Thursday, June 7, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions

I leave tomorrow morning! 
I've been getting a lot of the same questions from people these past few days regarding my internship, so I decided I would do this post in FAQ format. 

Who are you going with?
Although the HNGR (Human Needs and Global Resources) program is through Wheaton College, I go alone, not with a group. There are 20 other students doing a 6 month internship like I am, but in different countries, with different organizations, and different academic majors.

Who are you staying with?
I'll be staying with a host Cambodian family for at least the first month or so. 

What will you be doing specifically?
This is all I know at this point: 
1. Interning with World Relief in communications--photojournalism, helping with information documentation and publication in their various human development programs and working with church relations as they seek to empower the local church
2. Taking classes through the Wheaton HNGR program: Global Christian Perspectives, Anthropology, and Development. (Includes course reading, reflection papers, an ethnographical study of a location, and a pastoral interview).
3. An Independent Study Project through the Wheaton Communications department.

When do you go and come back?
I leave Tokyo June 9 and get back to Tokyo December 9, traveling through Korea. I will travel to the United States a few weeks later to go back to school for one more semester before graduating.

Why not? Or is that not a good enough answer. I signed up for HNGR originally for various reasons. I couldn't stay put in Wheaton for all 4 years, I wanted to experience poverty and social justice work in the developing world first hand, I wanted to apply my academic interest to practical social development, and I wanted to do something on my own, giving God the opportunity to work in and through my life and teach me crazy things. I find my primary purposes at this point to be to learn and to serve. I want to listen for how God wants me to serve and for what He has to teach me through new cultures, relationships, work experience, and perspectives.

What have you been doing during this preparatory time between school and HNGR? 
Reading, writing papers, touring with Frances, renewing my alien registration/ Japanese residency, Red cross certification, US state department registration, filling out several forms, packing, catching up with old friends, visiting up north, MC-ing and performing in a concert, hanging with my family, celebrating birthdays, graduations, and engagements, hanging with my family, eating delicious food, childcare, and other various activities

Photo taken by Philip Foxwell

Photo taken by Hikari Morimoto

Is it dangerous?
Answer for my father: Of course not, because I will be accompanied by 2 large, armed guards at all times, and whenever I step outside my padlocked concrete house, I will wear my sandwich board that says “You touch me, my Daddy's coming after you!” (And he would too... I think the movie Taken was based on him)
For everyone else: Any poor urban setting can present danger and any circumstance can pose a possible risk, but with common sense, preventative measures, a safety-conscious organization like World Relief, and the grace of God, I am not worried

What are you excited for?
A lot of people have asked me this question. I am very excited, but I don't know what I am excited about exactly. I hope to hear lots of amazing stories and make some of my own. I'm excited to learn more about the world and myself and others and God...also I hear they have great coffee...that's exciting.

What are you nervous/fearful about?
Nothing. I'm fearless. Nervousness and fear are not words in my dictionary. (Last night I combatted a giant spider in the bathroom with a kind of valour that has not been seen in these parts for centuries). Well...I'd like to be able to say that I am ready to confront every obstacle and overcome every emotion, but it's not true. (Maybe my biggest fear should be that people will not understand my sarcasm?) In all seriousness, what I fear is not any concrete danger or huge disaster. I fear letting people down. I know it just shows lack of faith on my part to fear people's disappointment, annoyance, or confrontation, and to think that the opinions of people matter in my own self worth, but it still worries me. I worry that I will disappoint the people I have come to work for and with. I fear that I will overwhelm people. I fear that I will underwhelm people. I fear that I will not live up to something, although I'm not sure what, and that my relationships with the people in my life, wherever they are, will suffer, and this all eats away at me until I have no confidence. I know that with the love of God we don't have to fear anything, in fact we are commanded not to fear so many times. I am trying to live with confidence in this truth. But I'm just trying to be honest about my fearful little heart. 

What do you want to do with your life after HNGR and graduation?

Get back to me in approximately 24 years.

MOST frequently asked question: So, are you ready for HNGR?!

Am I ready for an adventure in a new place, learning new things and meeting new people? YEAH! Did I accomplish my whole check list of things to do before leaving? Pretty much. Am I actually prepared for and aware of everything I am about to encounter? Of course not, but if I knew all things, then what would be the point in going?


  1. You're fantastic. No one will understand your sarcasm. They don't think I'm funny.

    But you're going to do so great! Tell me absolutely everything!

    1. Hate to tell you shelby, but no one here thinks you're funny either...

      Don't worry Mari, they'll think you're HILARIOUS.

  2. This sounds very exciting--and perfect for you, Marisa! Go out and have YET ANOTHER life-changing experience--or, most likely, several, as you also change the lives of those around you.