Consider the Practicum


Last year, I spent six weeks of my summer in Brazil with RTIM missionary Brian Pate, his family, and their wonderful church family. The Lord used that time to convince me of my desire and ability to work with the international church, to show me what life on the field can be like, and to grow me in my walk with Christ.

In other words, the Practicum changed my life! You should consider doing one next summer. Here are three reasons why.

Reaching & Teaching prioritizes the local church.

Reaching & Teaching firmly believes that the local church is God’s established means of fulfilling the Great Commission. If you agree with this emphasis and want to work with local church leaders in another country, then the Practicum offers several opportunities.

My time in the Practicum rekindled my desire to serve my church back home. Older and wiser brothers from Brazil spent time with me in the Word weekly, specifically looking at lifelong discipleship and church dynamics. Zac, who spent the summer with me, encouraged me daily in my walk with Christ and continues to do so even a year later.

I witnessed a thriving, healthy church in Brazil led by a wise and growing elder team. These brothers were committed to expositional preaching and church-wide discipleship. I learned so much as I joined their weekly leadership meetings and visited multiple pastoral training sites around the country.

The Sweet Spot of 6 Weeks

Whether you’re on vacation or a mission trip, a week is too short. Thankfully, six weeks is long enough to get into a routine, get used to worship gatherings, make some friends, and even start learning the language. It’s also short enough to fit into a summertime as a student.

Before I left, I wondered how I would fare outside of the comforts I enjoy in the United States. How would I deal with not having phone service or a car or the ability to do what I wanted all the time? Honestly, these six weeks away became one of the biggest blessings of my life! All summer, I retrained myself to serve others, even when I didn’t feel like it.

The Practicum offers the perfect opportunity to see how your expectations match reality on the field and to make friendships with believers around the world.

The Practicum Will Serve You

You will certainly serve your church and others in your time overseas, but the Practicum will serve you, too. I had a crazy amount of fun in new places with new friends and trying new food. I was distracted at times, but daily asked the Lord to reorient my focus on His goodness and grace. He was faithful to teach me lessons that will be with me the rest of my life.

When I got home, I chatted with my elders and became convinced of my desire and ability to share the gospel overseas. I was also convinced of the need for longevity. Because of this, I must prioritize preparing for that task well. That’s the stage of life I find myself in now. I’m thankful for my friends at Reaching & Teaching who shaped me and showed me this truth in action.

What about you? Maybe you’ve been studying Spanish and sharing the gospel with Latinos in your community. The Lord might use a summer in Mexico to stoke your desire and confirm your ability to serve cross-culturally in Central America. After all, you might be surprised to see how similar that life is to your life now.

If you’re looking for clarity on whether or not you should pursue international missions, I strongly believe you should consider the Practicum.

Bray Snyder

Bray Snyder served as a 2022 Practicum student in Campinas, Brazil. The Lord used that summer to deepen his love for the local church, discipleship, and cross-cultural missions. He is passionate about visual storytelling, especially telling stories from hard-to-reach places related to missions. Currently, he works with the NBA, MLB, and NHL and has the ability to evangelize to professionals daily in his work across the East Coast of the US. Bray lives in Nashville, TN where he is a member of Edgefield Church.

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