Perspective from a Back2Back US Intern, by Carolyn Gagliardi, US Summer Intern

Working on a project in the Back2Back office

We went around my classroom at Taylor University saying where our internships were for the summer.  Many of my business management classmates were working for major corporations and were getting paid big money for their summer internships. I am not saying that I am some kind of martyr for interning for a non-profit organization this summer. I feel very blessed and grateful that I have this opportunity and that I can fulfill my internship requirement for a company that has a great purpose, seeing as the idea of wearing black pants every day for the rest of my life scares me.

As my classmates and I were sharing, I was thinking of my internship and how I had no idea what this summer would hold.  I had interned in Mexico for Back2Back two summers ago and found a lot of agreement between my spirit and the organization. I think Back2Back’s heart for the orphan is lined up with God’s heart and I wanted to be part of that again.

Me, during my Back2Back summer internship in Mexico several years ago

So my first week in the office was filled with surprises on really how much goes into the organization.  The office is busy five days a week with everything from marketing Back2Back to planning the details of each trip down to each and every persons form and flight.  There are eight people here in the Cincinnati office, who work diligently to make the organization run successfully. In talking to each person I found that they have a deep understanding of what the effects of their work do long term for the kingdom.  What an incredible knowledge to have that understanding in your work.

I will be the first to say that God can be glorified in anything we do, for He is sovereign.  So it is true that God can use us to impact His kingdom through any job.  As I have been working the past week here at Back2Back I have found that some work is hard to do. The interns that serve onsite in Mexico, Nigeria, and India are unpaid.  Two years ago when I did this it was no problem.  I didn’t think twice about this concept and served joyfully. Here at the office I have found it harder to have the same perspective as a “missionary” in an office.  I think this struggle shows the way I limit God and put my works on a totem pole of most effective to least effective.  I think if we really understood God, how in our weakness he is strong and how he delights in showing us mercy (Micah 7:18), this wouldn’t be as much of an issue.  So why would I change my attitude for being unpaid working in the office as opposed to physically with the orphans?  Even saying that I feel so embarrassed and selfish, but this honest concept is one I think we need to mull over.

In Genesis 2, Adam works in the garden and God created Him to work diligently and joyfully.  I know that I was created to work, but I admit that even though I am passionate about serving the orphan child, I still find that I can be motivated by money. In Romans, it talks about working as though we are working for the Lord.  I have a feeling that if God was my supervisor, I wouldn’t be complaining about wages.  Instead, I would be glad to work and I would do my very best.  This internship has caused me to wonder if I would you work if I was not getting paid.  Is money my motivation for doing a job?  I understand that in order to live I will have to work to eat, pay bills, enjoy life, and survive.  It’s true that God can use money to bless me in immeasurable ways, and it is not bad to make money, but I pray that I will do my job well out of a desire for excellence, seeking to honor God, not necessarily just because of a paycheck.