Days of Their Lives: An Intern’s Experience as a VOH Resident (MID)

Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed the short bathroom break. Like I said before, it was timely for me! As we catch up with the residents, let’s rejoin the schedule at 11am. The MID intern is just coming on. At this point, the girls have packed up their things and are heading down with the group for snack before cleaning at the CC (Faith East Community Center). I’m among them.

11:15am-12:15pm – CC Cleaning: Intern Jenni meets us downstairs and prepares to lead us to the CC after snack. Two residents stay back for meal prep, and the rest of us follow Jenni outside. We gather our supplies from the cleaning closet and convene in the fitness center to receive our tasks for the day. I’m given vacuuming. I’ve never liked vacuuming in general, and vacuuming left-handed was an even bigger irritant (as my right shoulder would twinge now and then). I just wanted to get it done, so I cut a few corners… It wasn’t long before Intern Jenni approached me. I knew what I was doing: vacuuming too close to people. Sure enough, Jenni noticed too.

Next, I was assigned cleaning windows. This was my favorite job at the CC because it’s assigned in pairs! It’s a great chance to talk with the other person your working with, especially if you’re not naturally drawn to that person. I asked the resident I was paired with if she liked cleaning windows and she said yes, “It’s very gratifying to make things sparkly!”

12:30pm-1pm – Lunch: Once done with cleaning, we returned to VOH for bathroom break and lunch. Intern Jenni asked me to go straight to the dining room.

Hmmmmm….. would by a good time to check the secretary board for messages, I wondered? Probably not…

So I asked. Request Denied…. I went to the dining room.

I knew Jenni was thinking of the group as a whole, of me individually, and of honoring her authorities. I knew my request was untimely and inconvenient. I knew it would hold up the entire group and the meal if Jenni let me go to the secretary desk.  I knew that if I was the intern I would’ve denied my request! Yet, I chose to ask anyway…. #pride

After lunch, the residents divide into teams. One helps clean the kitchen, and the other fills out Daily Thankful sheets in the living room. Lunch cleanup is the activity I’d most anticipated: cleanup was THE resident experience, in my mind. My team wasn’t on cleanup that day, but I was sure Jenni would make an exception for me. Instead of allowing me to change teams and help with cleanup, Jenni asked me to stay with my original team, assigned to do thankfuls. Well, let me say I was NOT grateful for that decision, and I let Jenni know as much! Eventually, I did obey, but devoid of joy. Here’s how the event was recorded in my EOS (end of shift) report:

Rachel Rachel asked if she could do kitchen clean up instead of thankfuls since she knew about thankfuls. Since her team was doing thankfuls I asked her to do them. She questioned my instruction and gave more reasons why she should do kitchen clean up. I asked her to do thankfuls and follow her team. She then obeyed, but didn’t seem very happy about it. Cooperative during cleaning tasks today.

1pm-1:30pm – Thankfuls/Cleanup: The great thing about Thankfuls is there’s a nifty section on the back that asks you to describe a “difficult experience you had the opportunity to overcome” that day. Thanks to my skirmish with Jenni, I bee-lined straight for this section! By following the thankful handout, I was able to see how I had not handled the opportunity to submit to Jenni well. I realized I was full of love during the interaction… FOR MYSELF! I had my own agenda and my own understanding, and I chose to rebel against Jenni’s authority in hopes of getting what I wanted. I wanted so badly to get the full resident experience (kitchen cleanup) but God had a bigger and truer experience in mind (submitting to authority, even when it’s hard). At the end of the day, I was so thankful for Thankfuls because it helped re-direct my thinking and focus my mind on how I could look like Christ the rest of the day.

1:30pm – Church Cleaning: After thankfuls/cleanup, the group went over to serve Faith church by cleaning the sanctuary and preparing it for the coming Sunday services. I really enjoyed this time of serving (I got to push-sweep with a rolling broom) and the overall experience at the church was joy and laughter.

The walk back to VOH was altogether different…. Through the gentle reminding of the interns, I became aware of forgetting my notebook back at the church!

Oh NO!!!! What am I going to do? That notebook has all my notes in it, not only from today but also my personal notes from my whole internship! What if it’s not found. Or worse, what if it’s found and read by the wrong person???

My apprehension continued (for a good 3 seconds) until Intern Sonnie smiled and pulled my notebook out from her coat. Mercifully, Sonnie had decided to confiscate it rather than leave it behind. Though I was glad it wasn’t at the church, I knew my notebook  was destined for the confiscation bin in the Blessings Closet once we got back to VOH.

One resident described the experience of getting items confiscated: “You feel a profound sense of loss, and your lost item suddenly becomes the most important thing you own.” That was definitely true in my case!

To get confiscated items back, residents use “blessing bucks.” These blessing bucks are earned by doing house chores and for saying verses.  In true intern fashion, Sonnie asked me to say a verse to get my notebook back. I said Romans 13:12.

2:45pm-3pm – Transition to Study Hall: Once back at the house, I walked back to the church.

What?!? I thought the heading said “study hall?”

Well, yes, it does. Phase I would stay in the house and work on counseling homework for an hour. In my case, I had a commitment to keep: my job at Faith Christian School’s after-care program. To be on time for after-care, I had to leave as soon as we got back to the house. Before going over, I needed the intern’s help to grab my dinner out of the locked kitchen, and also grab my phone from the locked purse cabinet. Phone and food in tow, I left for work.

I knew I shouldn’t use my phone for purposes other than work or emergency, but I briefly checked just to see how many unread emails I had: 30! My face cast a shadow as I considered how much reading I would have to catch up on after this day….

3pm-6pm -Work: Extreme fatigue only scratches the surface of what I was experiencing as I arrived at work. For one, I work with kids, who always seem to have more energy than I anticipate. For two, there is very little down time in a resident’s day. It is amazing just how much they get accomplished, but it takes a lot of getting used to, and I wasn’t used to it at all!

This was the point I was reminded of stewardship and responsibility. When God gives me the blessing of responsibility, He knows full well I won’t always FEEL like stewarding it. Yet, He asks and expects me to be faithful all the same. Being a resident was helping me see just how much I needed God’s strength to get through the day!

Up Next: Days of Their Lives: PM


Rachel Bailey
I began my internship with Vision of Hope in January 2013. In my current understanding of God’s will for my life, I am pursuing wisdom and experience to one day work with women with eating disorders. My desire is to plant my feet in truth, while reaching my arms as far as I can toward the broken and hurting. With God’s help and guidance, I hope to become a godly woman and counselor to provide Truth-based counsel rather than “evidenced-based practice.” My life verse is Ecclesiastes 5:7 which says, “For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God."