Meet our new Fulfillment Coordinator, Jessica Vaughan!
As Fulfillment Coordinator, Jessica will be helping us with data entry, donor communication, and stateside representation. Jessica is one of the most enthusiastic, compassionate individuals we've ever met! We're so excited to have her join us, we wanted to take a minute to introduce you to her!
Welcome to the Preemptive Love family, Jessica! Tell us a little about yourself.
I graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in French and Education. But my favorite college year was spent abroad in France. After falling head over heels for the people and their culture, I quit school to quit the grammar books. I ended up studying people for a year, one of my better life decisions.
How so? Could you share more about that decision?
I was discouraged and buried behind stacks of books—classics, no doubt—and by some of my favorite authors. But I knew I could read these authors when I returned home. I would find myself staring out the library window, wanting to know not only French literature of yesteryear, but the French people of today. So I quit school to quit the books, and became alive to all things living in France, especially the people I had been too hurried to see on my morning rush.
I decided to learn the daily routines of the normal French family. I followed my French host mom everywhere: to the flower market, to the fruit and veggie market, to family owned restaurants that were secretly nestled away in the basement of an old mansion or church. I learned that the French iron their bedsheets, and why.
I studied the people, and I studied their joie de vivre, and it became my own. I asked the bus driver the history of the small neighbors we were driving through. I asked the local merchants to tell me the history of their stores, often family-owned, which led me to ask them the history of their family. All I did for 10 months was ask people to tell me about themselves. And in the end they weren’t 'the French', they were my friends.
Since college, I’ve taught French at a local public school and mentored students in my community to know their unique identity and use it to bless the broken-hearted. But my favorite job is with my husband, Paul, working to raise our three kids to know peace, have peace, and live peace.
How did you first hear about the work in Iraq?
I’ll never forget the Sunday morning I heard Jeremy speak about Preemptive Love's efforts in Iraq. That day, the truth of loving enemies made it’s way from my head and heart, and I realized that my greatest enemy had never really been people different from me.
Interesting, could you explain what you mean by that realization?
My greatest enemy has always been me. When I don’t take time to really hear what others are saying, and when I don’t take time to ask how they arrived at their conclusions about the world. When I’m skeptical about things that are different, when I judge or fear the unfamiliar.
The part of me that defaults to no when the world just asks me for a little grace. The part of me that contains the same capacity for evil, and short-sightedness, and anger, and unforgiveness that I so desperately wanted to place entirely on the shoulders of cultures that lived the farthest from me. The same Source of evil that whispers lies into their hearts to distrust the unfamiliar, to wage war on all things different. Often, I hear this same evil whisper to me, and from time to time, I respond in distrust toward my neighbor.
And if I don’t dislodge this propensity in my own heart to judge or withhold forgiveness, I become everything I’ve always hated the most. The stories I thought I knew of Middle East were only half stories. And I filled in the other halves with make-believe. With lies about my “enemies” But it’s my own capacity to fill in the gaps with lies when I don’t know the entire truth about something that is always my first true enemy.
Because if you don’t start with truth, you can never end in peace.
So I listened to the stories of Preemptive Love, and I think I’m finally beginning to understand that most people around the world, regardless of race or religion, want the same thing, which is to belong to a community of peace.
What are you most passionate about?
Celebrating grace with those on the fringe. The overlooked, the outcast. Finding them, and connecting them to a local community who will give them more than they asked for, like a church, a mosque, a synagogue, or a family.
That's an interesting response—could you share more what you mean by these connections?
I could talk a lot about this, but I'll keep it simple and people can comment below with questions: I'm passionate about the Kingdom of God. I want to encourage everyone I meet toward a God who loves and cares for them, and I want to make sure they know
What else am I most passionate about? People! I love waking in the morning and wondering what new lovely person I’ll have the privilege to encounter today. Or what dear friend will unexpectedly cross my path.
This world is full of intriguing people, each possessing something no one else has.
As the Fulfillment Coordinator, what does a typical day in the office look like for you?
I start my mornings with the privilege of thanking our generous donors for their invaluable support. They are the Coalition. Without them, we couldn’t do what we do.
Then I ship our various products to the four corners of the earth. Who knew there were so many zip codes?!
Next, I work with the lovely Michelle Fisher on finances. And lastly, I am discovering new ways to connect with and support our donors and volunteers. Did someone say dream job?
Where would your dream vacation take place?
Exploring the history and culture of an ancient city on foot.
Any ancient city in particular?
My top picks that I’ve yet to visit include Damascus, Athens, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Beijing, Rome, and Istanbul. But I’m also always up for a return to my all-time favorites: Florence and Paris.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what two items would you have with you?
Most people fear public speaking or heights. I fear being stranded on a desert island. Can I bring two friends instead of two items? I am an incurable extrovert!
With Iraq's growing need and our new commitments to displaced families, help from people like Jessica is coming just in time! If you have skills and would like to help us save lives in Iraq, send an email here. We're especially in need of graphic designers, site designers/coders, and writers!