Intern name: Anja Ozols
Major(s)/Minor(s): Theology major and music minor
Title/place of internship/fellowship, etc.: Youth Catechesis Missionary Intern at the program Totus Tuus within Catholic Diocese in Jefferson City, MO
How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.? Totus Tuus is an international organization that puts on programs throughout the country. Many of my friends have served as missionaries through the Twin Cities, and several locations in Wisconsin. I came upon Jefferson City because I was looking for a place that was committed to serving and adapting despite the pandemic situation.
What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.? I was a teacher from 9-2:30 for elementary school students, and ran a middle and high school youth ministry program from 7-9pm. We also prayed as a team several times each day. Some of the weeks were spent entirely dedicated to creating digital/online content for students who would be unable to attend a live totus tuus program.
What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience? The time spent living, working, and praying in Christian community has was beautiful. It is helping me see where I fit into a community and how my gifts and talents reach their fullest potential in the context of loving others.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.? Each week was a surprise; would the parish cancel? Would we be online that week? Where would we be staying? Would we have internet access? We never quite knew what the next week would hold.
How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future? Flexibility and total gift of self.
Whatever path I choose, Totus Tuus has taught me how to be all in for the Lord and let my work reflect that. I will continue the concept of loving others fulltime, and allowing that love to bleed into my work, rather than just "doing a job part of the time" and "being a human being the rest of the time".
What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience? If you are willing to rely on the Lord, be stripped of everything, and lean on His providence, go for it! If you're just looking for another summer job, or teaching experience, or something like that, this will be way too difficult. Totus Tuus requires a missionary mindset, not an employment mindset.