Different than Planned

By Karissa Maust

In 2020, Kayla Duckert had plans for a Wycliffe summer internship that involved helping with a Bible translation in a Canadian First Nations community. However, as was the case for many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic upended her plans. God still brought Kayla an opportunity to support Bible translation, though; it was just in a different way.

In high school, Kayla had taken Chinese and college-level French language classes that sparked a love for linguistics. She studied applied linguistics at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with the goal of being involved in Bible translation.

During college, she had planned to fulfill her internship requirements by serving with Wycliffe in Canada, assisting a First Nations community with its translation of the Old Testament. When that plan was canceled in 2020 and again in 2021, she found herself in need of some sort of ministry internship to complete her degree requirements. Searching online, she found the JAARS Fellows experience and the Outdoor and Multi-Generational Engagement position for Cohort Delta. Kayla loves outdoor activities, including hiking, trail running, and camping. She had also participated in a Wycliffe event held at JAARS as a teenager and was excited that she’d be helping with similar events if she got the position. 

When she got the job, Kayla realized she could still help with Bible translation, just in a different way than she had originally planned. She is teaching people of all ages about the Great Commission and the importance of Bible translation through programming such as CrossVenture.

Kayla leading a CrossVenture activity.

Kayla’s responsibilities vary from day to day. The main event that she is in charge of is CrossVenture. She helped several weekend groups this last fall and looks forward to doing more this spring. When no CrossVenture event is going on, Kayla has worked on organizing and editing the curriculum for the lessons that she will help teach during the next season’s events. She’s also trying to develop an easy method of registration for the CrossVenture camps.  

One of the exciting things her supervisor, Tracy, asked Kayla to do was to participate in a JAARS CrossVenture|Coastal event held this summer. The program teaches people about maritime missions and ties Bible lessons in with boating skills. Tracy wanted her to familiarize herself with the event so she could be a staff member in the future. The trip was educationally invigorating, since Kayla didn’t know a lot about boating. It was also spiritually refreshing. Contemplating how she could apply the boating lessons, “I felt God speaking to me. The idea of overseas missions still scares me a bit, but if that’s where God leads, I want to follow.”

Kayla and some of her friends from Cohorts Delta and Charlie enjoy a meal together.

Although Kayla has had many opportunities to grow professionally and spiritually as part of the Fellows Experience, and has gone on neat adventures, her favorite part has been the group of tight-knit friends she has found. “I feel like we can have really close friendships in Fellows,” she said.

She is excited to see what other opportunities she will have to grow during the rest of her 11-month fellowship at JAARS. Her involvement with mission work is different than she planned, but she enjoys it immensely.

See how you can grow spiritually by serving with JAARS Fellows like Kayla!