Jed and Jenny return to the USA each March/April. Email them to extend an invitation to visit your congregation or organization.
About Jed and Jenny Koball’s ministry
Joining Hands is an initiative of the Presbyterian Hunger Program that addresses the root causes of hunger through networks of churches and non-governmental organizations in developing countries. These networks lead the struggle against hunger and poverty at the local level and are joined by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) presbyteries and congregational partners that address the same concerns on the global level. Jed Koball assists the Peruvian network Red Uniendo Manos Peru. It tackles issues such as environmental contamination from the mining industry, a growing water crisis due to global warming, and trade policies that disadvantage many Peruvians. Jed acts as a link between PC(USA) congregations and Red Uniendo Manos Peru as it develops strategies to address these daunting problems. Jenny Koball is the Peru site coordinator for the Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program, which sends people from ages 19 to 30 to serve in communities of need in the United States and abroad. In addition to service, the YAV experience emphasizes living in intentional Christian community, spiritual formation, and vocational discernment. Young Adult Volunteers in Peru serve with one of the non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) or churches that form Red Uniendo Manos Peru.
Peru was home to several Andean civilizations, including the Inca Empire, which was conquered in 1533 by Spain. Due to the vast territory and gold and silver production, Peru was by far the most important colony held by Spain. Peru declared its independence in 1821 and, with the help of General San Martín of Argentina and Simón Bolívar of Venezuela; the Spanish were defeated in 1824. Most Peruvians have not benefited from the nation’s abundant natural resources. The majority of the wealth is controlled by a small group of people of Spanish descent. Millions of people in the indigenous population live in poverty. Presbyterian missionaries from the United States and Scotland were first sent to Peru in the early 1900s. The PC(USA) works in partnership with two churches that resulted from those early missionary efforts, the Presbyterian and Reformed Church in Peru and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Peru. The PC(USA)’s major involvement in Peru is through the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s Joining Hands initiative.
Read: Living God’s Mission: Being Fully Alive
Download a bulletin insert that lifts up the work of Jed Koball in Peru.
About Jed and Jenny Koball
Although they come from diverse backgrounds, Jed and Jenny share a mutual calling to serve the people of Peru and a common faith imparted to them by their families.
Jenny grew up in a community in the high jungle town of Moyobamba, Peru. Early in her life she became the caretaker of her family while her mother worked extremely long and hard hours to put food on the table. Her father was paralyzed in an accident and was unable to work. Oppressive poverty and terrorism ravaged the Peruvian countryside during her childhood. One day, while she and her brothers were hiding from terrorists looking for children to force into combat, her father told her to never stop praying. “I learned from him that God is our refuge, and I felt safe,” she says. Surrounded by hardship and violence, Jenny’s call to mission service began to take shape.
Upon finishing high school at age 16, Jenny moved to Lima to study business administration seeking to secure a better future for herself and her family. In Lima, she encountered Presbyterian mission co-workers for the first time and discovered the ministry of Joining Hands. In the context of these new relationships, her faith in a just and loving God was further strengthened, as was her desire to serve God and neighbor. She began working as an office administrator for Red Uniendo Manos Peru, a position she held for nine years.
Jed was nurtured into faith during his formative years in Virginia and Arkansas. His role models included a mother who “had a Bible verse forever on her lips, a gospel hymn in tune for each occasion, and a prayer that never ceased.” After college, he became a Young Adult Volunteer in the Philippines, an experience that influenced his spiritual life profoundly. While a YAV, he sought and found his place in the church’s collective response to systemic oppression. Inspired by the faith and struggle of his Filipino friends, Jed first sensed a call to long-term mission service with a focus on facilitating prayerful, meaningful, and impactful international church partnerships.
Not long after arriving to Peru in 2009 as a newly appointed mission co-worker, Jed met Jenny, who had moved to Lima eleven years earlier. They married in October 2010 in Moyobamba in the presence of their families and friends. Shortly thereafter, Jenny began supporting Jed’s work and eventually took the lead role in coordinating the Young Adult Volunteer site in Peru. She was officially appointed as a mission co-worker in 2014.
In between his time as a YAV and his appointment to Peru, Jed served as associate pastor of Larchmont Avenue Church in Larchmont, New York, and later as project and volunteer coordinator for a community development NGO in Nicaragua.
Jed graduated from St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina, and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He was ordained in 2000 as a teaching elder by Hudson River Presbytery.
Jenny earned a business administration degree from Alas Peruanas University in Lima. She is a member of Broad Street Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio.
Jed – May 12
Jenny – February 15