First 2 Weeks at EMI

Sorry it’s been soo long since my last post! My delay is definitely not because I have nothing to write about. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. I will be breaking down a lot of the first two weeks, but I wanted to post an overview of what I’ve experienced so far as an Engineering Ministries International (EMI) Intern in Colorado.

26th Birthday Celebration

About 2 weeks ago I arrived in Colorado Springs only a few hours into my birthday. This is the second consecutive birthday I’ve spent with strangers who became instant family. Only hours after meeting my housemates, I woke up to flowers and balloons outside my door! My housemates also took me out for birthday pizza and dessert. I’m so blessed to share a home and office with these wonderful ladies.

Elizabeth got me flowers and a small gift! ❤
Meet Emily (front) & Karen (back)! Two EMI interns going to Senegal this semester!
Elizabeth (top left) was kind enough to open her home to Emily (top right), Karen (bottom right) and I. Elizabeth is a school teacher and friend of EMI.

Week 1: Orientation at the Hideaway

Welcome to The Hideaway. My home away from home.
View from the backyard

I spent the entire first week of orientation at a cabin like resort about 30 minutes north of my Colorado Springs home. Unlike most job orientations, this time was dedicated to understanding my personality type, strengths, spiritual gifts and how I can best serve and fulfill the great commission. We also spent about 10 hours understanding different cultures and preparing to live, work, and love others abroad.

It wasn’t until the second to last day that we had a session about how our design skills are used at EMI. It is clear that EMI cares more about who I am and the God in me, than how much book knowledge I have. (Which is great because I haven’t practiced engineering in about 16 months and I’m kind of rusty.)

Most days began at 7 AM and ended around 9 PM. After 9 PM I socialized with the other 12 interns (which didn’t leave much time for blogging).

Week 1: Day to Day Schedule.

This week was spent with all the new staff and interns from every EMI office. Only 3 of 30ish people actually work with me in the Colorado Springs office. Meeting everyone and then going to different parts of the globe at the end of the week, was by far the toughest part. Some of the interns started their own blogs, which I will list below. It’s interesting to see how God is using others in different parts of the world.

13 of the 15 EMI interns this semester at The Garden of Gods in Colorado Springs. We are Christian Architects and Engineers ready to use our gifts to design a world of hope.

Week 2: Office Orientation

It’s almost impossible to simultaneously understand the world I live in and the office I work in without Ugly Crying.

Where it all goes down.

Some of my burning questions coming into this experience were: How do you get work done in a Christ-Centered workplace? How will I meet deadlines while demonstrating patience and being lead by Christ? This past week I got to see how design professionals engage in Christ-Centered work.

Design Professional Office: The culture of professionalism at EMI is as if we are going to work in Heaven Monday – Friday. I know it’s a stretch but think about it. How would you dress if you were going to work in God’s presence? How organized and accurate would your work be? That’s how I would describe EMI.

Lunch with the interns on the first day in the office. From left to right: Tolu, Alex, Emily & Karen.
Tolu & I are going to Zambia for our project trip!
EMI Intern Office Overview

Christ Centered Workplace: Every work day typically begins at 8:30 AM with devotion or worship. Devotionals are unscripted and are lead by a different staff member/ intern each day. After devotions, we pray for specific EMI offices around the globe. I signed up to lead devotion on April 6th!

We start each work day praying for our EMI offices and worshiping on Fridays.

One of EMI’s core values is discipleship, so I’ve been assigned a mentor, Gala Dallman (our CEO’s wife). Unlike a typical work mentor, Gala will assist with my spiritual and personal growth in addition to professional. Also, I will partake in a weekly bible study with the other office interns. Lastly, every Friday I will volunteer and fellowship at the Marian House (local soup kitchen). What I love about EMI is that they want me to actually build relationships while I’m there.

Worship overseeing the fishbowl.
Worship from the 2nd floor.
The excitement after cleaning a huge soup kitchen oven. Time for lunch.

Fellowship Outside the Office

I can’t remember the last time I’ve had such a vibrant social life! I have to remember to take more pictures. It’s customary for EMI staff to invite the interns over for dinner often. I’ve already had four dinner invites (including one hosted by Karen for Chinese New Year). At this rate, I won’t have to buy groceries until I get back from Africa!

Dinner at the Frank’s! We made them a card. It said: “Franks. Franks a lot!”
IMG_0245 (1).JPG
Karen cooked dinner for us in celebration of Chinese New Year! It’s the year of the Rooster!

Week 3 -5: Traveling to Chikankata, Zambia!!

It’s about that time folks! I’m in the third week of my internship and I leave for Zambia in less than one week! This week I’ll be preparing to travel with my EMI project trip leaders, Dan, Gary and Tolu (the other intern). We also have 9 other design professional volunteers, most of which will meet us in Africa. Our project trip is for the Chikankata Salvation Army Mission Camp in Zambia! The mission has about 300 buildings and a few thousand people live onsite! The site serves as a hospital, college, radio station, secondary school, and so much more. Unfortunately, their water reservoir has dried up and they experience rolling blackouts due to lack of hydro-electric power. That’s where EMI comes in! We are tasked with doing an assessment of the site’s infrastructure with a focus on water, wastewater and electrical systems. Click the following links to learn more about our project!

Aerial video of campus from a drone!
Information on Chikankata Salvation Army
EMI Project Overview

I’ll be in Zambia Feb 6th – Feb 19th! On the last day, we plan to travel to Livingston, Zambia to check out Victoria Falls!!! I absolutely LOVE waterfalls and Victoria Falls is known as one of the largest falls in the world!

My Prayer:

“Father God, thank you for this amazing opportunity to grow and serve with EMI. It’s clear that these are your people and they are about your business on earth. Please continue to direct my path within this organization. Please give me strength through an Ugly Cry when things get tough and I grow weary. Remind me always that this is for your glory and for the good of others. Father don’t let me get comfortable in this place, but remind me to always push towards the vision you’ve given me. A vision that will break cycles of poverty, spread Your love and Your Word to all. Lord protect and guide this team as we serve the people of Chikankata. Let us lead with humility and understand the needs of the Salvation Army. They may be different from us, but let us value them above ourselves.1 Lord thank you for taking the form of a servant and demonstrating how to relate to different people.2 I’m forever in awe of your love. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Thanks for reading my blog! I’ve been working on my youtube channel and I hope to post a blog about it before I leave for Zambia. In the meantime, you can check out my Righteous Anger Playlist Here.

  • Follow me on social media @UCUnfiltered
  • Browse my website and read my latest blog: My Sweet Spot
  • An awesome way to join/support my mission is to become a Blog Review Crew member! Click here for more information and how to sign up.

With God’s Love,
Jamara Beard ❤

Bible References:

1. [Philippians 2:3-4]
2. [Philippians 2:5-8]

Other Intern Blogs:

Marina Acala
Elliot Martin
Tolu Williams

6 thoughts on “First 2 Weeks at EMI

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