This summer we had the privilege of having Jessica MacDonald of Fairfax Community Church in Fairfax, Virginia serve as our 3W Summer Intern for 2013. Jessica lived with us, served alongside Rhonda Philips at Neustart working with women caught in sex trafficking, attended the "Global Fellowship Weekend" by visiting the church plant in Arco, Italy, and attending some classes at Fritzlar Bible College.
Jessica is a student at the prestigious college William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She is interested in neurology, French, and Arabic. We know the Lord has great plans for her life. Jamie and I sat down with her to ask her about her experiences this summer.
3W: Where do babies come from?
Jessica: A cabbage patch.
3W: Okay, J-Dawg, tell us about yourself and where you are from?
Jessica: I'm from the Washington D.C. area.
3W: You are a college student at a very prestigious school, which means you are very smart. What are your main areas of academic interest?
Jessica: Definitely languages, French and Arabic are the primary ones. Definitely the sciences, I started out thinking I was going to be a chemistry major. Then I switched to neuroscience because I was interested in psychology and how the brain works, and then I thought maybe I would go back to biology which I had thought about doing in high school because I also do love that very much.
3W: What were your impressions of the city of Berlin?
Jessica: I love it. I want to live here. It's very cool. Very clean. Although the people are a little more closed off, i didn't feel like I was a stranger. I adapted easily to it. I love that it has a feeling of newness, and an urban vibe to it. It's an interesting mix because it can feel fast-paced, but since there's nature everywhere, you get the feeling you can relax.
3W: What were your impressions of Neustart Cafe?
Jessica: It was really nice. It was really hard picturing it before I came. I tried to describe it to my friends, but I didn't even understand it very well. (I knew) it provided a safe space for some of the prostitutes in the city, but I didn't have a mental image of what it looked like or what I would be doing. The first day was kind of challenging because a lot people were speaking German. There are different people every day, so sometimes there are more English speakers, sometimes there are Hungarian speakers.
But as I kind of eased into it and got to know the other workers better and got to develop relationships with some of the women better, it was really nice. Even though a lot of the stuff was heavy, and shocking to some people, I always had fun. The way I gauged it was as I was telling my friends, "This woman is a heroin addict, she got robbed, but don't worry, she's okay and she's really sweet." I never felt in any danger which was a big factor.
3W: You did something special there?
Jessica: I painted the women's nails. Rhonda and I were in the office and I found this little manicure-box of nail polish--and I said, "Is this yours?" And she said, "We do it for the women sometimes." And so I said, "I want to help." That helped me feel more comfortable there especially as I tried to learn more conversational German. I could speak about their families and what they like to do while we were having a little spa time.
3W: How was working with Rhonda?
Jessica: Super. She is my babushka. Momma Rhonda.
3W: How did you feel about Italy?
Jessica: It was pretty spectacular. It was cool being in a new culture. the sights were really pretty. I loved swimming and going to the lakes and beach. The church at Arco was quite an experience. Especially just following along as they are preaching in Italian and I do pick up a couple of things. I don't think I've ever had an experience like that where I didn't know the language and had to pick up little details and really on the translation. I loved doing worship in Italian (they had the words up on the screen), so I could feel it out.
3W: Then you had the opportunity to hang out with the students at Fritzlar? What did you think of the students and the school?
Jessica: It was so nice hanging out with kids my age. It was good to challenge myself with the language barrier and in other ways. Breaking bread together, sitting in class together, and joking around, you don't have to understand each other to get along.
3W: What was it like having a 10 year old brother for the summer?
Jessica: It was interesting. I don't have any younger siblings. It was fun. Except one time when I hit him in earnest because I was not having it, and I thought this is what i would do to my brothers, but I thought, "I'm not related to him." But then later, I disposed of 6 bugs and he wasn't mad anymore.
3W: You redeemed yourself. What's your big take-away from this experience?
Jessica: That it's okay to have lots of Christian friends that I get along with. That it's okay to focus on my personal relationship with God and let that direct me with in my relationships with other people.
Growing into my faith as an adult and getting past all of that childhood suppressing stuff, like you can't be angry at God or have problems, or put on a facade.
3W: So you feel like you found some spiritual freedom in this experience an in your Christian faith?
Jessica: I'm coming into adulthood and finding my own faith.
3W: What's the most awesome thing about hanging out with Patrick?
Jessica: The first weeks, when it was just Jamie and Marco and I were awesome. But I learned how to impersonate you and I'm getting ready to take your place. It's okay that you are here, but I'm going to take you out. (Singing L.L. Cool J together): "I'm going to knock you out, Mama said knock you out."
Whenever I say something funny you affirm me with a fist-bump.
3W: You are very funny! But I am ready to to put you on the plane. Alright J-Dawg. Peace, and respect. Ali G "Respect."