Catrina Standifer has had a very busy year, and there are no indications she’ll be slowing down. A member of Flandreau UMC on the eastern edge of South Dakota, Catrina had served as a youth leader and was seeking a way to explore her calling. Then her pastor suggested an Elisha ministry internship. That was in January, and by February she was enrolled to serve as a summer intern at Asbury UMC in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Catrina has been active in the Flandreau church, was active in the youth group, and even sought guidance from her pastor, Rev. Amber Laffey. She went through some dark times and soul-searching during the pandemic and discovered she had a story to tell. That led to an invitation from Pastor Amber to preach one Sunday in church.
“I asked Amber for some tips on sermon writing, and then,” Catrina said, “as I preached, I just felt super-alive.”
Fast-forward to May of this year, and Catrina graduated from Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls with a degree in IT Security. She was soon hired for a full-time job but continued following her ministry discernment through her Elisha internship. Serving for the summer at Sioux Falls Asbury UMC has helped her understand that calling and the types of ministries she feels equipped and energized to do.
“You know, they kind of put me in almost every aspect of ministry they could. I did the tech side; I was up doing screen lyrics sometimes. I did the worship team with Matt. I also did some video editing with Matt.” Catrina continued, “Pastor Kip [Roozen] showed me a few things about marital counseling, and I just found that really interesting as well. He also taught me a bit about care ministries, too.”
Preaching can be an intimidating assignment for an intern, but Catrina thoroughly enjoyed that part of her internship. She preached many Wednesdays, but also a couple of Sunday sermons, including one on June 27th titled Lessons Learned. Now that many churches pre-record their sermons, she had the experience of recording it to an empty sanctuary, as well as in-person. In that sermon, Catrina shared things she has learned, but also lessons Jesus’ disciples learned, which all of us should learn as we navigate life’s challenges.
“I basically did a little bit of everything. I attended a missions meeting. I attended most of the children ministries meetings, and I also helped Matt edit some videos, sang with the worship team, and I attended a few youth events, and even planned a youth event in July.”
During Catrina’s internship Asbury had a staff position opening for a director of youth ministries. Since she had experience from Flandreau UMC, and was really enjoying planning youth activities at Asbury, Catrina kept feeling a nudge to apply for that position. After resisting those nudges she applied for that position and was hired later in the summer.
Now she’s responsible for developing and coordinating ministry for middle school and high school students as well as coordinating youth events and volunteer opportunities at Asbury UMC.“I coordinate and plan all the lessons and what's going to happen for that. I’m excited and just praying that I’m able to help get the youth group and Sunday school activities back up and running again.”In retrospect, the internship was eye-opening and personally rewarding for Catrina. “I guess, my favorite times, were when I gave my sermons because it was something that I wrote and some people replied back, with like ‘Wow! That was really touching inspiring.’ Just knowing that I touched someone with something that I wrote made me feel, like, super good.” She added, “This is a really good internship. I really enjoyed doing it in the summer.”
If you know someone who would benefit from being an Elisha intern, or a church that would benefit from having an Elisha intern, please contact the Dakotas Conference Leadership office here.