Editor’s Note: The Serge Missionary Apprenticeship Program is an 18-24 month intensive missions training program that provides an opportunity to serve on an existing ministry team, grow in the gospel, and be guided in the many facets of cross-cultural ministry. In this post, one apprentice shares her top reasons for exploring the Serge Apprenticeship.
1. Fast-Track Language Learning
I studied Spanish for five years and I never felt like I actually learned anything. I struggled to engage in conversation even at the peak of my education.
I nearly lost all hope in my language learning ability until…I moved to London and started to work among the urban youth in the West Side who speak a dialect of the very complex language of British-English.
I discovered that I COULD learn a new language, all I had to do was immerse myself and ask lots of questions.
I used to hear:
“Ay mate, you good, yeah? Like I went cinema yes’taday – film was so nice tho innit? – after went to massive pa-eee”
Now I hear:
“Hello, dear friend! How are you? I went to the movies yesterday and saw a really good film. Have you seen it too? Afterward, I went to a very big party with my friends.”
Boom. Fluent in two languages.
2. Your Weird Talent Could Make You Famous
Growing up I discovered that I could make a noise that sounded just like a trumpet. I used to hide my “stupid human trick” as David Letterman might call it, but then I became a missionary apprentice.
One of my friends (who used to be a Serge apprentice as well) works in the Bollywood music industry as a producer. I shared my mouth trumpet noise with him one day while rehearsing music for church. He was fascinated. A couple of months later he asked me to the recording studio where I recorded my trumpet on a track for a major Bollywood film!
When the film was released I went to see it. In a packed-out theatre full of Punjabi and Hindi speakers, I awaited my international film debut. When it came, I freaked out inside. Nobody around me had a clue that they were listening to my mouth trumpet, but I knew – and that was enough for me.
3. Jumping Photos
You may have read the article by Joel Hylton, the Serge Apprentice Program Leader, on working with millennials. In his brilliant post, he shared his love for jumping pictures.
I grew up trying extremely hard to nail jumping pictures with friends and family. I can recall many family holidays where we thought it would be wonderful to take a group jumping picture only to give up 30 minutes into the project because it was just too hard.
At the end of each apprenticeship year, there is a time in which all the apprentices and staff go away on a debrief trip. It is on this trip – after spending much time reflecting over ALL that has happened in the past year – that we take the jumping picture.
In the back of my mind, I knew that once the debrief trip was over, everything would change, and I needed some kind of way to remember the end of two journeys that changed my life. The jumping pictures I have from my apprenticeship years are more than just funny pictures to me – they are reminders of what God has done in my life to bring me to where I am today.
4. Homemade Indian Food
Okay, this one doesn’t apply to every Serge Apprenticeship location – but living in the heart and soul of London’s South Asian community has some major perks –especially in the food department.
When I arrived as a first-year apprentice, people invited me over for meals so they could get to know me. Three years later I still average about one homemade Indian meal per week –and trust me, homemade Indian food is the BEST kind of Indian food!
**Full Disclaimer – consuming so much Indian food may require visits to a local gym.
5. Life-Long Friends
The friends I made during my apprenticeship are forever friends.
I was the only American in my apprenticeship class and that means I had the opportunity to share life and experience the highs and lows of cross-cultural ministry with four fellow apprentices from India, Germany, Romania, and England. We all served in different ministry capacities all throughout London, but our apprenticeship experience created a bond which to this day seems unbreakable.
All five of us keep in touch with one another despite the miles which now separate us.
6. Life Change
The opportunity to receive on-field training and be mentored on a weekly basis by a long-term worker makes a Serge apprenticeship opportunity second-to-none. I learned what it meant to minister from a place of weakness and not be ashamed.
I experienced the love and grace of God in ways that I never had before, and most importantly–I witnessed the true King in action.
So there it is, my top six reasons why I think you should do a missionary apprenticeship. However, it doesn’t matter what I think, but rather your answer to this question:
Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?
If your answer is “yes” then I hope to be seeing you in a jumping photo very, very soon.