Vineyard Ministries Central Mexico (VMCM) Internship Program Purpose: Many people who attend a short term mission trip long for something more in depth. While a week can open eyes and hearts, spending more time on the field exposes people to missions behind the scenes. We hope people will experience life as a missionary and develop a greater understanding of and appreciation for living and working within a different culture. The purpose of this program is to provide an opportunity for longer term, although not permanent missionary experience.
Intern vs. Volunteer: An intern is not a volunteer. Volunteers are tourists or residents who spend as much or as little time as they like helping VMCM in whatever capacity they choose. An intern is a staff member and co-missionary with missionaries serving on staff at VMCM. As a staff member, the intern is held to higher expectations than a volunteer. The intern must work full time for VMCM in whatever capacity they are given. Usually interns shadow a missionary, experiencing life as a missionary for the duration of the internship. Interns go to staff meetings and may be given keys to the church or the office. While volunteers are always needed and help run the organization, interns receive a much more in-depth and authentic missions experience. Often interns may be exploring the possibility of becoming a full-time missionary. The internship is designed with those people in mind, although it is open to anyone.
Time: An internship may be any time frame from 2 weeks to 1 year. However, longer experiences are generally more fruitful.
Cost:As an intern, the intern is responsible to pay for 100% of his or her travel expenses. Interns are also expected to pay VMCM the following amounts for room, board, and materials. Sending churches may sponsor interns. Payment due to VMCM beforearrival varies by length of stay as follows:
2 weeks: $300 USD
3 weeks: $350 USD
1 month: $400 USD
Each additional month up to 6 months: an additional $350 USD per month
6 months: $2000 USD
Each additional month up to 1 year: an additional $350 USD per month
1 year: $3800
In return for paying the stated amount, the intern will receive housing, most meals, and mission experience. The intern is responsible for his or her own transportation to Zacatecas, and extra expenses incurred while here, including but not limited to: clothing, dining out in restaurants, recreation, etc. An intern must also purchase an international health insurance policy of some kind on their own prior to arrival, or must provide a signature, or that of parent or guardian, on a waiver indicating that they understand the serious consequences of not having such insurance and choose to be uninsured in any event!
Spanish: Although being fluent in Spanish is certainly not a requirement, interns will tend to learn more and have a better overall experience if they are able to communicate with nationals. We do require that all interns attempt to learn some Spanish while they are here. We do not expect people to be able to read ancient Spanish literature, but interns will be asked to demonstrate that they are trying to learn Spanish. Interns may take Spanish classes here, hire a Spanish tutor, study Spanish books, or simply attempt to talk with people, but must make some effort.
Interns are strongly encouraged to attend a week long mission trip to Zacatecas with a team before applying as an intern. Previous experience has shown that interns who had been to Zacatecas before had a better idea of what to expect and a better over all experience.
The Dumb Gringo: Interns should read Fred Collom’s book, The Dumb Gringo and How Not to Be One in Missions, before arriving. Fred has over 25 years of missions experience in Mexico. The book will help the prospective intern gain a better picture of the history and overall goals of VMCM, and will provide the intern with tips and common pitfalls to avoid. The book is available online at VMCM’s website.
Drinking/Smoking: Regardless of personal feelings or beliefs, interns are expected not to drink alcohol of any kind for the duration of their internship. Interns are also expected not to go to bars or dance clubs, regardless of whether or not drinking is involved. Ideally interns would not smoke while they are here. If an intern absolutely cannot quit for their internship, every effort should be made to smoke discreetly, not in public, and never on outreaches. As a missionary in a different culture, different rules must guide the intern’s actions and behaviors at all times. In Mexico, unlike other North American or western countries, sipping a beer could quite possibly render missionary’s ministry and outreach totally ineffectual!
Tattoos and Piercings: Ideally, those with tattoos or non-ear piercings will keep them hidden or at home. If this is not possible, the individual situations must be discussed with the Intern Coordinator and be approved prior to final internship approval.
