Internship Program

The Search Party team is taking applications for internships.  If you would like to learn more about working with refugees, connecting with people from other religious backgrounds, and what it means to serve God in this context, this may be the perfect opportunity for you.

The team is offering summertime 2-month internships as well as spring and fall 3-month internships.  The dates will be:

Spring: February 20th – May 7th
Summer: June 1st – July 31st
Fall: September 15th – November 19th

During these times, there will be several types of roles and activities:

  • Engaging refugees directly in initial Gospel conversations.
  • Leading short-term teams onto the streets, and possibly also into the refugee camps:
    • Train short-term team participants to engage with refugees.
    • Lead groups of 2-3 onto the streets.
    • Debrief the group following the activity and determine ways to improve for subsequent times in the streets or in the camps.
  • Discipling new and existing groups who have expressed an interest in pursuing God through the scriptural stories
    • Begin new studies with interested individuals and groups using the 3/3rds Group process
    • Identify leaders within the newly formed groups
    • Train the identified leaders to take responsibility for the groups
  • Hospitality and logistics

Manage logistics for intern team members including food, lodging, and other logistics details to allow other teammates the freedom to continue the work required.

Funding for your internship comes through a variety of means including personal funds or raising support for your expenses.  An example monthly budget is available below for a single person living with roommates. This budget is intended as an example and is subject to change based on variables such as exchange rates, season, and availability.

CategoryMonthly Budget in Dollars
Housing, Utilities, Phone, Internet$600
Groceries, Living Expenses$565
Transportation$65
Total$1230

If needed, we can provide couples and families a budget based on their specific family situation.

Requirements for the program include the following:

  • You must be 18 or older with a passport valid more than six months from your date of departure.
  • Ability to demonstrate how your reason for wanting to do the internship position align with the internship position description.
  • You must be able to fund your own expenses and provide medical insurance that is valid in the country where you are working and includes medevac coverage.  Details are found in the Q&A below.
  • Your application must be accepted and you must successfully complete interviews administered by your organization and the Search Party team.
  • You must have three non-family references who can discuss your character and are familiar with your desire to enter the internship program.
  • Complete a 6-week mandatory training program.
  • The Search Party team must then approve your application.

You can get started by registering for a user account on our website.  Once your account has been approved, you will need to fill out the application and we will be in touch to discuss your next steps.

Keep reading below for additional information about an internship!

Ministry Overview

We are asking God to use us to start a discipleship movement among refugees in Italy. You may wonder, what is a discipleship movement? These aren’t our videos, but these two videos on YouTube may help explain further what we mean when we talk about a discipleship movement:

Many refugees have come to Italy, hundreds of thousands in the last few years. We believe that there is a window of opportunity to connect with those who have come and who may then carry the message of the Gospel with them as they travel further, or possibly someday back to their homelands, should they return home. Our desire is not only see the discipleship movement happen here, but due to the transient nature of the immigrants and refugees, we look forward to seeing the Gospel carried directly into the heart of the places where these disciples will travel.

Where are the refugees from?

There are refugees coming from many countries throughout Africa and the Middle East.  The largest groups arriving recently in Sicily come from countries such as Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Gambia, and other African countries.  However, you may also come across people from Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, or Afghanistan. To see the most recent information on the refugees arriving by boat, look at this resource from the UNHCR. We would also encourage you to look up more specific information about the country of origin on either Operation World’s website or Joshua Project.

What is the age and gender make-up / distribution of the refugees?

While specific statistics are not available, our experience and observations are that the majority of the refugees are men between ages 20-40.  We do know that there are also a significant number of women and children within the refugee population, but these people are heavily protected and guarded by the Italian government, especially the children.

What misconceptions about refugees should be dispelled before coming to Sicily?

The issue of refugees and displaced people can be difficult to understand, especially with all that is now happening around the world.  We have created a document with answers to common misconceptions about refugees coming to Italy. 

One of the most important aspects of ministering to refugees is empathizing with them and being sensitive towards the difficult journey they have been on to arrive in Italy. We recommend watching a short documentary about refugees to Italy. Though there are many on YouTube, this video is a 30 minute video that is an excellent resource.

How will interns be involved?

There are four primary activities that interns will be involved in this ministry in the summer.

