Valerie O., one of the college interns serving at VOM this summer, shares about her arrival at VOM and her growing understanding of the reach of VOM's work:
When people think of VOM, it’s hard to imagine what they might picture. There are so many facets to VOM, and depending on where you are, you might see something that someone else doesn’t. The average American Christian might just get the newsletter or read the website and that’s all they see. But a pastor in India who needs resources to help teach his congregation might see VOM as the partner that gets those resources to him. A widow in Syria whose husband was martyred for sharing Christ might see VOM as her and her children’s lifeline.
I didn’t even know the half of it when I applied for an internship with VOM.
There’s a gigantic, worldwide network of people who make up VOM that each do their part to work toward one goal: to assist the persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. And it blows my mind to think that God has let me be part of this team this summer.
When I arrived at the Tulsa airport, I was nervous and excited. I knew some of what I would be doing, but not all of it. I would be in the Communications department, I would learn how VOM operated, I would do some sort of writing, I would get to shadow on the weekly radio show … and that was about as much as I knew.
Dory was the first VOM person I met in Oklahoma, she took time out of her Saturday to pick me up from the airport and make sure I got to the headquarters safely. I didn’t realize it then, (even after she told me her job title) but she would be one of the people I would be working under and learning from in the communications department. Just to clarify: my boss picked me up from the airport. This is not your average internship.
After she picked me up, she drove me to Bartlesville and, understanding I didn’t have a car to get around in this rural town, took me to the grocery store so I could buy groceries to start off with. My boss took me to the grocery store. I didn’t realize the significance of this simple gesture until several weeks later.
I learned on my second day that one of the projects I would be helping with is VOM’s Global Report. I didn’t know anything about the Global Report until they told me I would be helping with it. The Global Report is a booklet with detailed descriptions of all the Hostile and Restricted countries of the world. After I learned that, I thought: I get to help with that?! Dory asked me to draw on my previous design experience to give layout suggestions as well as to help research and write about these countries. All of the sudden, I was part of the team.
I also got to sit on two interviews that day (it was a big day). But both interviews were very different. The first was with a man from Nigeria who partners with VOM to provide prosthetics to people who have been maimed. He was very hard to understand and I had to ask the writer afterwards how he was able to understand him enough to effectively interview him. He told me he had just spent some time in Nigeria recently, so he was able to understand him a bit better than me, but it’s completely normal that I was having a hard time understanding him.
The second interview was a radio interview with an International Ministries (IM) worker who works in Latin America. He shared about what God is doing in Chiapas, Mexico and how VOM is helping displaced families there. That’s when it first hit me. VOM doesn’t just write stories about persecuted Christians and then say “Okay, see you later!” They actually help persecuted Christians with physical needs and spiritual needs.
I learn something new about VOM every day. Something new that VOM does for the persecuted family I’ve never much thought of before.
In Bartlesville, there’s an office and a warehouse that I and other people work in. These people look after the money, the public relations, the distribution of newsletters to American Christians and aid to persecuted Christians overseas, the content for VOM’s web site and newsletter, and many other areas that would take too long to list.
But beyond these walls, in other countries far away, are the “boots on the ground:” the VOM partners and the people we’re here to help: the persecuted. It is a gigantic network—and a gigantic family.
Valerie O. is a summer intern at The Voice of the Martyrs. This fall she will be a junior at California State University, Long Beach studying journalism. She first heard of VOM through a Bible study when someone handed her a VOM newsletter. Since then, she has felt drawn to VOM and its primary goal and has desired for God to use her skillset to help in reaching that goal.