From Africa to North Carolina

By Karissa Maust

Kate Starr spent her early childhood in Cameroon, Africa, where her parents were Bible translators for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Then she moved with her family to Indiana, where she later attended Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and majored in visual communication design. This major is similar to graphic design but integrates design principles into a communications and marketing setting.

Kate enjoys a hike in the woods.

Many of Kate’s memories are from Indiana, but she still has memories of Cameroon as well, including the people’s passion for Bible translation. That passion inspired her to take on her current position at JAARS, the Cross Cultural Youth and Kids’ Ministries Fellow. She wants to help other missionary kids (MKs) adjust to changes and a new culture. She also highly values her involvement with the JAARS youth group because she prioritizes being personal and intentional with people. Her experience in volunteering with youth groups during her high school and college years is a valuable asset. 

Kate holds numerous responsibilities as a Fellow, including assisting with the middle school youth group at JAARS, mentoring student leaders, and organizing the youth worship team. Using graphic design skills she learned in college, Kate has also worked with the JAARS Communications team, updating older designs to the new JAARS brand.

As with every new position, Kate has faced challenges. The area that God is growing in her is flexibility. “The biggest challenge for me is daily reminding myself to be flexible. I feel like I have to show up every week and just [ask] what’s going on this week and then adjust to that,” Kate said. 

But she does enjoy the variety in her role; one day she might help write a Bible study curriculum, while another day she might worship with youths. She also enjoyed learning about the design process at JAARS. Few people have this versatility in their jobs, and Kate feels blessed to have a job that expands her skill set. 

Kate has found great joy in watching members of the body of Christ come together to support the common goal of Bible translation here at JAARS. She finds that the variety of personalities on the Third Culture Kids Care and Education team make it more effective. “If you just had one type of personality, the team would tend to go to one extreme or the other,” she said. The team members’ differences allow them to create a rich, well-balanced experience for the kids. 

Kate and other fellows cheer on Kayla Duckert at a race.

Kate has made many great friends among the other cohorts and across the JAARS community. She says it was easy to start building intentional relationships because the people at JAARS were so welcoming. She has even found godly friends here who have supported her during personal difficulties.

Kate did not set out to work for a partner organization of Wycliffe, which her parents worked for. However, as the Cross Cultural Youth and Kids’ Ministries Fellow at JAARS, she is making a mark on missions all her own by supporting the children of mission workers.

See how you, too, can make a mark on missions by serving at JAARS!