfortable with it or have prior training. For you, it might be more appropriate to use a less formal approach. For instance, if it is the habit of staff to gather in the evening over tea in a common area, it would be appropriate to bring some prepared questions to this casual setting and, after telling them about your project, ask if it's okay to ask them a few questions. If you are working directly with members of the local community for your internship, you might consider chatting with one person or a group during a break in the day or over lunch. Just keep in mind that you should still be mindful of how you approach any sensitive topics regardless of the context. And, for safety purposes, always communicate where you will be to your Host.
As you build upon the relationships and insight you began to develop during the Community Mapping assignment, ask for God to prepare the way for you to identify the people He would have you approach during this phase of your research. Pray that He would give you insight and sensitivity into the types of questions you ask and how you can ask them in a way that is sensitive and empowering to the individual and community.
To complete the Assessment Phase, you will need meet with your Mentor again to discuss your Field Project Assignment which you will proposal to the leader of the Field Project.
You have a few different goals for this Mentor Connect meeting:
Review your arrival and the Enculturation experience. What thoughts or questions do you have?
Discuss the assignment(s) below. How will the Assessment help you design a Field Project proposal?
Discuss what you have already observed.
Pray for the Field Project and the community you are serving.
Consider if another meeting is necessary before Debriefing and schedule that next time to meet.
The Field Project Assignment is designed to be the capstone of your Converge experience. As you develop your Field Project Assignment, you will draw on what you learned about culture, relationships, and poverty in the pre-departure orientation, what you learned about your host community during your Community Mapping and Interview Activity, and what you learned about empowering communities through an assets based approach to poverty alleviation.
At this point, you will have already proposed your Field Project Assignment to your Project Leader and obtained approval for the project you will be articulating in this final assignment.
For this assignment, you will design a project that could be implemented in your host community. You will articulate objectives and goals and anticipate the resources you would need and challenges you might face if you were to implement it. Keep in mind this guiding question: "If I were to move to this community, what would I do to empower the community and make a difference for the glory of God?"
Your final assignment may take a traditional form such as a document written in Word, or it may be a non-traditional submission, such as a photo-journal, podcast, website, or video. Whatever form it takes, it should include the components listed.
Before you complete your assignment, please complete the tasks below. Upon completion of your assignment, you will submit it to your Project Leader and here on the Converge Course site.
Download the Final Report Assignment instructions below.
Glance back over the pre-departure lessons on Right Relationships, Crossing Cultures, and Justice & the Greatness of God. In particular, glance over the discussion questions and think about how your expectations were similar or different from your actual experience on the field. How did the lessons prepare you for the way you approached relationship and culture during your internship? How might you have responded to questions about poverty differently in Lesson 8 if you had completed the lesson after your internship?
Go back to the videos and external links from the Enculturation and Assessment Phase pages. Review the information about assets-based community development and community building. Think about how these principles might help you in designing a project that not only solves a community problem, but does so in a way that is empowering to the community, building upon the assets and human resources that are already there.
While this assignment may feel like an academic one, don’t forget that throughout this course, you have spent time not only researching and learning about your host community, but you have spent time learning to pray and practice seeking and hearing the voice of God for direction throughout this internship. As you reflect on everything you have learned and experienced, ask God to show you ways in which you can use what you have learned to design your project. Ask Him how your field of study and your calling could be used for his glory in this project.
Now that you have reviewed what you have learned and taken the time to pray about it, you're ready to create your project. If you have not done so already, download the Field Project Assignment document to review the required components of your assignment. Once you are ready to submit it, go to the Debriefing page and submit it at the assignment link.
The Debriefing is a time for you to reflect with your Host and Mentor and to complete the final assignments of the Converge experience. Interviews with your Host and Mentor will help you process your experience and to gain valuable feedback. During this time, you will submit copies of your Field Project Report to your Host and Mentor and submit it at the assignment link below.
Begin with the Debrief Reflection.
Before the end of your internship, find time to have final debrief interviews with your Host and Mentor. Make sure to submit a copy of your Field Project Report to each of them with enough time for them to review it before the interview. If your project is not in document form, then share an electronic copy or a link to your project via email. Your final interviews will be a time to refer to what you have learned and reflected upon in your Debrief Reflection, as well as for them to provide feedback to you.