Two Journeys Converge

By Charity Armstrong

When Karissa Uhlig applied to serve as a Journalism Fellow at JAARS, she wrote, “I have felt the Lord leading me into missions, and I wondered how I could blend my passion for the written word with my passion for spreading the gospel.” Having honed her writing skills during her university years as an English and Writing major, she was ready to take a year to explore the connection between writing and missions with the Communications team at JAARS.

Karissa grew up as a pastor’s daughter in Coshocton, Ohio. Her spiritual journey began when she was a young child of four—that’s when she asked Jesus to be her Savior. As years passed, many experiences impacted her spiritual walk. As a teenager, the time she spent in Bible study and prayer led her into a deeper dedication to her faith. She served in children’s ministry regularly in the churches she attended, both at home and at college. A missionary pilot’s testimony sharpened her concern for the many unreached people across the world who still need the gospel.

Karissa’s passion for the written word also started during her childhood years. She loved to read and discovered she also loved to write her own stories. During her high school years, she branched out into “writing poetry for fun” and enjoyed teaming up with friends to work on her high school’s yearbook staff. She soaked up effective story-telling techniques as she read literary classics like Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. She decided to make Literature and Writing her major at Indiana Wesleyan University and loved the opportunity the program gave her to explore more classics like Paradise Lost. She says, “I realized from these works that great writing can move people to do great things, especially great things for Christ.”

Karissa’s spiritual and writing journeys converged during her time as the Journalism Fellow for the Communications team at JAARS. Her main assignment has been working with Rachel Greco, the editorial manager of the blog posts on the JAARS website. But Rachel and other team members have ensured that she gained experience with a variety of publications and social media outreach as well as some work on the JAARS website.

She’s met many interesting mission-related people and polished her writing skills as she prepared their stories for publication on the website. She says, “My favorite stories are the staff spotlight articles, because I enjoy seeing how the Lord leads people into mission work and how he works in their lives.” Her time at JAARS has expanded her understanding of the many ways a writer can contribute to the work of a mission organization, especially one like JAARS that strives to support Bible translators who are at work worldwide.

And what about her experience as a member of Cohort Charlie Fellows’ community? Coming to JAARS meant transitioning from a college environment to a work situation, a new state, a new town, and scads of new people. With her Fellows friends she soon established a sense of community, of shared experience and purpose.

Karissa (second from right) with her friends from Cohorts Charlie and Delta.

Cohort Charlie Fellows will celebrate the completion of their year at JAARS in early December. Now that she has had the opportunity to see how her passion for writing can contribute to her passion for missions, what lies ahead for Karissa? Her immediate future includes a wedding to her fiancé, Corban, in January 2022. Beyond that she is open to where God leads her and Corban. She knows God’s grace is sufficient for both of them!

Rachel, her supervisor, says, “Karissa has been such an invaluable asset to the Communications team. Her writing and knowledge of the mission field has grown in leaps and bounds as she has interviewed pilots, Bible translators, and other support staff around the world. We will miss her greatly, but wish her all the best!”

Please pray for Karissa and the other Fellows of Cohort Charlie as they leave JAARS in December and seek new opportunities.

Learn more about JAARS Fellows here. The application deadline for Cohort Foxtrot is December 31, 2021.