I’m happy to introduce you to a dear friend of mine. I’m not even sure the circumstances surrounding the beginning of our friendship. I can assure you this: there was laughter. Jara is one of the funniest people I know. She taught me the art (and yes, it is an art) of how to pull off successful (and believable) run-ins with swinging doors, and how to trip and fall at a moment’s notice. We spent MANY hours doing prank phone calls that we still laugh about to this day. (They were harmless, of course.) For all the things she taught me while being total goofs in college, she has taught me so much about how to really love people. She has taught me about redemption. She has taught me about consistency. She has taught me about Jesus. I hope, as you read about my friend Jara that you will get to know this side of her.
Jara spent her early years in Indiana and Michigan but claims Franklin, TN as “home.” It was in Franklin that she accepted Christ at her local church. From elementary school to high school, Jara learned about Christ's love for others through mission trips, her family and church. At Asbury College, she learned more about Christ's love for the poor but she didn't know in what capacity she could serve Him. Jara graduated from Asbury in 2003 with a bachelor of arts in journalism, and went on to The University of Memphis to earn her master's degree in journalism.
In Memphis, Jara put the puzzle pieces of her life together. Through the university she worked with The Teen Appeal, a citywide high school newspaper for Memphis City Schools. It was through this opportunity that she realized that everyone needs the chance to show and know their potential and that no one should be looked down upon because of age, race, or affiliation. Jara received her master's degree in journalism in August. Jara is now the Advocacy Coordinator at Word Made Flesh headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.
As Advocacy Coordinator, Jara, along with other staff members in the advocacy department, helps to amplify the voice of the world’s poor and most vulnerable. Jara firmly believes the poor have a voice, and makes sure their voices are heard through stories, pictures, sounds, and other outlets. Jara works very closely with The Cry, the quarterly journal put out by Word Made Flesh that contains stories and reflections from staff and overseas partners working in various fields with the organization. Her department also coordinates short term programs that connect participants with God’s heart for the poor as they minister to and build relationships with people in 10 different countries. Jara works heavily with The Cry, the Word Made Flesh website, and other print pieces that go out. She said, “I support our department through logistics and scheduling and general good laughter.” (See? Even SHE thinks she’s funny.)
Jara does what she does because she loves the power of a story and has a passion for working toward justice and awareness of issues that are across the street and around the world. She got her start on the missions journey as a child. She says God used her mom’s compassionate and servant heart for the poor to introduce her to God’s heart for the poor. In participating in various missions trips, Jara knew it was not about her providing anything to people, but being willing to participate in what God was already doing among these communities. I think Jara sums everything up when she said, “When I was in Sierra Leone a staff member reminded me that God will work with or without us...it would be nice if we would help.”
Now that you know more about Jara, how can you join her?
- Pray for peace, clarity, and sustainability as she works with Word Made Flesh.
- Her boss is currently on sabbatical, which means increased responsibility and the absence of a good friend.
- Pray for restoration and renewal. She’s had a busy few months and is desperate for it.
- She is getting married!!! Pray for her and Kenley as they plan, that they would be able to enjoy this part of the journey together.
- Pray for her support account. Pray that Jesus would continue to provide consistent, committed supporters.