God’s Calling | Sophia Bauman’s Internship in Brazil

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness in his marvelous light:”  1 Peter 2:9 

God calls His children to Him, and as a result, they are a chosen generation. As Christians, it is our mission and goal to bring many people to Christ. As a student at Maranatha, one way to follow God’s calling is through internships.  

Sophia Bauman, a senior Biblical Counseling major with a TESOL minor, followed God’s calling in her life and used her growing skills in teaching English to minister to children and share the gospel. As a TESOL minor, Sophia has cultivated knowledge in how to teach people to speak English. Still, up until her internship, she had not had the opportunity to put her skills into practice.  

For two weeks, Sophia had the privilege to intern with two missionaries in Salinas, PA, Brazil. She fully expected to enjoy her time as much as she did, but she was surprised to find that she wanted to teach English as her future career. 

In Brazil, Sophia worked in a public school and taught elementary through high school students, and even had one-on-one teaching sessions with an elementary student. These opportunities allowed Sophia the chance to share the gospel with her students, and she was able to implement the solid biblical truths Maranatha works to instill in their students. 

From the Classroom to the Field 

Part of being a good student is being able to apply what you learn in the classroom to common experiences. Sophia expresses that “TESOL is about the person and teaching them where they are. You have to adapt when you are in front of a classroom because you do not know their level of English.” One challenge Sophia faced was how to reorganize material to accommodate the different stages of learning each of her students was in. But this in no way deterred her from mentoring her students. She expresses how this internship “opens up your perspective about culture and other worlds and in how they can use English.”

Sophia found that her internship was important because you “need out of culture experience to understand why people need English.” She emphasizes how that “opens up your perspective of other cultures and worlds. For them, it is about connection and advancing their career and expectations.” While this is the focus of the people in Brazil, Sophia was able to be a vibrant witness to the children she taught by helping the missionaries share the gospel in English. During her time in Brazil, she found that as she taught, “the value came from the students.” 

Teaching is a special skill that is needed everywhere, and Sophia experienced the joy of teaching during her time in Brazil. She finds that there is “nothing more encouraging than seeing a small child bubbling with excitement.” All the joy Sophia felt during her internship is of the Lord and provided her with the perfect opportunity to see the career path the Lord has called her to.  

Learning Experience 

One major benefit of internships is learning. While Sophia was in Brazil working to help the children there learn, during the process, she herself learned. One influential point she learned was to appreciate missionaries. “I didn’t understand how hard they work,” she shared. Although the missionaries worked tirelessly to spread the gospel, and Sophia experienced many stresses, she kept a positive outlook and was reinforced that “you have to listen to God’s calling.” A Christian can only be fulfilled through God’s will because it is the only way to find true joy. She also says, “it really pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and to be able to be embarrassed.” This internship was a very humbling experience for Sophia. 

Adding to the stress of working hard to present the gospel clearly and teach the students in Brazil, Sophia battled a major obstacle: COVID-19. At the time of Sophia’s departure to Brazil, the COVID-19 pandemic was raging. She had to wear masks everywhere and get COVID tests 72 hours in advance before going anywhere. The masks proved to be a major impediment during Sophia’s internship as the children watched her lips to understand and learn English. But Sophia did not let these obstacles deter her from following God’s calling in her life.  She mentions, “I wasn’t supposed to go in April, and I went in May. You have to be able to listen to what God wants you to do even if everyone else in the world is telling you not to travel.” She persevered and was able to not only enrich the lives of her students but also her own life. 

Sophia has been impacted by Mrs. Angela Morris and wants to reiterate the impactful information she shared with everyone considering a TESOL minor. Sophia quotes, “Mrs. Morris always says everybody should have a TESOL minor, and I firmly stand by that!” 

Sophia acknowledges, “You can’t know a culture from just a two-week trip, but it does give you such an incredible taste of wanting more. You need to take these trips because they expand your idea of culture.” So, if you feel God calling you to actively pursue an internship, follow His will. You will find great satisfaction and fulfillment when you put your full faith in Him.