The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) and Arkansas Baptist Foundation (ABF) interns have been hard at work this summer. With their time here coming to an end, they shared some of the tasks they participated in over the summer and reflected on their experience. Interns with the Evangelism and Church Health (ECH) team, the Arkansas Baptist Foundation (ABF), an intern from the Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) and an intern at Camp Paron all shared what they have been working on this summer.
ECH interns said that this summer they have participated in PraiseWorks/JoyWorks, staffed at Super Summer, did office work for various ministry programs, prepared for various summer church camps, visited different churches/church staff meetings and attended various Student Ministry’s services.
ABF interns said that they have been doing a little bit of everything this summer. Including, helping to draft deeds, finding information on different endowments and accounts to compile a binder for the director’s use, updating language on brochures and working on a large project they called the Testimony Project.
This summer the ABN intern wrote articles for the ABN website, published the bi-weekly e-magazine and ran the social media for the ABN and Camp Paron.
The Camp Paron intern ran the snack shack for the summer. This allowed him to not only move products but create an atmosphere for fellowship. He also helped the staff with their duties, as well as working on a project to determine a change in product costs.
Maddie Bailey graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in May of 2022 with a degree in Political Science. She is starting law school in the fall at the University of Arkansas and aspires to be a prosecuting attorney. She directed Tiger Tunes last year at OBU.
Bailey worked as an ABF intern this summer. Though she completed many tasks and projects this summer, she favored the testimony project.
“It’s neat to get to read why people have gotten connected with the ministries and their own story and how they grew up and it makes the people that we just see the names of more real and get to know them. It’s just been a neat opportunity to see not only the ministries that we help with but also the convention as a whole,” Bailey said.
Bailey was able to make great connections at the ABSC.
Grant Goad was the Camp Paron intern for the summer. He is a senior Biblical theological studies major at Williams Baptist University. After graduation he plans on attending Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and getting his Master of Divinity degree.
“I feel called to military chaplaincy and look forward to ministering to our service men and women,” Goad said.
Goad loves the outdoors and has spent time hiking near Little Rock during his internship.
“I’ve been able to help create an environment for not only fellowship, but Gospel conversations to be had. From cleaning and decorating the shop to partnering with the church leaders, I’ve been able to see lives changed here at Camp Paron,” Goad said.
He said that he was nervous to start an internship with the ABSC this summer due to the unfamiliarity with people involved. But because of the people at Camp Paron his nerves dissipated the more time he spent with them.
“We are blessed to have such a great group of people who want to help churches and share the Gospel,” Goad said.
Kelsie Lawhon served as the ABN and communications team intern this summer. She is a junior at Ouachita Baptist University. She is majoring in communications with an emphasis in multimedia journalism and she is minoring in education. After she graduates, she wants to continue her education by going to graduate school or law school.
Lawhon loves to read, write and edit papers. She added that she studies philosophy as well and that she has gotten good at questioning herself, especially in her writing.
“I try to question everything I write, in [an] attempt to have the most accurate information in my writing,” Lawhon said. “Writing all the stories has been my favorite part of being a summer intern for the ABN. I liked learning about the subjects I wrote about, interviewing the subjects and piecing information together in a way that is easy to understand and enjoyable for our readers. I loved writing stories about subjects that people are passionate about. The heartwarming stories that I got the opportunity to write this summer really made it one to remember.”
She added that this summer working at the ABSC has been full of interesting experiences that will be very useful in her future career.
Cole Pennock is a junior at Ouachita Baptist University, is majoring in Christian studies. After graduating, Pennock wants to get a ministry job at a church and do seminary online. He loves the outdoors, playing guitar, and collecting vinyl records.
Pennock worked as an intern with the ECH team at the ABSC this summer.
“Hands down the best part of my summer with the ABSC has been working at camps seeing God change lives and having the opportunity to preach at various churches practicing for my future in ministry,” Pennock said. “This internship with the ABSC has been extremely instrumental for me in seeing the many ways that God works behind the scenes of the church. With this internship, I have got to participate in many of those behind-the-scenes tasks and in doing so I feel it has prepared me for my future ministries in a way that no classroom can teach.”
