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Internship program enticing way to test gifts


Dec 28, 2004
-by Dan Dyck


Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker Cheryl Woelk (Zion MC, Sask.), Witness intern Allison Pauls (Winkler Bergthaler, MC), Jae-Young Lee, Peace Program Coordinator at the Korea Anabaptist Center, and CMU professor Harry Huebner pause for a photo while in between Huebner’s speaking engagements. Jae-Young Lee is a graduate of CMU and Eastern Mennonite University.

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Winnipeg, Man.— When you mix equal parts of mission, school, and an international location, exciting seeds are planted.

An early plan of Mennonite Church Canada Witness was to offer mission internships to students and others as a way of experiencing international ministry and testing individual’s interests and gifts in another setting.

The seeds of those early plans are taking root is in Seoul, South Korea, where the Korea Anabaptist Center (KAC) operates a ministry that networks and connects with local people and families. Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker, Tim Froese (Jubilee MC, Man.), is co-director of the Center, founded in 2001.

This past fall KAC opened an English language institute called Connexus where interns are now teaching. Jeremy Martens (Steinbach MC, Man.) is an intern completing his practicum assignment as a student of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). Allison Pauls (Winkler Bergthaler MC, Man.) is a CMU graduate who is further testing her gifts in this setting. Gina Loewen (Charleswood MC, Man.), a trained linguist, is teaching English as part of her internship ministry with KAC. Cheryl Woelk (Zion MC, Sask.), now in her third year at KAC, began as an intern and has subsequently extended her term as a Witness worker.

Allison Pauls says visiting other cultures is important, but living in other cultures “… helps create important relationships that can be used to build bridges and reduce conflict because we understand where people are coming from and why they do the things the way they do.”

Interns have also been placed in Africa and South America. Debbi Martens (Aberdeen Mennonite Church, Sask.) is working at the Bethany Children’s Home in Umtata, South Africa. Heather Shantz (St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, Ont.) is working at the La Casa Grande orphanage in Benin. Myléne Melançon (Joliette Evangelical Mennonite Church, Que.) is using her recent conflict transformation training from CMU to work with people displaced by the ongoing civil war in Colombia.

Janet Plenert, executive director of International Ministries for Mennonite Church Canada, said, “While many short term mission programs are available today, the MC Canada Witness Intern program offers participants the opportunity to connect with long term ministries and international church partners. They benefit from and build on long term relationships that are important to MC Canada congregations. Whether participants hear God calling them into further international service, into local church ministry, or into other career paths, this program shapes and impacts their understanding of the world and God’s activity in it.”