Rachel Dana has served as ServLife’s Administrative Intern since October 2012. She is currently preparing to move to Cleveland to pursue a career in the fair trade industry. ServLife has been blessed by Rachel’s many gifts and talents over the past seven months. As she finishes her internship, she took the time to share about the experience of being a non-Christian in a faith based nonprofit.
Last September, as I scanned through one of Charitable Advisors’ weekly newsletters, I paused when I came across ServLife International in the listings. I had spent the previous two months feverishly job-hunting, having just returned from a year abroad and struggling to put my four-year degree into a steady, fulfilling career (wouldn’t you know it). When I saw that ServLife was searching for a temporary intern, I was hesitant to apply. When I applied, I doubted it would lead to an interview. When I interviewed, I assumed the job would go to a candidate with more spiritual knowledge and values than I possessed. When I was hired, the presumptions disappeared, and my time with ServLife has proven more gratifying than I would have thought possible.
I grew up in a non-religious household, and I suffered a few social consequences as a result. I found many of my Christian acquaintances to be single-minded and often unkind, despite their constant referrals to themselves as “good Christians.” Tainted, I turned away from organized religion and became as judgmental toward Christians as I felt they had been toward me. When I stepped onto the ServLife team, I was looking forward to the administrative experience, but was worried I would receive the same treatment I had in grade school. What unfolded was quite the opposite. In working with ServLife, I have discovered an organization that properly envisions and carries out the ultimate message of Christianity. Love and serve.
My position with ServLife has been what an outsider looking in would consider a typical non-profit internship. I process donations, send e-mails, make copies, along with a host of other office tasks. However, the job has come with numerous rewards, challenges, and learning opportunities. I jumped head-on into our child sponsorship program. I’m blogging for the first time. I’m handling financial sums large enough to make my palms sweat until I safely deposit them. And I’m having conversations – crucial, exploratory, open-ended conversations with my superiors that have gradually restored my faith in Christianity and its followers. Rachel Moss and Adam Nevins have been more than patient with my endless flow of questions, and only too willing to share their beliefs and values openly with me in a way that I not only understand, but admire.
I’m not sure if I ever really believed in the traditional concept of heaven and hell. However, as Adam shared with me in the aftermath of the Newtown, CT shooting last December, “when a gunman breaks into an elementary school and opens fire on random children, that is hell. If we can create hell here on earth, we can create heaven, too.” This is how I interpret ServLife’s mission: to create heaven here on earth by planting churches, caring for children, and fighting poverty.