Q&A with Missionary Krista Young

DCE Krista Young serves as volunteer coordinator for Eastern and Southern Africa.

After growing up as a missionary kid in Papua New Guinea, Krista Young always thought she might eventually embark on her own missionary service. In the meantime, she returned to the United States, where she became a director of Christian education, served churches in Missouri and North Carolina, and led youth and adults on mission trips. In 2016, Young finally fulfilled that lifelong calling by accepting the role of volunteer coordinator for Eastern and Southern Africa. She and her family — including husband Joel and daughters Sydney and Grace — moved first to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and later to Nairobi, Kenya, where Young works with short-term mission teams from around the Synod.

Tell me about your work as an LCMS missionary.

: I help volunteers who come to our field walk together with the church bodies we work with in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Ethiopia, South Africa and other countries as needed. I have learned how important understanding the culture and context is to doing missions well. Americans can inadvertently do more harm than good in a community if we don’t understand the bigger picture and have time to build relationships.

What’s most rewarding about this?

: The most rewarding thing is the friendships we have made. Once we have had coffee/tea and a meal together, we see the relationships deepening. When we are free to ask questions about how things really are, we know we are “part of the family.” It’s through these deeper relationships that we are able to share our love for Jesus and the difference He makes in our lives.

What encourages you on the difficult days?

: Honestly, I am so grateful that I live in the age of technology. My parents told stories about writing letters and getting replies several months later. We are able to use different apps to talk directly to our family members and friends around the world. Our oldest daughter is in Missouri for university, and we miss her terribly. Without her daily texts and pictures … we would feel very disconnected.

How does the Synod support you and your family?

: We have amazing support from individuals and congregations across the country who pray for and encourage us. We feel humbled to partner with these folks and to represent them in the work God is doing here. I enjoy getting notes from prayer partners … and knowing they are praying for the work being done here. We also have great staff in the [LCMS Office of International Mission] and Mission Advancement who work tirelessly on our behalf.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?

: In the short time I’ve been in East Africa, I have met lots of people whose lives have been changed because of the Gospel. It is wonderful to see the church actively seeking those who don’t know the love of Jesus and intentionally sharing the Good News with them. I pray that the volunteers who come and work with these churches catch the urgency to share the Gospel and help their churches grow in their passion for reaching the world. I love my job and praise God!

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