Dress Expectations: Zacatecas is cool most of the time. No shorts during ministry time, as this area is conservative. What you wear on your off time is your decision. Although tank tops (non-spaghetti strap) are permitted, remember when packing that erring on the side of modesty will not offend anyone. Keep in mind; what an American considers conservative dressing may not fall under a Mexican’s definition of conservative dressing. Although sandals keep feet cool, they also are more dangerous when walking on colonia dirt streets. Streets often have animal waste, sharp objects, and biting insects that tennis shoes will keep out. Men should bring jeans or dress pants for church. Women will be comfortable in modest jeans, capri’s or a dress. Summer is rainy season. Bring rain gear.
Work Week: Interns are expected to work 5 ½ days a week. Each intern will be allotted one day off every Monday, along with the rest of the staff. VMCM staff will tell the intern where to go and what to work on. The intern may or may not have a say in what he or she will be doing any given day. Expect to work 50-60 hours each week. This may include office work such as answering emails, sorting donations, keeping the internet café open, or making copies. On Sundays, interns are expected to attend church services, unless informed otherwise: the 11am Spanish service, and an afternoon service in a colonia church. Interns may also be encouraged to attend a weekly Bible study, Bible clubs, prayer meeting or youth group in Spanish. Although these can be difficult for non-Spanish speakers, they strongly aid in language acquisition, cultural exposure, and in forming quality relationships.
Quiet Time: Interns are expected to have some form of quiet, personal time to read and study the Bible as well as pray. Missions can be stressful and hard at times. Maintaining a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ is essential. Interns may also be given books to read regarding the lives of famous missionaries or other Christian literature.
Reflections: Interns are expected to write a weekly 1-page reflection (at least) on what they have experienced, likes, dislikes, cultural analysis, things he or she has learned, frustrations, and triumphs. On an individual basis, interns may be assigned an accountability partner in addition to or in place of weekly reflections. Being honest about temptations and frustrations as an intern will enrich the intern experience.
Projects: For interns staying three months or more, each intern will be asked to develop a program or project of the intern’s choosing that may be permanently implemented in Zacatecas. The project could range from developing an English or Spanish curriculum , to redecorating a church, to working within a specific ministry. All projects will need to be approved before implemented, and interns are expected to write up a proposal and submit it within the first month of their stay. VMCM staff may suggest or aid an intern in choosing a project.
Relationships: As an intern, refrain from forming new romantic relationships here in Mexico. Interns are expected to devote their time and energy to the ministry, not to looking for a mate.
Integrity: Interns are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity at all times, respecting those in authority on VMCM staff.
Association: Once interns have been accepted to the program, they have an association with VMCM. Should the intern want to, for any reason, return to Zacatecas within two years after completing the program, interns promise and agree to ask VMCM staff for the okay to come, even if the former intern is only coming for vacation. The reason for this is that if any one recognizes a former intern in a bar or dance club, or involved in any other kind of questionable activities or bad behavior, even a year after the internship, the intern still carries an association to VMCM and will reflect badly on VMCM which may negatively impact the ministry.
Any violations of the above expectations may provide adequate reason for VMCM to release the intern from the internship prior to completion. The intern would then be sent home at his or her own expense and their sending pastor informed of the violation.
Responsibilities of VMCM to the Intern: VMCM will provide housing and most meals. You will eat with host family. Do not expect them to provide a menu. You will eat what they cook. Otherwise you are on your own at your extra expense. Transportation in and around Zacatecas will be dealt with on an individual basis. Most of the time the intern will need to rely on public transportation at your own expense. VMCM may deem it necessary to provide a cell phone to the intern while in Mexico; however that is at VMCM’s discretion. VMCM will provide access to a long distance phone to allow the intern to call the United States or Canada. VMCM will also allow the intern to experience life as a VMCM missionary.
Housing: Interns are usually placed in a Mexican home to maximize the amount of cultural exposure they receive. Special circumstances requiring different housing, such as a disability or intern couple will be dealt with on an individual basis, with the best interest of the intern in mind. Interns live and eat with their host family. Homes are carefully selected, ensuring that interns feel comfortable and safe in their living environment. Most interns enjoy their home experience and become very close to their host family. However, as a guest in someone else’s home, a certain level of respect is required. Interns will probably be held to certain rules such as curfew or where to eat in the house or levels of tidiness that the family requests. Interns will also be expected to do their own laundry. Most homes will not have washing machine or dryer. You need to either do as your host family does, or have your laundry done at your expense.