  1. Routinely pray, both individually and corporately, that God will reveal those who want to learn more about Jesus and follow him.
  2. Personally meeting and sharing your faith with refugees on the streets, and at times in the camps as well as leading short-term teams to do the same.
  3. Starting 3/3rds Groups with people who show an interest in learning more about God’s plan for their lives.
  4. Assisting in day-to-day living by extending hospitality to the rest of the team.

We anticipate that each person in the internship program will participate in each of the activities above, although each person will likely have a specialization in one or more of the activities, depending on your personal giftings.  These will be considered focus areas and expressed areas of interest are reflected in the table below

The following table provides additional insight into specific plans for each of the activities and shows individuals who have expressed an interest in each area. 

What languages do the refugees speak?  Will we be able to speak with them in English?

As you might expect, there are many different languages and dialects spoken amongst the refugees.  However, in our experience, we are frequently able to communicate with the refugees in English. This is not always the case, but we have frequently found that, even if one is not able to speak in English, another person within a group can speak English well enough to help translate.  On the other hand, if you happen to speak French, you will be a great asset to the team as many of the African refugees speak French.

I’ve never had any significant interactions with people from other faiths before.  What do I say?

We understand, but you should not let this deter you!  We will teach you through a required 6-lesson, pre-trip training.  What you learn in the training will be applicable both at home as well as overseas  When you land, you will be ready to engage with people on the streets and in the facilities, although we will regularly practice and hone our skills.

You will be connected to our training program once you are accepted to the internship program.  The training program consists of six sessions for approximately 15 hours of required training. Interns who have not completed the training should not travel until the training is complete.

In addition, we highly recommend these books for further reading about the type of ministry work that you will be joining:

Is it safe to work amongst the refugees?

Neither we, nor our Sicilian partners, have experienced violence while working amongst the refugee population. While we cannot, of course, guarantee safety, we do believe that it is generally a safe environment for interns to come and join the work.

Acceptance and Preparation Process

Each applicant intern will go through an acceptance and preparation process in advance of the internship.  These steps outline that process:

  1. Register for an account on the website.
  2. Read this program document and understand the plan for the internship.
  3. Fill out your internship application online on the website.
  4. Encourage each of your references to enter their reference information as quickly as possible.
  5. Schedule and complete an online interview with a Search Party team member.
  6. Receive your acceptance for the internship from a Search Party team member and book your flights!
  7. Fundraising, fundraising, fundraising.
  8. Complete the required pre-field training.
  9. Arrive and start your internship!

Funding

The projected budget per month is approximately $1,230 and is intended to cover lodging, food, transportation, and entry fees to a few fun activities in the summer.  Prorated payments for portions of a month are only available when staying for 14 days or less over a one-month period.

You are required to send a non-refundable payment for startup and lodging at least four weeks in advance of the start of your internship.  You can calculate the total cost of your trip using this monthly budgeting tool.

You are required to send the total amount of your lodging and startup groceries 4 weeks in advance of arriving at your internship.  Each month where you will be in-country more than 14 days, you should send $600. For fewer days in the month, we will prorate the amount for the lodging.

In addition, you will be required to send $60 for your first groceries in the home, which will be purchased for you in advance of your arrival.

As an example, if your internship will last for 3 months, you should pay a total of $1,860 in advance, broken down in this way:

  • 3 months x $600 per month = $1,800.
  • 1 x $60 = $60

Payment should be made by sending a check made out to:

Millennium Relief and Development Services

To this address:

Millennium Relief and Development Services
5233 Bellaire Blvd, Suite B-358 
Bellaire, TX 77401

Include a note for whom payment is being made and that the funds should be applied to this account code:

AHFellows-Eur.004

For all other expenses besides lodging and initial food as noted above, each intern will be responsible to bring or receive their own money through the ATM in euros and manage their budget for food, transportation, and other personal items.  We expect that, as everyone is living together, an equal amount of money will be given by each intern living in the home each month for groceries. As you may have already seen, we believe a fair budget per groceries per month is 300 euro, or approximately $350, depending on the exchange rate.

Insurance

You must be able to cover and pay for your health care while traveling.  We recommend contacting your health insurance carrier to make sure that you are covered while in Italy and are covered in the case of emergency and need to be transported to another location for care.  You must provide proof of insurance via the website before traveling to Italy.