Hey friends! This is Jess. As the Communication & Creative Design Coordinator, it’s my job to keep you all informed on what’s happening around St. Jude...and design a few stickers every so often. Although I’m a native Texan (born & raised in Fort Worth), I’ve spent quite a bit of time in East and Southern Africa. It was while I was living in Zambia that God began to poke holes in my definition of the gospel. The longer I lived and worked alongside my Zambian brothers and sisters, the more I realized that the gospel I grew up with was defined less by what was found in the Scriptures and more by my American individualized worldview. And then I began to observe how this worldview negatively impacted how we (the American evangelical church) “do” global missions, particularly regarding orphan care. So, I decided I wanted to do something to change this. However, my narrow understanding of the gospel, as well as my glimpse into the complexities of poverty and systems of injustice had convinced me that I was not yet equipped to do this well. This led me to Denver Seminary’s Justice and Mission program. After graduation—armed with a master’s degree—I decided I was ready to go change the trajectory of American evangelical global missions. God, of course, had a different plan, and I ended up spending a year Uganda helping to launch a new initiative designed to empower the local church to support vulnerable families and children. Eventually, I made my way to Dallas where I spent several years with an African organization focused on leadership, justice, and reconciliation and now I am on staff at World Vision. Through all my studies of Scripture and time spent with believers from around the world, I am convinced now more than ever of God’s desire to restore this messy, broken world back to himself. And I continue to be amazed that the God of the universe invites us—messy, broken people—to join him in this mission of reconciliation…all because He loves us. And because God loves and saves us, in return we get to sacrificially give love, grace, and justice to our family, our neighbors, and the world. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s SJOC’s main thing. It’s part of what drew me to St. Jude—that and the St. Jude family. If you want to hear more about my story, how I ended up at St. Jude, tips on where to travel in Africa, or what it's like to be the favorite aunt of six nephews, let’s grab some coffee.