Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Finding God in the Appalachian Mountains

By Ivy Couch*

“I share God’s love with those on the fringes of society,” explained Brooke Atchley, a Church and Community Worker with Global Ministries. “I realized I had a calling to work with the people other people found uncomfortable.”

Atchley serves at the Tazewell District Cooperative Ministry of Virginia. Through the ministry, she seeks solutions to issues of generational poverty and ways to create food sustainability and educational assistance. Atchley’s work helps make the community a better place to live.

“I was able to ask some bratty and some tough questions,” recalls Atchley of a time in college when she was surrounded by a group of godly women who didn’t make her feel judged when talking about God. For the first time, Atchley felt the freedom to question, which helped to steer her towards ministry. “Those women were patient with me as I tried to determine who this God person was and what God meant to me.”

When Atchley talks about her work, you can see the joy she possesses for her mission. “I love the Appalachian people, they are generous folks. I love watching them discover who God is and how God calls them to love their neighbor.”

Atchley is directly able to uphold the mission of a Church and Community Worker in her day-to-day interactions. She lives out God’s call to minister among the poor and disenfranchised in rural and urban areas within the United States.

“I am just a piece of God’s plan in bringing love and light to a broken and hurting world,” Atchley says. She admits she does not have all the answers and finds joy in the process. Atchley approaches her mission work with humility and seems truly aware of her role in God’s larger plan.

“I know I’m here for a brief time,” says Atchley. “God has come before me, God is with me, and God will be here after I leave the mountains.”

*Ivy Couch is a communications specialist for Global Ministries in Atlanta.