Before his internship with the General Board of Church and Society, future lawyer Joshua S. Kulah admits he had no idea how involved and socially conscious his denomination is.
Kulah was an Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) intern with Church and Society in 2013. "I interned for the national policy director of Interfaith Worker Justice, a nonprofit based in Chicago with offices in Washington, D.C.," he said.
Your support of the World Service Fund allows the GBCS to offer programs like the EYA to help young adults reach their potential.
The summer internship exceeded this lifelong United Methodist's expectations.
"It was an opportunity to learn more about The United Methodist Church, a time to commune and fellowship with other interns from diverse backgrounds and have long discussions on socially significant issues," Kulah said.
Interns provided cultural presentations about their home country and community, discussed topics centered on social justice and mercy, participated in daily Bible study and reflection and met key personalities in the social justice and religious arena and members of Congress.
"My experience with the EYA was pivotal in affirming my passion for young people development and leadership capacity building, and social justice advocacy," Kulah said. "I am eternally grateful to God for such a unique opportunity to learn so much about myself and the many life lessons I would not get in a regular classroom."
Deciding how to fit his passion with his career path was challenging, but the internship sharpened Kulah's focus.
"I was studying political science and international affairs at Asbury University in Kentucky," he said.
Through the internship, Kulah visited the United Methodist Office at the United Nations in New York. There he learned he could pursue a career in international law and human rights, so that he could fulfill his passion by advocating for policies affecting the lives of young people in societies around the world."
Today Kulah is a student at Atlanta's John Marshall Law School in Georgia, pursuing a Juris Doctorate in international law and human rights. He works with the Office of Student Services connecting pro bono opportunities for law students to give free services in the Metro-Atlanta area. He also is involved with the Immigration Law Society.
Kulah is no stranger to United Methodism.
"I grew up a United Methodist in Liberia," he said. "I was baptized and confirmed at the age of seven in the S.T. Nagbe United Methodist Church in Monrovia. My family later moved to another community where we affiliated with the New Georgia United Methodist Church in Gardnersville."
He was involved in youth activities on local church, district and annual conference levels. His father, the Rev. Jerry P. Kulah, serves is dean of the Gabarnga School of Theology. His uncle is Bishop Arthur F. Kulah.
Now affiliated with Northwoods United Methodist Church in Doraville, Georgia. Kulah volunteers at the church's health clinic and takes advantage of other outreach opportunities.
He is seeking another opportunity to work with Church and Society on a summer internship in Liberia. "I want to be a part of the great work they are doing in Liberia with grassroots outreach and social advocacy," he said.
Kulah is eager to nurture young leaders in his homeland.
"The best way to safeguard the future of any society," he said, "is to prepare the young people to be responsible and productive adults."
Barbara Dunlap-Berg, former general church content editor at United Methodist Communications
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the World Service Fund is the financial lifeline to a long list of Christian mission and ministry throughout the denomination. Through the Four Areas of Focus churches are engaging in developing principled Christian leaders and building an understanding that everyone has a role in God's work to transform the world and move people to take action.
First published in the Interpreter March/April 2016 issue.