Q&A with a Former NEXT Intern
Mariah is a former NEXT intern from the summer of 2022. A student at the University of Tucson in Arizona, Mariah now plans to help co-lead a NEXT trip to the Czech Republic this upcoming summer.
What made you decide to participate in NEXT?
This past summer (summer of 2022) I spent 9 weeks in Eastern Europe with NEXT. I feel so deeply that the gospel is good news for all people everywhere all the time. I stumbled across this program because an acquaintance of mine is an ambassador for NEXT, and she kept posting about the application. Every time I scrolled past, I would give some excuse in my head about why I wasn’t applying. But the Lord kept bringing it back to my mind. I ended up applying late, but the staff was so gracious to me. After my initial interview I had such peace that I knew it was the right choice.
What is something you learned while you were there that has had an impact on your life?
Over the summer the Lord really taught me what it looked like to live like a foreigner. From the surface this doesn’t seem like a spiritual takeaway — it doesn’t take the voice of God to realize that it can be uncomfortable living cross-culturally. But being in a foreign country I was dependent: I was not able to read the menu (aside from the type of meat and vegetables that were in the dish), I could not walk across town without being noticed and stared at, and I even frustrated the cashier at the grocery store because I could not understand when she asked if I wanted a bag. Similarly, we as God’s people should consider ourselves as foreigners on this earth! We should be noticed when we walk across town, that we do not fit in with the world. And we should be reliant on God for clarity and wisdom even when we think we have it under control. One of the verses that kept coming back to me over the summer was Hebrews 11:8-10:
“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.”
It was such a sweet reminder that we should be constantly looking forward to God’s promise of an eternal home.
How are you feeling about your decision to co-lead a NEXT trip in May?
I am so grateful for the opportunity to help co-lead a week-long trip to the Czech Republic this upcoming summer … The timing is just right, and I am excited to serve alongside other students and share some of my past experiences with them as well.
How can we be praying for you as you prepare to co-lead a NEXT trip in May?
As I prepare for this trip to Czech, be praying for all the people who signed up, that their hearts would be right before we leave. I have never led a trip before! So please pray that God would give me wisdom and peace throughout the trip, that I would speak the truth and be able to love these people well.
The great commission is to GO! Jump in with both feet, go make disciples and God will be there while you go. My experience with NEXT was very life giving and eye opening. If you’re on the fence — be brave, and err on the side of chasing after the nations for the Father. Go in faith that God will use you and that you are uniquely gifted to reach people.
Please also pray for those who will be experiencing their spring NEXT internships from January until April. If you or someone you know might be interested in a NEXT internship, visit their website.