Katarina Jambresic’s journey from war-torn Croatia to Gordon B. Hinckley Presidential Scholar and the metropolis of New York City.
She navigated her way through complex USA migration policies using faith and Tuesday fasting. Now she is the editor of A Global Testimony — 62 power conversion stories from around the world.
(Worldwide ordering options are below)
Recently I had the opportunity to interview Katarina….
What was the inspiration for the book? I had felt prompted to author a faith-based book for about two years but no particular topic felt right. After a very inspiring fireside by Jeff Benedict, I called a friend to discuss it and he said, “Someone should write all these amazing conversion stories down.” The topic became crystal clear right there. “I should!!! And they should be from all over the world. One per country!” I envisioned the title as soon as I got off the phone. I never reconsidered it.
How did you locate the contributors? I couldn’t use Church emails for a personal project and I wanted to give everyone a chance, not just random friends of friends, so I used every avenue available to me. Probably the best connections came through fellow general conference translators. I had an excel spreadsheet with all the countries printed out and went booth to booth collecting emails while I was off the air. I was able to reach key people in many countries that way. I then turned to Facebook and joined every mission/country group on earth that accepted me. Alex Balinski of “Prepare to Serve” and Ben Arkell of “I Love the Book of Mormon” were especially helpful in spreading the word. I was telling everyone about it and New York is very international so a few came through people I knew, including Croatia, of course.
How has your faith assisted you through this whole process? It was an inspired project. I felt that excitement from the start when you just know you are doing exactly what you should be doing. It had been a while since I truly felt that so I knew the difference. It wasn’t until the first few stories came in, and really moved me, that I realized this would change lives. At that point no sacrifice seemed too big. The process is extremely time-consuming. I was immersed in it full-time while also working part-time so faith in this being a valuable creation and the right thing for me was an essential component.
What has been the greatest challenge for you, on this project? Time. I thought I would spread the word and the stories would just keep flying in. Then three weeks later, I would go through hundreds of them and pick the best one for each country. I still hope future projects go a lot faster but I did not anticipate the amount of emails and follow-up required to get just one story or even a photo – sometimes it went on for months. Many stories needed to be translated at least four of which I did myself (Spanish). I didn’t start editing till August of this year because taking time to do that meant nothing would be moving forward on the compiling side. Editing ESL text took full three months with another month added for proofreading. The median length of all books according to Amazon is 64,000 words. A Global Testimony is almost three times that.
Do you still fast on Tuesdays? How has this assisted on this project? Week days are great for fasting as there is typically not as much going on as there may be on your average Saturday night. I fast on any day that works best. And whoever said that increasing your fast offerings yields extra blessings was right. You simply can’t outdo God. There are windows He’s opened that I would never think to pray for. This project did not require as much fasting as it did hard work, but the hand of the Lord was evident throughout in placing all the right people in my path – seemingly random encounters that resulted in great stories etc. There is something for everyone to identify with which gives the book a broad reach.
What did you study at BYU? Marketing Communications with a Business minor. I was interested in too many things but I had to pick one.
What was the ‘dream job’? It wasn’t a dream job; rather, a more flexible, less stressful environment. It only required me to go to the office three days a week which allowed for more travel. When your friends, dates, and family are scattered all over the world, you need the time to get to them. The dream job would entail location independence.
Have your parents joined you in New York? How about your brother? No, they would never leave Croatia but they were able to visit once all together. Normally, I go there once or twice a year.
What is your next project? Now we need to “flood the earth” with these testimonies and concurrently start a few other projects. One will focus on powerful missionary experiences. Perhaps one featuring faith-promoting stories from ancestors that are passed down in the families and could include people of all denominations. There may also be one on celestial marriages. All global of course.
Tell me about being a general conference translator? It’s a great privilege to serve in that capacity. The talks are translated in advance so we read along and watch for any changes. You hear yourself in one ear and the speaker in the other. With the recent change, you can also pick the native-language channel or the English translation. The first such speaker I got was named Carlos. I figured my Spanish was good enough to follow him directly as I wanted to minimize lag time. Then he started speaking Portuguese. Translated text still made it possible to follow him but I sure wasn’t going to attempt Mandarin Chinese. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting several apostles as they came to visit and participate in our devotionals. It says a lot about how much they care for the gospel message to reach all corners of the earth, being there with us an hour before conference starts.
Is there anything else you would like to share? When I sent out the help questions for the stories, I wanted the readers to get to know these individuals but there was a special focus on the conversion process – those moments of feeling and recognizing the Spirit for maybe the first time, the verses of scripture that had the greatest impact, how they recognized truth, trials they went through – and that is what makes the stories so powerful. These people are pioneers who established the Church in their countries, translated the scriptures or became Area Seventies. They are traditional families, singles, single parents, children joining without parents, parents of inactive children, “golden” converts, former addicts, the rich, the famous, the poor and everything in between. There is not one story in A Global Testimony that won’t resonate with someone. I feel so grateful to have had the privilege of compiling this much spiritual power into one book.
‘ A Global Testimony: 60 Different countries One powerful message’.
Age Range: teen to 80+
Testimonies from: Europe Asia Americas Africa Oceania
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David Archuleta endorses ‘A Global Testimony’
Read Katarina’s own story here