On October 7th, NU awarded Alumni of the Year and Young Alumna of the Year in the annual alumni chapel. We were led in worship by Travis Lindseth, heard a word from John Fox (’83 – President of the Alumni Association and business owner), and then enjoyed hearing from our award recipients, Darrel and Gail Johnsen (’79 – Pastors at Faith Assembly in Pasco, Wash.) and Tiffany Zulkosky (’06 – Rural Director to U.S. Senator Mark Begich).
I have had the honor of getting to know many amazing NU alums over the last two years. Darrel and Gail are great examples of the amazing people coming out of NU. They have given back to Northwest and are also a part of those investing in NU.
While telling their story in chapel, Gail made a great comment that is a picture of the lives and ministries of the Johnsens. She likened the call of God to a journey, not a destination. And that all those sitting in chapel were able to live out that call each day – there should be no waiting until after graduation, after the job offer, after the ordination, etc. In the short time that I have known them, they live this out in their own lives.
The encouragement that they displayed in the short chapel service was truly an indication of their ministries in the Tri-Cities area where Darrel serves as the Lead Pastor and Gail is the Pastor of Spiritual Formation and Women. Darrel is currently the Executive Presbyter over the Central Region of Washington State.
They tell me that in their spare time, they go on motorcycle trips with other pastors from around the state.
Do you remember sitting in chapel wondering how God was going to use you after graduation?
For Tiffany, it was hearing former President, and current Chancellor, Don Argue talk about his involvement in politics and interaction with decision makers. Suddenly, she felt that she had a more specific purpose and calling than she had known before. What would that look like? She had no idea.
After graduation, Tiffany returned home to Bethel, Alaska. She decided to test the political waters and see what God may have in store for her. She ran for the Bethel City Council, which was a statement of her faith in what she understood as God’s direction for her life. She won in a landslide. Within a few months, she was elected by her fellow council members to be the new Mayor of Bethel!
Tiffany currently serves Alaskan Senator Mark Bergich as the Rural Director and is able to advocate on behalf of the Native Alaskans – giving voice to those in remote villages and helping to speed racial equality. Her actions have been well received by those she represents as well as those she works with.
All this within five years of graduating from NU! Way to go, Tiffany!
Posted on Friday, October 7, 2011