In the routine of life’s mundane activities, it is easy to lose sight of passion. Thus, when an individual openly discusses their passion for whatever field they may be in or activities in which they participate, it entices listeners. One such individual who is passionate about her field is senior Michaela McCurdy, who had the unique opportunity to complete an international internship over the summer.
McCurdy is majoring in international relations, with a complementary major in Spanish and a minor in biology. She felt called to do more than just her required study abroad while in Bolivia. McCurdy found Word Made Flesh, an organization that aligned with her ideals, and worked to gain an internship with them while studying in Bolivia.
Word Made Flesh, an organization with numerous locations around the world, focuses on serving Jesus in impoverished and vulnerable communities.
The organization works to help those who are most marginalized and exploited in communities. With prostitution as an epidemic in Bolivia, the chapter McCurdy interned with works with women and children who have been exploited.
“Most of the women who I became friends with who worked in prostitution were middle-aged to older indigenous women, still in indigenous dress, who would come in from the village,” she said. “They were seeking work opportunity in the city and weren’t able to find it, and needed to provide for their children. A lot of them are single mothers and victims of abuse their entire lives.”
The ministry works with at-risk youth and children of mothers working to break from prostitution. They provide meals and education that aid in the process of escaping prostitution with group therapy and counseling. McCurdy could not even express the importance and greatness of Word Made Flesh.
“They are so intentional about celebrating life and choosing joy, and it’s beautiful,” she said.
Despite it being summer, Bolivia was extremely cold during her seven-week stay because it sits at 14,000 feet above sea level. While Indiana was a toasty 70 degrees in the evenings, McCurdy was freezing in 25-degree weather. Although this was the worst part of the trip for McCurdy, it didn’t come close to touching the beauty and wonder she experienced while there.
McCurdy took on many roles during her internship with Word Made Flesh, and to say her work with the organization was impactful to herself and the community would be an understatement.
“Mondays and Fridays I was mainly at community events supporting the staff, like book studies,” she said. “I was working on a prayer project. They’re constructing a prayer room in Word Made Flesh and prayer is something I’m really, really passionate about, so being able to help that come to life and create a space for that in a completely different context and a completely different place was amazing. I got to sit down and have conversations with people who have prayer rooms all over the city, like things you would never even know were there and people from all over the world. It was amazing.”
Tuesdays and Thursdays, McCurdy worked with children in intervention programs, specifically teenagers 14 to 17 years old whose moms were still working in prostitution.
She also had the chance to help teach life skills as a way to make money to replace prostitution, such as one of her fondest memories, showing the women how to make no-bake cookies.
“It wasn’t about teaching the skill or eating cookies or anything, it was so much about just simple friendship, and not only me with the women, but also seeing friendships build amongst the women,” she said.
Working with Word Made Flesh in Bolivia taught McCurdy lessons she is still discovering today. Her passion for Christ lit up her face as she explained her biggest takeaway.
“It was understanding that communion was because of Christ’s sacrifice,” she said. “We now have communion with God and we then can have communion with other people and it’s not shoving away our brokenness in order to find community, but it’s in the acknowledgement and awareness that we are all broken people that we’re able to actually receive God’s grace and God’s goodness and therefore sharing communion with both God and one another in that communion takes place everywhere.”
Coming back home, she has learned to live with a spirit of thankfulness and celebration rather than fear, despite impending change.
The spirit of God radiated brilliantly from Michaela McCurdy as she spoke of her adventures and work in Bolivia. A true servant of God, McCurdy effortlessly refreshes one’s soul in common conversation and, as she did in Bolivia, continues to embody a passionate and devoted follower of Christ.