Lana Sydenstricker (’17) and Madison Mayhew (’15) say they have always had a passion for people and ministry. As former communication and social work majors at Lipscomb University, the pair says they wanted to use their skillset to help others, and shortly after graduation, each connected with International Justice Mission, a faith-based global organization, to do that very thing.
This past June, Sydenstricker left the United States for a yearlong internship in India with International Justice Mission, and Mayhew has spent the last month in Washington, D.C., for her summer internship with IJM.
IJM’s mission is to protect the poor from violence in developing countries. With a team of more than 750 lawyers, investigators, social workers, community activists and other professionals at work in 17 field offices, IJM works to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restores survivors and strengthen local justice systems.
“Over the past few years the Lord has grown a love in my heart for standing up for the vulnerable people in the world,” says Sydenstricker. “During my time at Lipscomb, I served in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Nairobi, Kenya through Lipscomb Missions. Those experiences shaped my journey and opened my eyes to the needs in the world that I had always heard about, but had never experienced with my own eyes.
“IJM has a heart for ending violence in underdeveloped countries and ending human trafficking of all forms, and I'm blessed to be a part of the movement they have started,” she continued. “This internship in South Asia combines my love for public relations, writing, travel, new cultures and getting to serve others.”
Now in India, the Ohio-native is serving as the communications intern for IJM. Through this role she is helping tell stories of the organization and bringing awareness to the tragic cases of abuse that IJM finds on a daily basis.
“I am working with locals to end violence and bring hope to the community there,” said Sydenstricker. “Working with the local team, I’m getting to use my college experience to shape the branding and stories that IJM tells.”
Mayhew, who is a Georgia-native and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in social work at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, has spent the last month at the IJM Headquarters in the Washington D.C.’s metro area, and will continue through August. At IJM, Mayhew is serving on the staff care team and is tasked to support the self-care and resiliency of IJM staff around the world.
“Taking care of IJM staff is incredibly valuable in the fight against human trafficking, as the nature of the work is incredibly traumatic,” said Mayhew.
“I was motivated to pursue this position because of the unique opportunity to learn how to carry the love of Christ within the workplace, while also learning more about how an international organization fights for justice at a global level.”
Through these internship opportunities, both Sydenstricker and Mayhew are tasked to fundraise thousands of dollars for living expenses, food, travel and other ministry costs.
As a member of Lipscomb’s IJM campus chapter, which was founded in 2010, rising senior Lauren Borders says the chapter wants to help spread the word about IJM’s message and of the pair’s accomplishments.
“IJM is an organization that works to fight international human slavery, and this year two Lipscomb grads are doing internships for them,” said Borders. “Our chapter wants to help celebrate Lana and Madison’s accomplishments and help them fundraise.”