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Nine College Students Emphasize Love and Service this Summer

by Mary Beth Coudal

A socio-economically, racially, and ethnically diverse group, of 9 young adults.
Back row from left: Joy J. Harrison, Nichol Luebrun, Ilunga "Raissa" Kiboko, Ashita Elanko, Saul Montiel. Front row from left: Jeannette Nez, Paul H. Turner, Joe Riddle, Rebekah Swineford.
Image by: Mary Beth Coudal
Source: GBGM Administration
Joy Harrison, Nichol Luebrun, and Joe Riddle.
"We as young people should be the leaders in reaching out and serving others." Summer Interns Joy Harrison, Nichol Luebrun, and Joe Riddle share stories at Stony Point Retreat Center.
Image by: Mary Beth Coudal
Source: GBGM Administration

New York, NY, June 2, 2009--"We as young people should be leaders in reaching out and serving others," Joe Riddle said. Mr. Riddle is one of nine Summer Interns going to work at United Methodist-related community centers and congregations. "I believe that love is the answer, love will find a way."

The young adults--a socio-economically, racially, and ethnically diverse group--shared their beliefs, stories, songs, and laughter, and played football at their orientation last week. They were selected to participate in Global Ministries' Summer Intern program based on applications received in the spring.

The young people met at Stony Point Retreat Center in Stony Point, New York, to get to know one another; learn about their work over the next two months; and hear about the wide range of Global Ministries' work. Upon completing their assignments at the end of July, the Summer Interns will return to New York City for several days to share what they've learned.

The Summer Interns will serve with children, homeless adults, and marginalized communities in centers around the United States. The names of the 2009 Summer Interns and their places of assignment follow:

  • Ashita Elanko from Virginia will become an instructor at the Asian Women's Resources Center in San Francisco, California. She will mentor the children from the Chinese community who attend the summer program.
  • Joy Harrison from New England will serve as the Assistant Summer Camp Instructor at North Rampart Community Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. She will help youth develop study skills and self-esteem.
  • Ilunga "Raissa" Kiboko from Iowa will also be serving as an Assistant Summer Camp Instructor at North Rampart Community Center, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Nicole Luebrun from California-Pacific will be working at First Grace Community Alliance in New Orleans, Louisiana. As the Hagar's House Summer Intern, she will organize, manage, and assist with donations to the women's shelter.
  • Saul Montiel from Desert Southwest will tutor children in English at Amor y Paz Iglesia Metodista Unida in Winchester, Virginia. Working with the Niños de Dios program, he will organize recreational activities and teach kids healthy eating habits.
  • Jeannette Nez from Texas will serve in the Upper Sand Mountain Parish in Sylvania, Alabama. She will help with summer camp activities and volunteer teams that visit the eight churches that make up the Upper Sand Mountain Parish.
  • Joseph Riddle from North Alabama will minister to children from the Cherokee community. He will also help organize the volunteers who visit Cookson Hills United Methodist Mission in Cookson, Oklahoma.
  • Rebekah Swineford from Western Pennsylvania will be a Summer Intern at Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church in Alexandria, Virginia. She will empower people who have limited incomes with food and clothing distributions and childrens' summer activities.
  • Paul Turner from East Ohio will work at Travis Park United Methodist Church Corazon Ministry in San Antonio, Texas. He will be a part of the supportive community for homeless people at the center, giving hospitality and hope.

This is Global Ministries' second annual Summer Intern program. Popular in the 1980s and 1990s, the Summer Intern program ceased in 2000 when the mission agency shifted its focus to longer-term mission opportunities for young adults.

"Working in new, often unfamiliar environments offers young people opportunities to experience first-hand how mission functions in a world of diversity," said Rev. Suzanne Field-Rabb, youth and young adult ministries executive at the mission agency. "Each placement involves some element of social justice, which allows interns to become engaged with the church in action in eradicating injustice."

Summer Interns are between the ages of 18 to 25 and have completed at least one year of college. They receive a $2,500 stipend, the cost of travel to and from their place of assignment, and room and board. In exchange, they agree to tell the story of their encounter with social justice and witness to their faith through The United Methodist Church.

In 2008, Meredith Faggart from North Carolina was one of 15 Summer Interns; she worked at Cookson Hills in Oklahoma with the Cherokee people. "I'm definitely considering the Mission Intern program after I graduate from college in 2011," Ms. Faggart says. The Mission Intern program is a three-year missionary commitment wherein the young person works half the time internationally and the other half, nationally.

"I believe that through this program I will learn to serve and build a closer relationship with God," said Summer Intern Ashita Elanko. "I can help the children I will work with by sharing my belief in God, and this could encourage them to develop and grow more as Christians."

For information on how you can become or support a young adult missionary through Global Ministries, click: Young Adults in Mission.

For more information on the Summer Intern Program, contact Rev. Field-Rabb at


Date posted: Jun 02, 2009