Deadlines: Interns are required to turn in (via email) the application and any reference letters three months prior to their expected arrival date to allow time for processing. The intern will be informed within 1 month of all requirements being received, (and probably sooner), whether or not they have been accepted to the program. At this point, a telephone interview will be set up to answer in person any additional questions, comments, or concerns the intern may have.
Vineyard Ministries Central Mexico Internship Application
Complete the application below. Save the document as your full name. Email the completed application and the pastoral letter of recommendation to, email@example.com Intern Coordinator, three months prior to arrival.
VMCM does not discriminate based on gender, age, citizenship, or marital status.
Date of Birth:
Country of Birth:
Marital Status: Single
Highest Level of Education Received:
Home Church Information:
Name of Sending Church:
Mailing Address of the Church:
Phone Number of Sending Church:
Denomination of Sending Church:
Pastoral Letter of Recommendation:
Sponsoring Pastor Name:
Relationship of the Sponsor to the Intern:
Number of Years the Sponsor Has Known the Intern:
Sponsor must send a letter of recommendation detailing both his or her relationship to the intern and why he or she thinks the intern is a good candidate for this position firstname.lastname@example.org as part of the application process.
If for some reason a pastor is not the ideal sponsor (ie. Pastor hasn’t known the intern long enough), the candidate may provide an additional letter of recommendation from a non pastor with the pastoral recommendation.
Please list desired dates of possible internship including year.
Short Answer Questions:
How would you describe your spoken Spanish skills?
I know how to say hola, and that’s about it.
I can find a bathroom and pay my cab driver if I had to.
I can form simple sentences and carry on basic conversations.
I understand probably about half of what I hear, but sometimes I have trouble saying what I want to say.
I understand and can communicate fairly effectively, although my grammar needs some work.
I am fluent.
Mi español es perfecto.
How do you plan to practice and learn more Spanish while you are in Mazatlan?
With what denomination do you affiliate yourself and why?
Please list any leadership experiences you’ve had:
List your past 3 work experiences including the amount of time at each:
Have you ever been convicted of any crime? If yes, please explain.
Are you currently exploring the possibility of being a full-time missionary, and, if so, where?
List any personal characteristics, special knowledge, or skills you have that may be beneficial to VMCM:
Describe your current service in your home church.
List three interesting facts about yourself that are completely irrelevant to the internship.
Just for fun, list the last two movies you’ve watched, last two songs you’ve listened to, and last two books you’ve read and briefly your reactions.
Please answer the following questions completely and concisely.
What are you hoping to learn from this internship experience? Why do you want to come here? What are you hoping to get a chance to do while you are here?
Describe how you came to be a Christian and your current relationship with Christ and your local church.
Describe a time in your life that was difficult, what happened, and how you responded.
Please check the following signifying that you agree to follow the expectations.
As an intern, I will attend every meeting and event I am expected to attend.
As an intern, I will take my responsibilities very seriously, and I am prepared to be responsible for any keys, cell phones, vehicles, and tasks I may be given.
I understand the pricing system, and I am prepared to pay the required fees in advance.
As an intern, I commit to improving my Spanish speaking abilities.
As an intern, I will not drink, I will not smoke in public, or go to any clubs or bars.
As an intern, I will dress modestly and appropriately.
As an intern, I am prepared to work long, full weeks, without complaint.
As an intern, I commit to maintaining a daily quiet time.
As an intern, I will respect all authority and submit to what I am required to do.
As an intern, I will submit all reflections and project proposals on time.
As an intern, I will respect the home and family I stay with.
As an intern, I will refrain from beginning new romantic relationships in Mexico.
For 2 years following my internship, I will obtain permission from VMCM for any visits to Mazatlan.
I ascertain that all responses contained in this application are true, complete and accurate to the best of my knowledge.
I understand that violating these expectations is grounds for my dismissal, at my expense, from the internship program prior to completion.
By writing your name in the above box, you are electronically signing this document.
A printed copy of these five pages to be kept on file must also be completed, SIGNED, and mailed to: Debbie Garza