Small Group Leaders

Ashley Holbert

South Africa 2016 - 2017

Greetings! Molweni! Dumela! My name is Ashley Holbert. I am from Chicago, IL. I served  at Diakonia AIDS Ministry in Central Western Jabavu in Soweto, Johannesburg 2016/2017.  I have been living both in Chicago and in Johannesburg for the past 4 years. Currently I am a resident florist in Johannesburg as well as a freelancer for 2 wedding company’s in Chicago and I am a new-ish mother. 

Kendra Hernandez

Central Europe 2019 - 2020

A New Mexico native and lifelong Lutheran, Kendra Rose Hernandez (she/her) served as a Young Adult in Global Mission in Central Europe in 2019-2020, spending days with English students, her Hungarian host family, and Phiren Amenca – a nonprofit serving the Roma population in Central and Eastern Europe. She serves as Corporate Giving Specialist at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), is a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Christian Fundraising, and is a founding board member of Asylum Pride House in Philadelphia, which provides housing and support to LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. She lives in Baltimore, MD with her cat, Ophelia, and enjoys rock climbing, kayaking, and hiking.

Molly Heffner

Australia 2018 - 2019

Molly volunteered with YAGM in 2018/2019, where she was placed in Australia at the Warrambui Camp and Conference Centre. She is passionate about outdoor ministry and has served at both Agapé Kure Beach Ministries in North Carolina and Green Lake Lutheran Ministries in Minnesota

Stephen Bryant

Rwanda 2018 - 2019

Hey y’all, I’m from Florida, but I currently live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a third-year Ph.D. student in the School of Politics and International Affairs at the University of Cincinnati, with concentrations in International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Feminist Comparative International Politics. While in Rwanda, I taught English at a university and a primary school, helped with the university’s peace club, and I worked with an organization devoted to sustainable peace development. When I’m not in class or teaching, I’m usually hiking, dancing, reading, and discovering unique and creative spaces around the city. I’m very excited to meet you all and even more excited to see the ways God is helping you grow, challenging you, and accompanying you on your journey.

Leah Moat

Mexico 2018 - 2019

Hi, I'm Leah (she/her), and I'm an '18-19 YAGM Mexico alum! Pre-YAGM, I grew up in Minneapolis and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College. During YAGM, I lived in Mexico City, splitting my time between an ecumenical social justice organization and an institute for women in migration. Post-YAGM, I earned my Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology and have spent the last two years living in Guatemala completing a global health fellowship with the CDC. Now I'm back in Minnesota to continue my public health career near friends and family and I feel so grateful for this opportunity to reconnect with the YAGM program! 

Worship Team

Baird Linke

Argentina 2017 - 2018

Baird Linke is an ELCA seminarian studying at Wartburg Theological Seminary. He was born and raised in Montana and loves spending time outside mountain biking and trail running, playing music, and all kinds of nerdy stuff.  Baird has worked with the Riverside Innovation Hub at Augsburg University, ELCA Young Adults, and serves on the board for Lutherans Restoring Creation. He is exploring faith-based community built around environmental and intersectional justice and ecospirituality.

Brittany Barkus

Australia 2017 - 2018

Brittany Barkus is a student at Wartburg Theological Seminary pursuing an MDiv degree for Word and Sacrament. She was a part of the YAGM program in Australia in 2017-2018 and currently serves at One in Faith Parish in Northeast Iowa.

Maddy Tyler

Cambodia 2017 - 2018

Hello! My name is Maddy Tyler! I am one of the worship leaders. I was born and raised in Chicago, IL and a White Sox fan and a bandwagon Cubs fan. As a lifelong Lutheran, I’m from the Metro Chicago Synod. I graduated from Luther College in 2017. After college, I served as a YAGM in 2017-2018 in Cambodia in a village just 45 minutes north of Phnom Penh, the capitol. After YAGM, I returned to Chicago, worked as a Youth director at a nearby Episcopal church, discerned a little and returned to Iowa for seminary in 2019. I graduated from Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, this past May with a Master in Divinity and await my first call as a pastor. Currently, I live in Chicago and work as a Site Manager at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I love to go to the gym, bike, play video games, hang out with friends, and try to win the love and affection of our new family cat, Disa. I am excited to meet you all, to learn your stories and walk with you on this part of these new journeys!

UK Representative

Hannah Loeffler-Kemp (she/her)

United Kingdom 2016 - 2017

Growing up on the shores of Lake Superior, Hannah has a deep love for the outdoors and spending time among the tall trees. She studied Religion with a Faith and Leadership concentration at Concordia College - Moorhead. During college, she worked on summer staff at Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry and Luther Crest Bible Camp. In 2016-2017, Hannah served in Manchester, England with Young Adults in Global Mission. Her YAGM placement was as a Parish Assistant at a vibrant Anglican Church. Part of her time was spent playing with kiddos at a primary school, teaching English classes to men who experienced human trafficking, engaging with the university students, and serving lattes at a coffee shop. She lived with two inspiring and empowering nuns who shared endless stories and taught her how to make elderflower wine. Hannah has been serving in full-time outdoor ministry for 6 years, 4 years as the Program Director at Good Earth Village and going on 2 years as the Retreat Director at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp. She loves going on hikes with her puppy, Birkley, checking out local restaurants, taking cool dips in Lake Superior and warm dips in Colorado hot springs, and hanging in her hammock.