Kharissa Allman graduated with a degree in public health from Montclair State in 2013, but she focused on her spiritual health while spending the last two years working as a young adult missionary for the General Board of Global Ministries for the United Methodist Church.
“I definitely enjoyed the opportunity to go out and experience different things,” said Allman, who attends Asbury United Methodist Church in Camden and lives in Franklinville, N.J. “I feel like it stretched me on meeting people who have different beliefs, even with some people within the United Methodist Church. I was able to step outside of my comfort zone and learn from others. “I think it also strengthened my relationship with God because I had to depend on him through all of the transitions that took place.”
Learning how to handle transitions was a regular part of Allman’s role. While she was with the Global Ministries office based in New York City, she worked with the campus ministries at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo., and went on mission trips with other young people to Washington, D.C., Tampa and Colorado.
At Central Methodist, Allman helped with the weekly chapel services, attended mission trips with students and also met and prayed with students when they requested it. Allman said one of those trips to Washington, D.C., was particularly meaningful. “We worked with Campus Kitchens to provide meals for the homeless there,” she said. “That was a pretty interesting time.”
The trip to Tampa involved working with families in need with a group called Metropolitan Ministries. “They work with low income families and families in poverty to help them find ways to improve their lives,” said Allman, who graduated from high school at Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J. “They have a retail thrift store and a residence for people to live. “I worked in the thrift store warehouse and saw the behind the scenes work. I also worked with children in an after school program, too, and that was really fun.”
Allman said one particularly moving story came from a woman who had been helped significantly by the Metropolitan Ministries program.
“She talked about how she was a middle class person who was educated, but because of her circumstances, had ended up homeless,” Allman said. “She said God helped her get into the program. She told her story of how becoming homeless can happen to anyone. It was also encouraging to see how she strengthened her faith in God through those things.”
With her two year mission now finished, Allman’s next transition, and mission, is to find a job preferably in the public health field. That could include doing program planning for a daycare and its staff or doing educational health work, where she evaluates strengths and weaknesses of different programs. In some ways, her career journey has taken her to a similar situation as she was a little over two years ago. “I remember I had a whole list of different things I was interested in and praying about the next steps,” she said. “I didn’t know how it would unfold.”