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In the fall of 2016, these were the words that we said in response to our daughter, Emily Howenstine, asking if she could apply to be an intern at Show Mercy International.  Emily was only 16 at the time and we trusted that God would ‘protect’ our daughter and that the rules would simply be that no one under the age of 18 could attend a summer internship.  We happily wrote the check needed to apply, signed the consent form (under the age of 18) and had confidence that there was no way that they would accept such a young person.  It could not have been any longer than 2 weeks and Emily came bouncing into the house indicating that she had been accepted to serve with SMI for 2 months in the summer of 2017.  This began our journey to see our daughter off to Uganda, Africa.  “Say What?”

As you can imagine, our initial duty was to vet the organization and search out any and all discrepancies in their methods, theology, purpose, etc.  We believe that the Bible is the final authority and in our research….we found nothing to indicate that SMI was not of that same idea.  SMI stands on the Bible as the foundation and guiding principle for the mission of the organization.  We then thought that there had to be something else.  Nothing, Nada, Zilch.  We came full circle and even though we had no personal connection with SMI, felt confident that Emily would not only be safe, but grow in her relationship with God.  That was certainly an understatement as we would find out soon after Emily’s arrival in Uganda.

The entire internship was spelled out in full detail with all questions in a document that was sent to Emily.  We were particularly impressed with the level of detail that went into the writing and direction for the interns.  We do not recall a single question that was NOT addressed in the intern packet.  Very well done!  This put us even more at ease letting our daughter travel some 8,000 miles into the unknown.  (Emily’s words)

Emily matured in many ways right in front of our ears…..we say our ears because we did not see what was happening, but we could hear the joy and growth in her voice and through her text messages that we started to receive.  SMI has a wonderful facility and does a great job at making the interns feel right at home for their time in Uganda.  We have repeatedly asked Emily if there was any time she was fearful of something or someone and she has always said she felt safe the entire time.  Emily grew exponentially in her relationship with God, far beyond what we could have ever prayed for or imagined.  God revealed Himself to her through the staff, roommates, Boda drivers and the people of Uganda.  What she has shared with us and the change that we have seen in Emily is only from God and the circumstances that led her to Uganda!

We would highly recommend SMI to anyone that is considering a short term mission or internship with the organization.  We never had a fear or concern, communication was fantastic and we would love it if Emily is called back again to Uganda with SMI!

We would like to leave with these words, straight from Emily’s heart:

Jesus is teaching me so much. He overwhelms me with His love for others and me everyday. I am so honored I get to partner with Him to spread the good news. I am learning how to love people with Unconditional love. He is transforming my mind and heart, to see circumstances how He views them. He has given me so much boldness to share His love with others.

 Brian and Amy Howenstine



Show Mercy International
P.O. Box 1003
Port Gibson, MS 39150

Phone: (601) 535-2790
Email: info@showmercy.org