An Internship in South Sudan

July 24, 2015 • South Sudan
An Internship in South Sudan

Learning important lessons in Unity State

Sean Bear is a graduate student at Liberty University pursuing a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in health promotion. He is working with Samaritan’s Purse in South Sudan as an intern with the food security program.

“Congratulations Sean! We would like to offer you a position in South Sudan!”

These words greeted me on the morning of December 2, 2014. I had anxiously waited nearly four months for this message, but now, as I heard them, they didn’t provide me with the excitement I had expected. When I applied for an internship with Samaritan’s Purse, I’m not certain where I thought I would end up.

I prayed for God’s guidance and secretly hoped that He led me somewhere wonderful. I knew that Paris and Madrid were off the table, but South Sudan? Isn’t that the country overwhelmed with ongoing internal conflict and external tensions? I had never even been to Africa!

I quickly returned to the Lord in prayer. “God, this door has opened, but where are the doors that You were supposed to open for me?” As I prayed, I felt convicted as I questioned the guidance that I had sought. My prayers changed into requests for peace and courage. Again, God answered. Never before have I experienced such immediate and obvious response to prayer!

As I prayed, I felt God’s peace wash over me, from my head to my toes, and I knew that this was the path that He had chosen for me. As the days passed, I began to further research the urgent need of the South Sudanese displaced people and refugees and the Samaritan’s Purse response to that demand.

The more I read or watched, the greater my passion for these people grew. I knew that South Sudan was where I needed to go, and my prayers of concern turned into prayers of praise. Our God is an awesome God. Who am I to question His plans for me?

Those prayers of praise are still with me as I serve in a refugee camp in Unity State, South Sudan. I thank God daily for bringing me here and for providing me with patience, perseverance, and positivity. I’m humbled by the strength and endurance of the refugees here. They have every right to be broken and angry, but they aren’t.

I’m working with and have learned from a group of people who are happy to be alive and are thankful for the assistance that we’re providing to them. They’ve fled their homes, abandoned their livelihoods, and watched as the government murdered their friends and family members—and still I see joy in them.

As a food security intern, I’ve been able to work with our general food distribution teams during the setup and distribution of monthly rations to the camp residents. It was a powerful experience to provide a month’s worth of rations in just a few bags of sorghum, lentils, salt, and vegetable oil.

I’ve also been blessed with opportunities to learn about several of our other programs. Interacting with the children of the camp has warmed my heart, and understanding the impact that Samaritan’s Purse is having on their lives and the lives of the others in the camp makes this internship all the more meaningful.

It’s always amazing to see the mysterious ways in which God works. He has brought me to a country that I otherwise would have never visited and instilled in me a passion for an amazing people and a powerful ministry. I thank God for this opportunity and for the strength I’ve found in Him.

The Samaritan’s Purse internship program is an opportunity for college students and recent graduates to use their skills to impact the world in a tangible way. Find out more here.