The Rocky Mountain Synod is blessed to be sending four Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) abroad this August to engage in an intentional year of service around the world. I reached out to them in hopes that I could share their stories and the amazing ministry that they’re about to start with the rest of the Synod.
Katharine Jones is one of the YAGMs leaving in August; she will be serving in Jerusalem/West Bank for a year. Here is her story:
Hello!! My name is Katharine Jones and I am a Colorado native who is passionate about deeply understanding and caring for other people. I was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boulder, which became a second home for me. I was very involved at Trinity, as well as with the synod Junior High and Senior High Youth Gatherings, the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans in 2012, and Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp, as a camper and staff. All of these experiences were important to my spiritual development and my growth as a leader, and also cultivated my care for other people and desire to fight injustice. However, most importantly, the people that I met through my experiences with the ELCA serve as mentors and friends to this day.
I attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, where I graduated this May with a degree in International Studies and a degree in Biology. I knew that I wanted to commit to at least one year of postgraduate service and applied to a variety of programs, but discerned that Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) was where I felt the most called. YAGM intends for missionaries to grow in their faith, become globally informed, and receive and share the gifts of the global church throughout a year of service. I feel the mission of the YAGM program very closely aligns with my own personal passions and goals and I was selected to be a missionary in the Jerusalem program next year.
I have long been interested in traveling to the Holy Land, because like many others I feel a draw there for spiritual reasons. Throughout college this call grew beyond a personal longing. I became drawn to inter-religious issues during college because of friendships I made and classes I took. These experiences fueled my desire to immerse myself in the Holy Land, which is central to multiple religions. Last summer I took a class about the Arab-Israeli conflict and learned in-depth about the experiences of those on both sides in the area. This year I completed a fellowship through Gonzaga with the Spokane Interfaith Council whose mission is to increase interfaith literacy across college campuses in Spokane and create safe spaces for people of all faiths to share. I am excited to go to the Israel/Palestine region and form relationships with both Israelis and Palestinians there, in order to better understand the human-side of a polarizing and heartbreaking conflict. My call to the Holy Land is now multifaceted, with components of spiritual curiosity and feelings that I can best serve God by living out Christ’s reconciliation through relationship with the people living in Jerusalem.
As always, prayer is one of the best ways you can support Katharine in the next year! However, she does have to fundraise $5,000 out of the over $15,000 it takes for her to serve a year in Jerusalem. If you would like to support Katharine financially, click the link below! Every penny counts.