Cole concluded that he loved his time at the ABSC along with all the experiences and relationships that came out of it.
Natalie Thomas is a sophomore kinesiology major at Ouachita Baptist University. After graduating, she wants to become a physical therapist.
Thomas was an intern with the ECH team this summer. Her favorite thing she was a part of was staffing both Super Summer and PraiseWorks camps.
“It was incredible to see so many kids come to know Jesus and have the opportunity to have an impact on their lives. Little did they know… they impacted mine as well. It was an awesome experience and I had so much fun,” Thomas said. “I have had a blast working with everyone in the office and making connections that will last a lifetime! One thing that the ABSC has taught me in that although I have not been called to the ministry like my fellow interns, there are a multitude of ways to serve in the church.”
She expressed her gratitude for each leader at the ABSC who connected with the interns and shared their walk with Christ and how the Lord called them to ministry.
“Because God used people in different ways for His kingdom and His glory, words can’t express how much love I have for the ABSC and everyone in it. And I am incredibly grateful that I got to be an intern here for the summer,” Thomas said.
Emily Waters is a junior Christian studies major at Ouachita Baptist University. Following college, she plans to get married and go to seminary to pursue a degree in biblical counseling.
“Though I don’t know exactly that it may look like, I’m certain God has called me to biblical counseling in the Church,” Waters said.
Waters’ favorite Bible verse has always been Matthew 5:16.
“I love it because it simply reminds me of my purpose: to glorify God,” Waters said.
Waters was an intern with the ECH team over the summer.
“Although I have had many valuable experiences as an intern, my favorite was being a staffer at Super Summer. Being able to witness so many students make life changing decisions was incredible,” Waters said.
She said that her experience as a summer intern at the ABSC has been the most formative in preparing her to walk in her ministry calling.
“The most significant reason is because of the faithful men and women at our convention who have willingly sacrificed of themselves to invest in me. I’m beyond grateful for the relationships I’ve made and the opportunities I’ve been given,” Waters said.
Mary Charles West is a senior at Ouachita Baptist University. She is a business management and political science double major. After graduation she wants to attend law school. Last summer, West worked for the Lieutenant Governor in his office and is very involved at school. She works in the administration’s office and gives tours; she is also on steering for the Ouachita Student Foundation.
West interned with ABF this summer.
“The testimony project has been my favorite- it was nice to talk to them on the phone and reading some of the responses is really heartwarming,” West said.
West enjoyed her time working at the ABSC. The connections that she made with her Ouachita alumni co-workers made the workplace even more interesting to be in.
“It’s been really fun to learn about legal stuff from like an estate planning side, which is something I didn’t know much about at all, it’s been a fun learning experience,” West said.
Wade Wilson is a senior Christian studies major at Ouachita Baptist University. After graduation, he plans on going to seminary to continue to prepare to be a pastor.
“I am called to be a pastor, so I am using my time at school and during the summer to prepare to be the best pastor I can be,” Wilson said.
Wilson enjoys playing guitar and piano, singing, frisbee, hiking, reading and Marvel. Wilson has spent this summer as an intern with the ECH team.
“I loved being a staffer at Super Summer and PraiseWorks. I enjoyed leading small groups and watching God change kids’ lives in different ways,” Wilson said.
During his time on staff at Super Summer and PraiseWorks he learned a lot about how to better work with a team. Wilson also enjoyed being able to visit different churches and pastors in Arkansas. Wilson leaves this summer very thankful that he grew up in Arkansas.
“Through working at the ABSC and visiting with churches and pastors, God has shown me that he is truly, currently saving people and changing peoples’ lives right here! I am more encouraged to live my life involved with God’s plan to save the lost and grow people in their faith because I have seen how he is doing that right now,” Wilson said.
With the ABSC summer internships coming to an end and these interns return to school, we wish them well on all their endeavors, and will be praying for each of them as they move forward.