One of the things that Bethany Global University offers that is unique is the opportunity of doing a Global Internship, to live overseas for 16 months working alongside missionaries while earning your degree. But how does Global Internship prepare a student to be a missionary and how do they get there? This is where Bethany Gateways comes in.
What is Bethany Gateways?
Bethany Gateways is the missions agency of Bethany International. They have missionaries in 20+ countries. Their mission statement is to take the church to where it is not and help others to the same, which is the motivation behind Bethany Gateways.
Bethany Gateways focuses their efforts by fielding missionaries to areas populated by unreached people groups, which is classified as being <2% Christian. Once on the field, Gateways missionaries establish and engage with the local church. They not only hope to bring people to Christ, but also encourage those that they work with to be missional as well.
But, how do they plan to do all of this? Their main strategy is called Gateway Access Platforms or GAPs for short. These hubs of missionaries are located in stable regions but still in close proximity to unreached people groups. Over time, these platforms are able to launch missionaries and local partners so they can share the gospel in less stable areas while still having a safe area to return to and a community that can support them. Most of the Global Internship sites are located within the various GAP sites.
Which leads to…
How does Global Internship prepare a student to be a missionary?
First, let’s go over the basics of what Global Internship is.
On Global Internship you will:
- Live overseas as a team for 16 months at one of our Global Internship sites
- Learn a foreign language
- Partner with missionaries and local ministries to bring the Gospel to a people group
- Study social structures, religion, and worldview
- Become an interculturally minded Christian
As an Intern, you will be placed on a team that you will live with overseas. Your team is a support system for you as you are to them. They will be the ones you serve with in ministry and bounce off ideas about observations of the culture. They become part of your family.
Each of the Global Internship sites are different and provide their own unique environment, languages, cultural and religious contexts, ministry challenges, and opportunities. They each have unique qualities that provide opportunities to learn how to adapt to the culture and how to effectively contextualize the gospel and minister to the people that you are living among.
Another aspect of Global Internship that prepares a student to be a missionary is Partnership Development. This is done before you go overseas and gives you a chance to fundraise and raise up a prayer support team. It is something critical to know how to do before going overseas, especially if you are wanting to go for long-term missions later on.
How does Bethany Gateways and Global Internship intersect?
Bethany Gateways is the agency that students go through to go on Global Internship. They are the ones who help you through the process of fundraising and answer questions about what to know before going overseas, as well as any other questions or concerns that you may have while on the field.
During Global Internship, various Gateways staff go and visit students, bringing encouragement and making sure everything is going as smooth as possible. Also, all of the staff have time each week when they pray for all of the students overseas. Knowing that there is support from the sending agency is really encouraging to the students.
When the students return from overseas, Bethany Gateways provides Global Internship debriefing and gives the students support throughout the transition back to the American culture. They also provide information of opportunities of how to go out with them long-term after graduation.