Zachary Ferguson is a missionary through the US-2 young adult program of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Commissioned in August 2011, he is assigned to the Workers Interfaith Network in Memphis, Tennessee, within the Memphis Annual Conference.
US-2 missionaries are young adults who serve two-year terms in the United States. Their work, often with the poor, integrates faith and justice as they learn from and walk with communities in their struggles to address systematic injustice and human suffering.
The Workers Interfaith Network is a means through which faith and labor leaders support workers' rights for fair wages and safe working conditions. Efforts on behalf of a living wage ordinance have been expanded to address "wage theft," which is failure to pay minimum wages, require uncompensated hours, or engage in other unfair wage practices. Zachary is working with the "wage theft" campaign and assisting the network directors with cases related to wage theft.
Zachary Ferguson grew up in Martinsville, Virginia and is a member of the First United Methodist Church there. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from the University of Richmond, and earned a certificate in non-profit management from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. He was a legislative intern for a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in early 2010, and an intern in the Bonner Scholars Program at his university. Zachary worked for the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board in Martinsville from May 2010 to July 2011.
Zachary's faith journey was strongly influenced by a high school soccer coach who was also a United Methodist youth minister, and by a chaplain at the University of Richmond. He took part in numerous mission trips in the US and in Latin America. His commitment to community service was underscored in college, where as a Bonner Scholar, he gave 40 hours of volunteer time per month. The program emphasized community building, spiritual exploration, diversity, international perspective, civic engagement, and social justice.
Yet, he experienced internal hesitation about making a mission commitment: "I wish I could say that my call to mission came like that of the Disciples, where they simply heard the call, put down their nets, and followed Jesus. Mine was more like Moses. I found an excuse for every opportunity that presented itself to me." After graduating from college and taking a job, he still felt uneasiness about this direction. A passage from author Howard Thurman pointed him toward mission and the US-2 program.
The quote from Thurman is about the "work of Christmas:" "To find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among others, to make music in the heart."
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- Missionary Support Code: 3021351
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- Last update: 8/11