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Connections: Tiffany Zulkosky

Servant Leader

Tiffany Zulkosky, 27, graduated in 2006 from Northwest University (AG) in Kirkland, Wash., with a degree in organizational communication. She quickly put her skills to optimal use, running for and being elected to the city council of her hometown, Bethel, Alaska. The Native Alaskan went on to serve as Bethel’s mayor by age 24. From April 2009 until November 2011, Zulkosky worked in the Anchorage office of U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, serving as rural director. She now serves as the Alaska western area director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture — Rural Development. Zulkosky spoke recently with Scott Harrup, Pentecostal Evangel managing editor.

evangel: Describe your journey to faith in Christ.

ZULKOSKY: I grew up going to Bethel Community Assembly of God, so I always had a foundation. My mom raised me as a single parent, and she was a committed believer. I was about 9 when I made the salvation decision on my own, and I remained committed through high school. There are a lot of life decisions you can make even in high school, and I’m grateful for that foundation.

evangel: What is your family background?

ZULKOSKY: I’m Yu’pik Eskimo on my dad’s side, and I’m Polish on my mom’s side. My mom was born and raised in northern Minnesota, and after graduation from high school wound up in Bethel, Alaska, which is a rural community only accessible by airplane. That’s where she met my dad.

evangel: What influenced your choice of a college?

ZULKOSKY: I was looking at Lee University in Tennessee or North Central University [AG] in Minnesota. I wound up going to a chapel service at Northwest University when I was looking at schools, and it just felt like the right thing. It was far enough from home where I thought I could get my feet under me as an adult, but close enough that I could get home in two flights.

evangel: How has your work with Sen. Begich and with the Department of Agriculture connected with your sense of God’s direction in your life?

ZULKOSKY: I was in a chapel service my sophomore year of college, and Northwest President Don Argue was talking about his involvement in the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and opportunities he had to serve the president in this capacity.

I wound up meeting with President Argue after that chapel service. He asked what my plans were. At the time, I thought I was going to go into journalism. He said, “I can really see God using you and working through you among the Alaskan Native people.”

My heart was in journalism, even though I had this great experience in chapel, but it was amazing to see how God unfolded these opportunities. I want to be someone who has a servant’s heart and who fights for the communities and the people.

evangel: What is a passage of Scripture you find particularly meaningful?

ZULKOSKY: Habakkuk 3:17-19 is a Scripture I really hold on to. I was just honored as the 2011 alumnus of the year at Northwest, and I talked about what those verses mean to me. The prophet Habakkuk speaks of finding joy in God even when there is no fruit in the field or anything in the storehouse.

At times in college I felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. At the same time, I knew I had made a decision on where I was going to school, and I really felt that I had heard God’s voice clearly. It’s so important to be patient and hear God’s voice in your life and know that things will come when the time is right. And that Scripture really speaks to that. I will rejoice in God my Savior, and He will make my feet like the feet of a deer.

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