At the beginning of 2017, Zachary Ranck served as a mission intern for three months at a rural Guatemalan orphanage called Manos de Compasión ("Hands of Compassion").
Q: Why did you decide to do a mission internship?
A: I had a gap year between high school and college, and I wanted to make the most out of it. Serving on the mission field was definitely not something I imagined myself doing, but taking advantage of this opportunity was one of the best decisions I have made.
Q: Describe a typical day of your internship.
A: In the mornings we'd all have breakfast and Bible study together. After that, I would do random jobs around the orphanage -- anything from varnishing a roof to chopping stuff down in the jungle. In the afternoons, I would play with the kids -- teaching piano, playing soccer, swimming, hiking — doing anything I could to help take care of them. I was basically like an older brother.
Q: What is one part of your experience that you'll never forget?
A: The biggest thing I got from this was perspective. Some of the stories I heard from the kids were unimaginable. Most of them didn't get the love and care that I got from my parents. It's amazing to see how the kids come from terrible situations, and through being loved, they become great children. They truly just want to be children — that's something they've never experienced before.
Q: What's next for you?
A: My next immediate step is to go to college for engineering. Someday I want to go back to the mission field and somehow apply my engineering skills there.
Once we bought a 450-lb. pig, and I had to help transport it. I had to get in the pigpen with all the disgusting slop and lasso a rope around the rear leg of the pig. Then we had to pull the pig out of the pen, put her in the back of the pickup truck, and transport her to her new pen at the orphanage. The pig was screaming during this entire process — the noise was ear-piercing! The smell was on my hands and in my clothes for three days.
Interview edited and condensed for clarity.