World Horizons broadens internship opportunities

Danielle McConnell and Ana Waltschew reflect on their experiences of dancing and serving refugees as ministry.

Caitlin Blackmon, Features Apprentice

Although hardly accessible through the wave of students, this week’s booths will boast opportunities to serve others in numerous parts of the world. World Horizons provided two students, in particular, with life-transforming service opportunities.


This coming summer, junior intercultural studies major Danielle McConnell will spend her summer interning as a ballet teacher in Southeast Asia for World Horizons.

“I had seen them at Missions Conference before, and then heard about them through different friends that did internships with them, and I’d seen that they had a full-time position for ballet teacher,” McConnell said. “I did ballet throughout high school and then middle school too. And so I was like, ‘I obviously can’t do the full-time position, but I would love to partner with them.’”

The passion for ministry shows up for many in the everyday problems that life presents. McConnell’s desire to serve others dates back to her dancing days, when she observed that the issues girls around her struggled with compelled her to prayer.

“It was when I was really considering doing ballet as a professional career, that, because dance teachers were really pressuring me, I was just sitting there, and I was like, ‘You know, the only thing I can really see myself doing is just praying over all the girls that are struggling with anorexia and self-image and all this stuff,’” McConnell said.

Beyond the dance room, McConnell determined God’s hand directed her towards missions in Southeast Asia. As her time approaches to serve there briefly, McConnell prepares her heart for the people and lifestyles she will encounter there.

“The Lord’s given me a heart for [Southeast Asia] for two years now, almost three years, but I’ve never been. So I’m just really excited to learn about the culture—to be immersed in it,” McConnell said.


World Horizon’s presence at Missions Conference also led senior journalism major Ana Waltschew to partake in an internship with them this past summer, where she spent time working with refugees in the Middle East.

“Last summer, I… really desired to work with a missions organization in some capacity, because I saw myself doing that in the future,” Waltschew said. “I wanted to do refugee ministry, and I wanted to do it with a missions organization.”

This internship helped Waltschew fulfill part of the calling she feels God placed in her life once she came to faith in Christ. Her initial response to missions abroad led her to this particular opportunity and others like it.

“I have always had a heart for missions. When I first became a Christian, I told the Lord that very night that I would go anywhere for him. Since then, he’s kind of opened the doors and allowed me to travel, doing missions in a few different contexts,” Waltschew said.

According to Waltschew, discussions about the refugee crisis in popular culture propels people to maintain tender hearts toward the situation. Waltschew’s hands-on experience allowed her to engage refugees in a way that many cannot relate to.

“I think there’s a lot of talk on the news of the refugee crisis, and so I think our generation has this mentality of wanting to love the refugee and care for the foreigner amongst us, and advocate for the immigrant,” Waltschew said. “But the reality of it, I think, is many of us have not actually engaged with a refugee or even a Muslim on a one-on-one basis.”


Executive director of World Horizons USA Kristopher Keating shared that the missions-based ministry of World Horizons currently serves in 32 countries across the globe in multiple capacities, ranging from helping cover essential needs to opening hearts through means of art, with a focus on making disciples.

“Our focus is making disciples among unreached people groups,” Keating said. “We do things like schools… and also things like mission training programs for people from other nations in those nations. We have refugee care operations in places where that’s a need—so we’re feeding refugees and providing basic needs for them. We do art galleries as an up and coming mission venue.”

Keating described Biola’s positive reaction to the organization produces a mutually beneficial relationship where World Horizons provides opportunities that students welcome.

“Biola is good to us. We have had really good experience with the heart of compassion and interest in mission and the justice of mission—the desire to see the gospel announced in places where it is yet to be announced,” Keating said. “And so, whenever we are [at] Biola, we feel like the reception to the kinds of things we’re doing and the way we’re doing it is very positive.”

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