Summer 2022 Internships

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

Internship Activities in Catania

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

  • Engaging refugees directly on the streets of Catania or within the team’s ministry center
    • Participate in activities to engage individuals and groups of refugees, including games, courses, bike repairs, cookouts, and other activities.
    • Share your testimony and the Gospel using Search Party ministry tools
  • Discipling new and existing individuals and 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 biblical discovery process.
  • Experience the life of a new missionary by taking your first steps in learning the Italian language.

Community Garden Internship

In addition, there is one position available working within the Catania community garden. The intern will learn how to engage the community in evangelism and discipleship through the use and maintenance of a community garden. They will learn the basics of small scale intensive agriculture and have the opportunity to work alongside other local apprentices and church members. It is our goal for participating interns to finish the program better equipped to engage their own communities using an agricultural program.

Internship Activities in Rome

At this time, we have one internship position available in Rome. Through the internship there will be several types of roles and activities:

  • Engaging refugees as well as directly on the streets of Rome or within a ministry center of a local Italian church.
    • Participate in activities to engage individuals and groups of refugees, including English courses, food distribution, and other activities.
    • Share your testimony and the Gospel using Search Party ministry tools
  • Discipling new and existing individuals and 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 biblical discovery process.

In addition to working with Muslims, you will likely also have the opportunity to interact with people from other religious backgrounds, including Catholics and Hindus.

Funding

Funding for your internship comes through a variety of means including personal funds or raising support for your expenses while in Italy.  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. A final budget will be provided in spring 2022.

CategoryMonthly Budget in Dollars
Housing, Utilities, Phone, Internet$600
Groceries, Living expenses$330
Italian school$300
Transportation$20
Total$1250

We can provide couples and families a budget based on their specific family situation.

Requirements

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 from Italy.
  • You must be able to fund your time in Italy and provide medical insurance that is valid in Italy 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 Catania staff.
  • You must have three non-family references who can discuss your character and are familiar with your desire to enter the internship program.
  • The Catania staff must then approve your application.

You can get started by filling out the internship registration form on our website.  Once we have received your application, we will be in touch to discuss your next steps.

Keep reading below for additional information about an internship in Italy!

Q&A

Ministry Overview

We are asking God to use us to start a discipleship movement among refugees from a Muslim background.  You may be asking yourself, what is a discipleship movement?  We didn’t create these videos, but these two on YouTube may help explain further what we mean when we refer to a discipleship movement:

There are refugees coming into Italy on a regular basic, sometimes even hundreds or thousands in a month’s time.  We believe that this presents 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 a 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.

How is this happening in Catania?

Prayer:  First, we regularly pray that God will show us leaders within the refugee community and that He will open up opportunities to engage the community in helpful ways.

Community engagement and person of peace:  Next, we look to engage the refugee community and sow the seed of the Gospel, looking for a person of peace.  We ask God to reveal a leader within the refugee community who is open, willing to try to understand and obey God through the Scriptures, and willing to share what they have learned.

Discipleship to conversion:  We then use a discovery-based Bible study process called a 3/3rds Group to teach both the person of peace and their community to obey the Scriptures, and ultimately to follow Jesus.

Mentoring and leadership development:  Disciples of Jesus should make more disciples of Jesus, so we teach those that we have reached to follow the process above.  To pray, engage the community, identify a person of peace, and disciple that person and their community.

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, Senegal, and other African countries.  You may also come across people from Bangladesh, Egypt, Sudan, 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, here 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 of Catania and Rome and possibly 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. Learning the Italian language through a formal training program.

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 another language, you may be a significant asset to the team as many of the African refugees speak French, Arabic, or other languages.

I’ve never had any significant interactions with Muslims before.  What do I say?

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

In addition, we highly recommend these books for further reading on working with Muslims and about the type of ministry work happening in Italy:

Is it safe to work amongst Muslims in Sicily?

Neither we, nor our Sicilian partners, have experienced violence while working amongst the refugee population.  It is important to remember to be wise about publicly broadcasting the nature of our work as there may be nefarious individuals who may try to learn more about what we are doing.  While we cannot, of course, guarantee safety, we do believe that it is generally a safe environment for teams to join the work in Sicily.