December 27, 2019
The "Wheaties in the World" MyWheaton blogs feature students' internship experiences over the past summer.
Wheaties in the World: Alex Mayer
Alex Mayer '21 is a double major in business and economics and music from Plainfield, IL. In this MyWheaton blog post, Alex shares his experience interning this summer with OneWay Ministries (OWM).
Where was your internship? Do you think your location heavily affected your experience?
My internship was in Aurora, IL, which is about 30 minutes from my home. As an unpaid internship, it allowed me to commute from home while saving on living costs and still giving me the opportunity to enjoy the summer with the interns. I’m thankful for the resources provided by the Center for Vocation and Career (CVC) that made this summer internship possible.
What were your day-to-day responsibilities?
This summer, I was a Finance Operations and Fundraising Intern. I was responsible for creating and updating 80 pages worth of workflows for the finance team using Salesforce, Quickbooks, and the Google Suite. This gave me the opportunity to observe each of the five members of the team and learn the organizational structure of a finance team within the context of a non-profit organization.
When I was not working within the finance department, I managed several fundraising projects for OneWay Africa, a ministry of OneWay that mobilizes Ghanian Christians through audio units, pastoral training, and a missions school while also providing clean access to drinking water. I was blessed to see the generosity of those involved with the fundraisers, which collectively raised almost $17,000 within 9 weeks.
What was most challenging about the experience?
As opposed to previous years, the intern director intentionally recruited a smaller number of interns in order to increase focus on the projects. Furthermore, one of my supervisors had to leave for the summer due to a family emergency. This was challenging because I was constantly switching between two different roles. In the end, it pushed me to learn new skills, think strategically about fundraisers, and to improve current processes.
What was most influential to you, both for the rest of your time at Wheaton and beyond?
Every day, the staff and interns would begin the day with prayer. I was significantly impacted by the weekly Bible studies, prayer, and mentorship opportunities. I had the privilege of meeting weekly with the director of Prayercast, a ministry that activates worldwide prayer and worship through media and the arts. Prayercast has created a video for every nation in the world with indigenous people praying in the short videos. I was encouraged to pray for believers around the world and found myself thankful for the religious freedom we often take for granted in America.
At the beginning of the summer, the interns were challenged with our Bible study habits. We only read about 10-20 verses per week and I realized the importance of closely reading the Bible. My eyes were opened to how often I interpret the Bible to fit what I want to hear rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to be the teacher. I’ve attended several Bible studies where I’ve been asked “How does this relate to YOU? What do YOU think about this passage? What am I getting out of this?” We are often asked this before understanding the cultural and historical context. I learned the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to be the teacher rather than molding the Bible into the context of my own interpretation.
Do you think you'll pursue similar workplace experiences in the future? Why or why not?
In the future, I could see myself in a similar workplace. While this internship experience confirmed that I am not interested in pursuing finance, it also confirmed my interest in the innovation and creativity of developing projects and new systems.
What was your favorite part?
My favorite part of the internship was getting to know all of the staff and interns! I had the chance to get to know other students from all around the U.S. hoping to pursue Jesus and develop professionally. The frequent pool parties and water volleyball at the founders’ house (A Wheaton Alumni couple) were also a highlight.
Lastly, how did your internship impact your view of ministry?
In American church culture, we often sing a couple worship songs, listen to a pastor, maybe attend a small group, and repeat. I realized this way of worshipping God is somewhat limiting. Where in the Bible did Jesus build a building and try to get as many seats filled as possible? From stories like the woman at the well (John 4) to Jesus completing miracles, He was always out in the community and interacting with those and transcending cultural expectations. Jesus’ radical love, generosity, and compassion serve as a beautiful example to love our neighbors well, even if they are different from ourselves, and to live by the Spirit beyond the church walls.
Find out more about Wheaton’s internships at the Center for Vocation and Career.