GYA – Glad you asked! Let’s start with the basics: BMA (Biblical Mennonite Alliance) is an organization of churches scattered mostly throughout the eastern US and Canada. BMA operates a mission organization called Destinations International (DNI), which prioritizes starting churches among unreached people groups. To train its workers and cultivate a vision for missions in the church, DNI oversees the work of the Mission Training Center (MTC).
Here at the MTC, we have carried on the tradition of three-letter acronyms. LTO refers to our Long-Term Orientation, a six-week training program for those preparing for service; and WOW is short for World Outreach Weekend, our short-term events for youth, school, and church groups.
Mostly, we walk! Stores, laundry, restaurants, and lots of people are all within easy walking distance. To go further abroad or travel to another borough in the city, we bike or use the public transportation system (bus or subway). You will not find it necessary to bring a car or a bike for your stay here.
Our neighborhood is made up largely of stable immigrant families. While some parts of NYC may still experience high amounts of crime, the crime rate in our area is lower than some places in Lancaster County, PA and Holmes County, OH. We encourage our visitors to take common safety precautions such as keeping doors locked, staying aware of their surroundings, and not walking alone after dark, but we rarely worry about safety issues. We feel very comfortable walking around our neighborhood and interacting with people on the streets and in our homes, and we want our guests to do the same!
The summer internship is shorter, lasting about 7 months. Summer in the city is more intense; people spend a lot of time outside, so there are many opportunities to connect with children and families; many youth groups, LTO students, and visitors pass through the MTC; and more is happening with church outreach and children’s ministry. If you enjoy a fast-paced lifestyle with lots of things to do, the summer internship may be right for you!
The winter internship lasts about 9 months, and there is more time for personal study and development. Relationships go deeper through spending time in people’s homes or meeting them for coffee or tea. There are many opportunities for ministry, but winter interns may need to take more initiative to follow through on them. If you approach life with a quiet, laid-back approach, you might appreciate the winter internship more.
Interns participate in an intense orientation for the first week of their time here to get to know their team and acclimate to city life. For the next six weeks, they are full-time students at our LTO training. Following LTO, the interns join the MTC team in a support role and plug into the local church and the community through ministry and volunteer opportunities. The intern team meets weekly with the intern director for input, discussion, and prayer. They finish out their time here by serving as support staff for another LTO.
Intern responsibilities include:
- Participating in MTC team meetings and discussions
- Assisting with WOW groups and one LTO
- Building upkeep and cleaning or cooking duties
- Leading kids’ clubs and assisting with VBS in the summer
- Assisting with church and team outreach in the community
- Volunteering at English centers
- Offering practical help to MTC families and other workers in NYC
- Meeting with a mentor and completing personal development assignments
- Setting monthly goals for outreach and personal growth
The largest expense for our interns – as for all of us here – is rent. Interns share a small apartment with a roommate and each pay $500 a month, as well as covering their own personal living expenses. We encourage budgeting $900 monthly for the time that you are here. In addition, interns pay a one-time fee of $100 for materials and roughly $750 to attend LTO.
We encourage interns to save money before beginning their term, and sometimes their home churches and families offer financial support, but we do not intend a lack of finances to discourage potential interns from applying. If God wants you to be here, He is able to provide for your financial needs.
We encourage young people ages 18 and older with a heart for missions to apply. We prioritize those with definite plans for cross-cultural service and those with a long-term interest in church planting and missions.
We invite two young men and two young women to join each intern team. Married couples should inquire before applying.
No, you do not! Students have taken LTO who are involved in ministry to refugees and immigrants, children’s ministry, or church planting right here in the United States. Individuals who are interested simply in gaining ministry experience and tools to apply in their home community or who are sensing that God may be leading them to cross-cultural work are all welcome to apply.
Because our focus is on equipping workers to reach unreached people groups worldwide, we do prioritize students with a definite commitment to serve cross-culturally in ministry. As space allows, we accept other mission-minded applicants who have an interest in serving in their home communities.
Here is a typical schedule for a day of LTO:
- 7:00 – Breakfast
- 8:00 – Worship
- 9:15 – Class Session 1
- 10:30 – Class Session 2
- 11:45 – Life Story shared by a student or staff member
- 12:30 – Lunch
- 1:45 – Class Session 3
- 3:00 – Outreach
- 5:45 – Supper
- 7:00 – Study time, recreation, or planned evening activities
All trainees stay at The Center (93-28 Corona Ave) or at nearby apartments for the duration of their time here. Couples and families will have their own rooms, but bathrooms may be shared. We provide bedding and linens. You will do your own laundry at the local laundromat.
Living space is tight in NYC, so we recommend that you pack light. We do not have space to store large items. However, if you have a guitar or other instrument that you are comfortable using for worship and outreach, we encourage you to bring that along.
Here are some transportation options:
- Car: Our address is 93-28 Corona Ave. Elmhurst, NY 11373. There is no off-street parking, so you will be responsible to find parking on the street and move your vehicle periodically to allow for street sweeping and avoid getting a ticket.
- Plane: We provide pickup from LaGuardia and JFK airports.
- Bus: www.megabus.com or www.gotobus.com. We can meet you at your bus stop if desired.
- Train: www.amtrak.com. We can meet you at Penn Station if desired.
Before LTO we will share more specific arrival information with you and ask you to fill out a transportation form so that we know your travel plans.
Yes! We welcome families and firmly believe that family units can work together in ministry. You will have opportunities to include your children in ministry by bringing them to the city for LTO, and you may find that they open many doors to speak with people. However, there are some challenges for families during their time here, so we recommend that you read the document below for advice on how to prepare.
It is your responsibility to suggest a caregiver who can accompany your family and help to care for your children during your time at LTO. We will then follow up with the suggested caregiver.
It works best to drive into the city using vans or cars. We do not have off-street parking, and buses are not allowed to park on the street in our neighborhood, so please do not bring a bus unless you are able to make your own parking arrangements.
We recommend that each participant bring a Bible, notebook or journal, comfortable walking shoes, clothing suitable for spending lots of time outdoors, water bottle, backpack or small bag, and extra spending cash. Many small businesses and restaurants in our neighborhood do not accept credit cards.
We provide all bedding and linens.
The cost varies depending on selected activities and length of stay. Most groups average $155 per person, which covers lodging, most meals, transportation on the subway system, and all costs for classroom and outreach activities. In addition, groups generally eat out one or two meals and buy souvenirs at their own expense.
A few church groups each year visit our center for just one day. We provide an introduction to MTC and to our neighborhood and facilitate outreach in the community. These requests are handled as we are able.
Most of our WOW groups are scheduled to arrive on Thursday and depart on Sunday. Due to schedule and facility constraints, we do not currently plan WOW programs lasting more than four days.
Our program works best for groups of at least 12 people, and our ability to provide lodging maxes out at around 30 people. If your group size does not fall within this range, please contact us to see if we can still accommodate you.
Typically, youth groups or school groups sign up for WOW, but we believe that the weekend has the potential to impact people of all ages! Couples and older singles who attend as chaperones often report that they are encouraged and challenged themselves. We recommend that participants be 15 or older and ask that everyone coming agree to follow the MTC guidelines.
If you can’t find a group to come with you or if we are booked too far out, you might consider signing up for our WOW event in March each year that is open for individuals ages 16 and older.