Student of the Month: Tabitha Jamal
Hi Tabitha, please introduce yourself!
My name is Tabitha Jamal. I belong to a small valley town in Pakistan called Quetta in the Baluchistan Province. I belong to 1.27% of the 233,163,268 people living in Pakistan today. I am currently a student at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia, USA and very recently have been blessed by the opportunity to become the President for Candler International Students Association.
With relation to my cultural context, as a Christian, Pakistani woman, I believe I have much to learn and much to see change in this world. I want to cast my two copper coins in the lot. I have a passion to work for those on the margins, especially those whose lives have been deeply impacted by violence and segregation. My life personally has borne witness to a lot of violence and suffering, and I would like help and change the “imago Dei vs. imago Dei” rampant in our world today.
What are you studying and what excites you in your studies? How will you use that in your call?
I just finished my first year of M.Div. and I had the absolute pleasure of studying from some of the most notable scholars in the field like Dr. Musa W. Dube, Dr. Walter E. Fluker, Dr. Ellen Ott Marshall, and Dr. Joel Kemp. They all hold different expertise in scholarship but sometimes if you listen closely, you can hear their voice in unison chiming a beautiful gospel of our Lord. Love for all is an important narrative and I feel so blessed to have found a place to learn it. One of the most transformative experiences has been my Contextual Education I site, the Metro Youth Detention Center. I learned more from flesh and blood in incarceration than I could learn from a book. Seeing the incarcerated youth and the racial dynamics in place against people of color has been a startling and experience. It was a tough teacher.
What have you learned from your leadership experiences?
I personally have had very little opportunities in a leadership role because of my cultural contexts. However, I have been presented with the blessing of becoming the president for Candler International Student Association (CISA) and I am looking forward to learning from my peers and being a helping hand addressing the concerns and issues of the international students at Candler.
Leadership for me, is a precedent that was set by Jesus when He washed the disciple’s feet; an act of service that requires a lot of humility, empathy and understanding. It was the height of his leadership and I have never found a better example of leadership than this particular situation. I aspire to be such a leader, someone who is not afraid to serve others in the most literal of senses.
What has your experience been with PANAAWTM? I had the absolute pleasure of attending my very first PANAAWTM conference this year. I was amazed at the level of scholarship that facilitates this organization and those associated with it. The experience was phenomenally rich with all the stories and contexts that I got to listen and interact with. The overwhelming amount of intelligence and talent was the first of its kind that I got to experience. My heart was full. I look forward to contributing to PANAAWTM from the perspective of a
What brings you hope and joy?
My trust happiness is when I know God is with me holding my hand. I came the USA with meagre resources and studying at a place like Candler was nothing but a dream. However, God made it possible for me. His presence is needed and wanted in my life because he is my happiness and I try to be His though I constantly fail.
Serving people is one of my other great joys, especially those on the margins. I am happy in the truest of ways when I see those around me living their life to the fullest, learning and moving ahead pushing the negatives away and making a space where they were first denied a presence. I love to watch people grow and achieve their dreams. It’s a display of God at work and I love watching Him do all that He does. Today, when the world is full of oppression and hurt is spread rampantly and thoughtlessly, I believe we need to uplift those around us swim against the current to breakdown systems that were built to work against them and when someone breaks those chains, it makes my heart flutter with joy! It is the beauty of God and humanity both working in synchrony.