Missions Agencies

Bethany Gateways: The Missions Agency for BGU Students

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Written by Kasey Norman

One of the unique things that Bethany Global University (BGU) offers is the opportunity of doing Global Internship. You get to live overseas for 16 months and work alongside missionaries while earning your degree. But, how does Global Internship combine school work with missions work and how do students get overseas?

This is where Bethany Global University and Bethany Gateways come together.

As a senior who has gone through the Global Internship program, I have been able to see these two at work together. Bethany Gateways comes alongside the students from the beginning of figuring out where you will go on internship, to providing information on how to effectively raise funds and finally debriefing after returning from the field. They even check in on you as you are overseas. BGU provides online classes to continue working on your degree.

So, let’s take a deeper look at what Bethany Gateways is and what they provide.

Bethany Gateways Missions Agency

Bethany Gateways is the missions agency of Bethany International. They have missionaries in 20+ countries and they work to meet their mission statement: to take the church to where it is not and help others to the same.

Bethany Gateways focuses their efforts in different ways by:

  • Fielding missionaries to areas populated by unreached people groups (<2% Christian)
  • Establishing and engaging with the local church
  • Encouraging those that they work with to be missional
  • Praying weekly for their missionaries, including interns on Global Internship
  • Having a Member Care team that helps maintain the well-being of the missionary
  • Coordinating home visits for long-term missionaries
  • Providing help with raising funds
  • Debrief after returning from the field

If you would like to learn more about how missions agencies work, take a look at this blog post.

In my experience with Gateways, I was very appreciative of how they were able to help me out when I got into a rut of raising funds. There was staff available to talk with me to discuss where I felt stuck. So, even though I felt overwhelmed with the task of raising support, the staff at Gateways was there for me. And, since I have been back, they have helped in the debriefing process to make our readapting to the American culture go as smooth as possible.

How BGU Works With Gateways to Deliver Classes

When you go on Global Internship, you get the chance to continue your studies from BGU through online classes. The classes are broken up among four semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer, Fall) and build upon each other.

These classes are adapted for each site (as best as possible) and range on subject. Here are some examples of classes overseas:

  • Language Learning: During the first four months you will have a language intensive, spending nearly 20 hours a week learning the local language. Then, for the remaining three semesters, you will have a tutor to help with one-on-one studying. This gives you a chance to better learn the language to be able to communicate.
  • Ethnography: Ethnography is the study of culture. Each semester there is a broad subject of culture with various sub-topics to research on the field. The best part of this class is that you get to share your observations with other classmates at different Global Internship sites. In turn, you get to compare and contrast the different cultures.
  • Bible: Each semester you get the chance to dig into one of the epistles of Paul. Each week you will have various study questions to answer about the passage. You then have a chance to see ways that it can apply to your location.
  • Modules: In the middle of most semesters there will be a modular class that will look at different aspects of the culture. These include the history of the country and contextualizing the gospel for the people you are ministering to. These classes help break up a little bit of the monotony of the normal classes and bring something fresh to study.

This is what language learning looked like for me during my first semester. So many words to learn!

Each of these classes were able to help me adapt to the culture. It also showed ways that I could minister effectively to the people I was with. Classes, like ethnography, helped me go out and talk with people in our neighborhood to learn more about the culture. It also helped by building friendships our neighbors that could be potential doors for the gospel.

How BGU and Gateways Come Together to Deliver the Global Internship

Since BGU and Gateways are part of the same organization of Bethany International there is a constant collaborative effort to help students get the most out of the Global Internship. Most Gateways staff and missions force are BGU alumni and many BGU graduates choose to work with Gateways as their missions agency after graduation.

Some of the ways BGU collaborates with Bethany Gateways are:

  • Developing curriculum specific to individual locations
  • Working together to ensure students are prepared to be effective missionaries
  • Working through team dynamics and conflict resolution
  • Providing sender care to the students on the field

I was able to use my classes in Early Childhood Education on the field by teaching with my team in a school that was set up by our partners.

During my time on internship, we had various staff from Gateways and even BGU come and visit us. It gave us a chance to see familiar faces as well as a chance to be encouraged by them. These visits were uplifting for me. It also gave me the motivation to keep going.

I think the best part about Global Internship is the fact that you get to learn what it is really like being a missionary. You learn how to work on a team and collaborate with local missionaries. It is also great to have the Gateways missionaries to be able to ask questions to and get help with various things. After going through the program, I now have the tools needed to be an effective missionary anywhere the Lord calls me.

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