YAV - Emma Lander

Hi Everyone! My name is Emma Lander and I am currently fulfilling a service year with the Young Adult Volunteer (or YAV) Program. The YAV Program is an ecumenical, faith-based year of service for young people in sites across the United States and around the world. YAVs work with their communities to address root causes of poverty and reconciliation, as well as explore the meaning of their Christian faith. Young adults are invited to engage in world issues, commit to self-reflection, listen to those who are being marginalized and learn in a new way. The YAV program invites young adults to participate in “a year of service for a lifetime of change.”

My YAV Site is located in Chinook, Montana. This particular YAV program is home to a unique ecumenical ministry in rural north-central Montana between the Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, and Alliance congregations. My program provides me the opportunity to live and work in a supportive community while participating in leadership and pastoral care type placements with children, youth, and older adults. A lot of the work that I do focuses on building relationships with the community members. Specifically, my placements include tutoring at the Chinook Junior High and High School, having coffee and cookies with the elderly ladies at the Grande Villa, serving and eating lunch at the Chinook Meadowlark Elementary School, hosting Bible Study at the Sweet Nursing Home, as well as assisting with activities and worship at the nursing home, and assisting with the Funshine Preschool. I’m also exploring issues of justice and poverty through work at the community food pantry, and will continue to do so with the summer lunch and activities program. 

The mission of the Chinook YAV site is “to make known God’s love in our community as we equip future leaders for Christ’s church and God’s world.” Throughout the year, I will be fostering relationships through community outreach. I will also be experiencing first-hand the gifts and challenges of rural ministry. I’ve been at my placements for a couple of weeks now and I can honestly say that I love the work I’m doing. The community is so wonderful and I love getting to work with such a variety of people. From working with the little ones and helping them write their names and singing silly nursery rhymes with them to eating lunch with a crazy and loveable group of 5th grade girls to bowling and decorating cupcakes with the residents of the nursing home, my experience in Chinook is almost as vast as the sky in what is so adequately known as “Big Sky Country.” After a year of waiting, I’m so blessed to finally be in this place where I feel so called to be. 

Even though we are several thousand miles apart, I would like to invite you, my First Pres. family, to partner with me on this journey. As part of my participation in my YAV year, I have committed to fundraising $4,000 in gifts and pledges for my experience. All funds raised will support programmatic expenses, as well as stipends, health insurance, and food allowance. Any funds raised beyond the needs of the individual volunteer are used to support other volunteers and the general YAV program in Chinook. If you have the means and would like to support me financially, there are a couple ways to do so; the easiest way for donors to contribute is likely online. If you are interested in making an online donation, please follow this link - https://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/e052125/ - and enter my name (Emma Kate Lander), my service site (Chinook, Montana), and my Extra Commitment Opportunity Number (E052125) in the "Comments". 

If you would prefer to write a check, please write my name and my ECO number on the check, made payable to Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.), and mail it to the following address:

Presbyterian Church, (USA)

P.O. Box 643700

Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

There are other ways to partner with me throughout this year; if you’d like to connect with me, there are a couple ways to keep up to date with what I’m doing! You can always find me on social media or send an email to [email protected]. If you’d like to send me mail, you can send mail to me at:

Emma Kate Lander

PO Box 302

Chinook, MT 59523

I also have a blog where I’ll be documenting my year of my service; you can follow along with me at emmakatelander.wordpress.com. I am so excited for the ways I will be growing this year and for all the challenges and blessings that this year will bring, and I can’t wait to share this journey with you.