KARI PEDERSON

worship through public service // worship from the perspective of a young professional

It’s easy to be cynical about government and politics. We are constantly bombarded with news stories about government corruption, scandal and failings. While our generation faces ever growing global challenges, confidence in government and international organizations seems to be shrinking. Skepticism of our governments, politicians and the global state of affairs is sadly not without warrant, but criticism alone will not provide solutions. National governance and international relations will not improve unless we are willing to engage instead of being apathetic. For me, this is where worship and my career meet – when I can see that God wants to work in these dark areas of our society and that I can serve Him by shining His light where it is truly needed.

I was originally drawn to the world of international relations simply because I am fascinated with how countries interact with each other.  Few things are as interesting to me as the strategy, the diplomacy and the historical background behind how countries respond and engage with one another. I took this seemingly nerdy interest a step further and decided to study international relations at university, which thankfully God blessed with scholarships, opportunities to study abroad, and an amazing job in government following my graduation. Some time into this job, just as I was beginning to wonder what my next career step might be, I unexpectedly received an opportunity to move to NYC and work for the United Nations. For me, a small-town Canadian prairie girl, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was nothing short of a miracle. God could not have more clearly said to me through this opportunity, “I have plans for you.”

I have now been working with the United Nations for about a year. On a daily basis, I get to see the world’s most influential government and business leaders come together to seek solutions through cooperation and diplomacy. I get to work for an organization striving to care for refugees, end violent conflicts, and advocate for the most vulnerable members of our global community. It’s encouraging to see the work I contribute to actually making an impact in people’s lives around the world.

I have seen the best of government intentions fall short, and I have seen the life-changing impact good governance can have on communities. Beneath all of the politicking, ambition and distrust we so often see via the media, I still believe governments hold keys to alleviating extreme poverty, disease, violence, and oppression in our world – the very issues that governments have oftentimes caused or aggravated. But it is there in that dark, messy place that I get to worship by shining His light. I get to do His work by influencing policies that can improve people’s well-being. I don’t have any answers to the world’s global challenges. I’m not about to bring peace to the Middle East or contain the spread of Ebola. But what I can do in the midst of our world’s turmoil is worship the Father who has every solution and say, “My life is Yours. Use me.”