“Every single one of you is here for a reason this summer: to use your gifts to make a difference for God’s Kingdom and glorify Him.”
Even though Edward Graham, Chief Operating Officer of Samaritan’s Purse, was speaking to a room full of 72 eager college students, it felt like he was only talking to me. His words pierced my soul, and I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty.
Guilty that five months prior, I had applied to the Samaritan’s Purse Global Internship Program on a whim days before it closed. With no thought or care. It wasn’t the internship I had longed for or even wanted.
For years, I had dreamed of interning in Washington D.C. and rubbing shoulders with politicians. Small-town Boone, North Carolina was certainly not going to fit that picturesque dream.
Yet there I was, sitting in the auditorium at Samaritan’s Purse International Headquarters (IHQ), shoulder-to-shoulder with other college students who all eagerly shared with one another their seemingly perfect story of coming to Samaritan’s Purse.
They were all passionate about the organization, and I envied it. Sure, I liked Samaritan’s Purse and thought their work was encouraging, but my heart wasn’t in it.
It was hard to believe that I was there for a reason.
It was even harder to believe that my work would make a tangible difference in lives worldwide.
I was surrounded by interns who would serve overseas in countries like Vietnam, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They would work in cyber security, global health, and water engineering and impact lives directly.
Meanwhile, I was placed in the Communications department at IHQ serving as the writing and editing intern. Would my work really make a difference? Or was Graham overconfident in our abilities? My abilities?
My skillset was put to the test a few short weeks later. When my supervisor handed me the 45-page On Call magazine to edit, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. I had never edited anything of that length before.
Despite my nerves, I grabbed my brand-new red pen from my desk, confident that I wouldn’t need it.
But before long, red ink slowly marked the pages. Dr. Carrington’s words from Style and Mechanics—”redundant,” “unnecessary,” “tighten this up”—echoed in the back of my mind as I thoroughly edited the magazine.
Once I was finished, I nervously presented the magazine to my supervisor, my foot anxiously tapping the floor in a steady rhythm as he looked over my edits.
“These are great edits. Some of these I didn’t even catch. Keep up the good work,” he said when he finished.
With a single exhale, the breath, which I didn’t realize I was holding, released from my lungs in a whoosh, and my foot stilled.
Maybe, just maybe, I could do this after all.
I just needed to trust the Lord’s calling in my life and simply rest in where He had placed me for the summer.
In the coming weeks, I wrote copy for the PrayerPoint magazine, edited the Christmas Gift Catalog, and wrote and edited stories covering the work Samaritan’s Purse was doing in Ukraine.
These opportunities further strengthened my writing and editing abilities, but more importantly, reminded me of how blessed I was to be interning at Samaritan’s Purse.
Five weeks into my internship, I flew to Mississippi on a last-minute work trip to gather audio from a ceremony dedicated to giving two families brand-new homes. Both families had lost everything in the devastating tornadoes that blew through their town in March and were left with no belongings or hope for the future.
During the ceremony, my coworker handed the two new homeowners a picture frame containing a paper bill that displayed the costs of the construction project. But on the total line, stamped in bright, red ink, was one simple phrase: “Paid in full.” My coworker described the symbolism behind the ink in that it was a tangible expression of Christ’s love for us on the Cross, in which He paid the debts of our sin and expected nothing in return.
As tears flowed down the homeowners’ cheeks, my own vision began to blur as I soaked in the moment before me.
This was what it was all about—sharing God’s love for hurting people worldwide, no matter the cost.
A few days later, I returned to Boone with a full heart and an eager spirit. I was ready to conquer the last half of my internship, open to whatever the Lord had in store.
When my department learned about a thirteen-year-old boy from Colorado who raised $10,000 for Samaritan’s Purse to build a water well in an impoverished community overseas, my team jumped on the opportunity to share his story.
After interviewing both the teen and his family, I had all the content I needed to write an encouraging story about his unshakable faith and how the money would be used. My fingers should have flown across the keyboard. It should have been an easy writing piece.
Instead, my fingers were still, my mind a blank slate. I felt inadequate to write his story, knowing people worldwide would read it. There had to be someone better who could do it.
But ultimately, it had nothing to do with me. It had everything to do with simply sharing God’s sovereignty. It wasn’t about my words. It wasn’t about my glory.
It was about His.
On my last day at Samaritan’s Purse, tears flooded my eyes as I hugged my coworkers and new friends goodbye. In just two months, they had become some of the dearest people in my life. I reluctantly turned my badge into HR and gave one final look at the girl smiling in the picture—she had no idea what the coming months would hold.
As I drove away, the campus in my rearview mirror, Edward Graham’s words from that very first day echoed through my mind.
Thank you, Jesus, for the most rewarding summer of my life.