In this article, we interview Michael Turner, who recently returned home from a six-month internship in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Michael was completing the internship as part of his requirements to graduate from the Our Generation Training Center. He was working with missionaries Dustin and Ashley Brown.

How long you were in Burkina Faso and why you were there?

I was an intern in Burkina Faso, West Africa for 6 months. I was there to get a hands-on experience of what being a missionary is like. 

What were some of the things you were doing there?

While there, I spent 3 hours Monday to Friday in language school learning French. I was given many opportunities to preach, go on outreach every week, work in a kid’s club, and grow in my relationship with the Lord. 

What lessons did you learn during your internships?

Some lessons I learned were:

  • How to budget in a foreign country.
  • How better prioritize my time.
  • How to improve the way I interact with others.
  • How to improve my preaching.
  • How to discipline myself to continue to grow and learn everyday. 

How were you changed by your time in Burkina Faso?

During my internship, God grew and molded me more than I thought He would. During my time, God taught me how to be more content in all things (Philippians 4:11), to be more loving, to be less prideful, to serve others better, to be disciplined, and to lean on Him a whole lot more. 

Anything else you’d like to share?

I have learned that there are just a few things that you are going to need if you want to be a missionary. These are humility, a heart to serve others before serving yourself, openness to new things, a desire to always be learning and bettering yourself, and a heart to see souls accept Christ as their Lord and grow in Him. 

I was able to see God save and change the lives of numerous people who were working at bars, living in prostitution, and were abusive. I saw them choose God and quit their jobs at the bar, quit living in prostitution, and grow closer to their families. These are some of the things God used in life to grow my love toward Him and my desire to be a missionary. 

I also learned that things on the mission field can be difficult and frustrating at times. One time I was in bed, sick with malaria. Everything I ate or drank came right back out. I didn’t have power, and the water was cut for an entire week. A couple of weeks late I went to an ATM to get money for groceries. The ATM took my card and everyone we asked said the card would be returned to America. I felt like I couldn’t catch a break. Then I realized that God was putting me through the fire so that He could mold me into the man He needs me to be. He was helping me to rely and focus more on Him than on myself. After all of these tough times, God always worked it out and showed me that He is in control.