This internship was an experience that was so much more than just learning about an organization or a specific area of ministry.
As I think about the time I spent in Arizona with the Joni and Friends Internship Program, it is something that leaves me truly in awe of how God is so present in our lives, even in the times when we think He is silent or absent. This internship was an experience that was so much more than just learning about an organization or a specific area of ministry. Rather it was a unique opportunity that showed me that when we choose to do and say YES to the things God has called us to – the things He will do with it are beyond what we could think of ourselves.
One of the main reasons I am so passionate about disability ministry is because I have a younger brother who has Down syndrome. As a sibling of someone with special needs, at a young age and into my teenage years, I witnessed things in the medical field, education system, and through human resources, that greatly affected my brother negatively. As I approach my final year of college as a Communication Major, I have a heart to advocate for, and alongside families that have children with special needs, and hope to use the experiences of my brother and our family to help other families.
Pastor and author Levi Lusko once said, “The fingerprints of God are best observed in the rearview mirror.”
I love that quote, because it speaks to the reality that often we don’t or can’t recognize how God is working in our lives in the moment. In seasons of trials or hardship, seeing God’s hand and purpose can be difficult, but scripture says in Romans 8:28, “He makes all things work together for our good.” When we are out of the trial and we look back, we are able to see how His hand has been present all along, working all things for our good.
“The fingerprints of God were clearly there all along.”
Through my experiences with my brother, I look back and realize how I was being prepared for so much of what I encountered during this internship, and I see how the fingerprints of God were clearly there all along. I realize too that they are present in each one of our lives…even if at times they are hard to see.
Being a part of this intern team has been a blessing in so many different ways by the friendships created, fellowship experienced, and leadership displayed. Our time in Arizona and the Dominican Republic, though short and sweet, was truly a life changing period of time as every day was a gift in its own unique way.
As my team lead said on day two of the internship, “The Joni and Friends internship is a trajectory-changer.” This experience taught me, challenged me, and ultimately gave me a fresh vision or glimpse if you will, of what God wants me to do next in this coming season of my life. I am so thankful for the privilege to have been a part of the Arizona Internship.
Written By—Claudia Placencia, Joni and Friends Intern
Are you a student or young professional looking to learn more about serving people with disabilities? Our internship program will give you hands-on experience with ministering to people and families affected by disability!