College Student from North Alabama to begin Summer Intern assignment with Oklahoma Indian Conference


By Mary Beth Coudal

Joseph Riddle from First United Methodist Church in Trussville, Alabama will work as Summer Intern at Cookson Hills Center with the people from the Cherokee community in Cookson, Oklahoma. Mr. Riddle is studying broadcast journalism and religion at the University of Alabama.

Cookson Hills Center is a program of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference. The young men will work with and learn about the past, present, and future of the Cherokee people at the Cookson Hills United Methodist mission center. His responsibilities will include assisting in the summer children's programs; organizing volunteer teams; staffing the food pantry and craft co op; and helping in the job counseling program.

Mr. Riddle is one of nine college students who have been selected to participate in this special summer of learning through Global Ministries.

What follows is a listing of the 2009 Summer Interns and their places of assignments:

  • Ashita Elanko from Virginia will become an instructor at the Asian Women's Resources Center in San Francisco, California. She will mentor the children from the Chinese community who attend the summer program.
  • Joy Harrison from New England will serve as the Assistant Summer Camp Instructor at North Rampart Community Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. She will help youth develop study skills and self-esteem.
  • Ilunga "Raissa" Kiboko from Iowa will also be serving as an Assistant Summer Camp Instructor at North Rampart Community Center, in New Orleans, LA.
  • Nichol Luebrun from California-Pacific will be working at First Grace Community Alliance at New Orleans, Louisiana. As the Hagar's House Summer Intern, she will organize, manage, and assist with donations to the women's shelter.
  • Saul Montiel from Desert Southwest will tutor children in English at Amor y Paz Iglesia Metodista Unida in Winchester, VA. Working with the Ninos de Dios program, he will teach recreational activities and healthy eating habits to kids.
  • Jeannette Nez from Texas will serve in the Upper Sand Mountain Parish in Sylvania, Alabama. She will help with children's activities and volunteer teams who visit the eight churches that make up the Upper Sand Mountain Parish.
  • Joseph Riddle, like Greg Clayton, is from North Alabama and he will minister to children from the Cherokee community. He will also help organize the volunteers who visit Cookson Hills United Methodist Mission in Cookson, Oklahoma.
  • Rebekeh Swineford is from Western Pennsylvania and will be a Summer Intern at Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church in Alexandria, Virginia. She will empower people who have little income with food and clothing distribution and childrens' summer activities.
  • Paul Turner from East Ohio will work at Travis Park United Methodist Church Corazon Ministry in San Antonio, Texas. He will be a part of the supportive community for homeless people at the center, giving hospitality and hope.

Before embarking on their summer internships, the young people will gather for several days at the end of May at Stony Point Retreat Center in Stony Point, New York, outside of New York City. The young adults, a socio-economically, racially, and ethnically diverse group, will meet one another to share their faith stories and hear about the wide-range of work of the General Board of Global Ministries. Upon completing their assignment at the end of July, they will return to New York City for several days to share their stories and experiences as Summer Interns.

Last year was the first year Global Ministries revitalized this summer program which offers short-term mission service for young people from and within the United States. Popular in the 1980s and 1990s, the Summer Intern program went dormant in 2000 when the mission board shifted its focus to longer-term, multiple-year mission opportunities for young adults.

"Working in new, often unfamiliar environments offers young people opportunities to experience first-hand how mission functions in a world of diversity," said Rev. Field-Rabb, youth and young adult ministries executive at the mission agency. "Each placement involves some element of social justice, which allows interns to become engaged with the church in action in eradicating injustice."

Summer Interns are between the ages of 18 to 25 who have completed at least one year of higher education. As Summer Interns, they receive a $2,000 stipend, the cost for travel to and from their place of assignment, and room and board. In exchange, they agree to tell their story of their summer internship, their encounter with social justice, and their witness to their faith through The United Methodist Church.

In 2008, Meredith Faggart, was a Summer Intern who worked at Cookson Hills. Over the last year, she has been spreading the word about her summer, speaking at several churches and campus ministries. "I'm definitely considering the Mission Intern program after I graduate from college in 2011," Ms. Faggart says.
"In the past, this program served as a strong introduction to mission service for young adults and some participants went on from there into the longer-term young adult missionary programs and to other professional roles in the church," Rev. Edith Gleaves, leader of the Mission Personnel area, said.

For information on how you can become or support a young adult missionary through Global Ministries, visit the website at:

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