By the age of 15, Colorado native, Jessica Klecker knew she would serve the Lord on the mission field. Today, at the age of 23, she is fulfilling her call to ministry in India, where she has joined fellow Charis Bible College graduates, Lance and Gerri Weldgen, as they minister to the people of Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai, through the CBC extension schools in the region.
Raised in a Christian family, Jessica was born again at the early age of four, and by the age of 13 she had already begun her missionary journey visiting the Navajo Nation in the Southwestern United States to share the love of Jesus. "By 15, God had shown me that I was going to be doing mission work on foreign land. At that time, I didn’t know where it would be, exactly. I just knew that one day I would be on foreign land sharing the Gospel," said Jessica.
In her teens, Jessica was very involved at her church, and high school. She participated in her school's student government, played volleyball, and served on the praise and worship team for her church's youth group. During those formative years, Jessica developed a desire to go to India.
As her time in high school drew to a close, Jessica began to explore her options for higher education. It was never her intention to attend a secular university, and with that in mind she looked at Christian colleges and Bible schools. When Jessica was 17, her mother came across an advertisement for CBC in a church newsletter, and she brought the school to Jessica's attention. After visiting the CBC website, Jessica decided to attend Campus Days in March of 2008. At the time, she was unaware that Andrew's ministry spanned the globe. Jessica said, "I only knew that he was the president and founder of Charis Bible College. The first time I actually heard Andrew teach was at CBC Campus Days."
At the Lord's prompting, and with His peace, Jessica enrolled at CBC. Her introduction to Andrew's teaching brought major changes to her relationship with the Lord as she realized that she had spent her early Christian walk with a performance-based mentality. She had sought to please Him, and worked to be holy and righteous in her own effort. Through Andrew's ministry, she was set free. When Jessica heard the Spirit, Soul and Body teaching, she began to understand her identity in the Spirit. Jessica shared, "After listening to the Word everyday for two years, my relationship with God changed drastically. I no longer saw Him as mean and upset, but loving. I no longer tried to please Him, but realized He is already pleased. I came to CBC to learn about mission work, and I received so much more. I received a revelation of God’s love that changed my relationship with Him from being one based on fear to one based on His love."
All Charis students are required to participate in a foreign mission trip during their second-year. While students are given a number of destinations from which to choose, they are not guaranteed to go to their preferred nation. Of course Jessica's first choice was India, but she submitted her choices with a heart to minister faithfully, wherever she was sent. As she sat in a class called "Hearing from God," she heard the Lord say, "Go to India, and be a blessing." A short time later she received news that she would be part of a team headed to Chennai, India.
In 2010, Jessica's team ministered alongside CBC-Colorado graduates and founders of CBC-India, Russ and David Forgoston. During the trip, Jessica experienced such an excitement and peace that she knew she had found the foreign land the Lord had placed in her heart when she was 15. When she returned to the States, Jessica longed to go back to the people of India, but she also knew it was not quite time; the Lord had given her a word that He would open doors for her to return. Two years passed before she would have the opportunity to go back. In the meantime Jessica graduated from CBC, completed her third-year internship and was employed by both AWM and CBC. The extra time spent in Colorado served Jessica well and prepared her for her eventual return to India.
In the summer of 2011, Jessica saw God open the door for her to return to Chennai. Through a conversation with David Forgoston, and a connection with the Weldgens, the new directors at CBC-India, Jessica knew it was time to step back on to her foreign land.
In 2012 Jessica joined Lance and Gerri just in time for the school's expansion into the cities of Hyderabad and Mumbai. Jessica's service to Charis is varied, but she handles many of the day-to-day administrative duties for the ministry in its various locations. She also has the opportunity to teach and interact with the students, which brings her great joy.
For Jessica, one of the highlights of being on the mission field is witnessing the students' reception of the message of grace and the transformation that occurs as they understand their identity in Christ. She said she is able to see the transformation as it takes place because it is revealed in their countenance.
There was fulfillment in Jessica's life before CBC, but she always felt like something was missing. "I didn’t know what was missing until I came to CBC and learned about the love of God and my identity in Christ. Not knowing those two things and trying to minister to people can be a train wreck. I used to minister to my friends in high school, but it was actually more condemnation than ministry. I wasn’t loving them, I was trying to change their actions to make them pleasing for God. I guess you could say that I was just making noise (1 Corinthians 13). Now, I have actual fulfillment in what I do because I have a stronger relationship with God and an understanding of who I am in Christ. Now, I can share that with others," she said excitedly!