|She's got the whole world in her hands! Internship at UN enlightens Rawls-Shaw|
By Kay Carney
Rochelle Rawls-Shaw is taking on the world! The SFTS Master of Divinity student is interning at the United Nations in New York, a position she hoped for but was not sure was going to materialize. Her prayers were answered and the obstacles that appeared in her path that would have thwarted the internship opportunity were overcome.
Rawls-Shaw is interning with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, whose mission is to share information about how the United Nations addresses humanitarian issues and concerns that affect all of humanity.
“This internship is exposing me to a world much larger than the one I read about in the classroom. It is enabling me to see the value of what I have learned about ministry from professors and theologians, and it has taught me the value of theological reflection as well as the value of education,” stated Rawls-Shaw.
When Rawls-Shaw arrived in New York, the wonders of the world literally opened up before her. She has been in the same room with national and world leaders and attended conferences where heads of state have spoken. While attending the UN General Assembly, Rawls-Shaw listened to an address by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as leaders from Egypt, United Kingdom, Japan, Libya, China and Germany.
Rawls-Shaw also heard speeches by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu, and Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority regarding membership at the United Nations.
“I have come to realize how much all human beings are connected, and I have met people and established relationships with people from all over the world,” said Rawls-Shaw.
Rawls-Shaw’s most memorable experience so far was a front-row seat at a high-level discussion on ending child marriage, featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The opening statement was given by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the moderator was Ann Curry of NBC News. She was especially moved by a young woman who spoke of how her life was changed when her father supported her getting an education and not forcing her to marry at 9 years of age.
“I felt so very different at this event, like I belonged there. I felt like this was a gift from God, that He had chosen me so I could be the hands He’s using to help with this issue,” she said. “I talked with the moderator, Ann Curry, and thanked her for her compassionate questions, and before we parted, we embraced. God is awesome ... and so is my internship!”
Rawls-Shaw’s internship has validated her perspective that ministry exists beyond the walls of the church.
“God the Creator is the God of all human beings, including those who gather together inside a church to worship, as well as those who worship through other means, outside of the church. God has revealed himself to me once again, through my internship; for which I am humbled and deeply grateful.”
Support the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. Give online at http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ or text “UN” to 20222 to donate $10.
Kay Carney is vice president of communications.