Kate Wurm
Kate Wurm
Southeast Asia, 2019 - 2020
I graduated from Belmont University in May of 2019 with a Major in Religion and the Arts and a Minor in Photography. My roots are set back home in Detroit, MI, but a piece of my heart will always belong to India. From September 2019 to September 2020, I will be an International Justice Mission Communications Intern in the South East Asia field office.

A Bug’s Graveyard: RIP

After spending a little over a week in India, we have officially moved into our apartment.

Out of the four interns placed at our office, I was the third to arrive. The fourth, Emma, arrived a few days after me. Within a week of her arrival, Emma, Kyla, and I were signing lease papers for our new home. The filing system here in India is mind boggling. I won’t go into too much detail, but just imagine every important document you’ve ever owned stacked into dozens of piles, each standing at least 7 feet tall.

A walk in the neighborhood.

The day after we signed the papers was an Indian holiday, meaning all work and school was canceled. This was the best news, as our move-in to-do list was about the size of one of those 7 foot tall filing piles. Before we could begin buying, we wanted to stop by the apartment to drop off all of our bags.

The apartment was completely bare when we arrived that holiday morning. It had a smell to it as well, not a pleasant one.

“Easy,” I said, “we’ll get some candles.”
Little did I know the smell would be the least of our problems.

We then walked into the kitchen to find roaches crawling out of every crevice. The stove, the refrigerator, the cabinets, the drain in the corner.
*a shutter was sent down my spine*

We still don’t have any furniture, but we work with what we’ve got.

We moved into the bedrooms. The apartment has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Truly a goldmine here in India. The rooms are all arranged differently, but in each one are these beautiful windows. The natural sunlight coming through the windows made me forget about the roaches for a moment. Each room also has a small ac unit, PRAISE THE LORD!

Good news: the first night we spent in the apartment was the first night since being here that I didn’t wake up drenched in my sweat (tmi?).

Bad news: my AC unit leaked water whenever it was turned on. So it was no longer the heat that was keeping me awake at night, but the dang water drops hitting the bucket.

My AC set up for a few days.

I’m happy to report, a few days later, the leaking was fixed.
AND the bug situation has also come to a resolution. A bug professional came to our apartment and sprayed bug poison e v e r y w h e r e. We had to evacuate the apartment for a little bit, to avoid being poisoned with the rest of the critters residing in that apartment, but we had quite the surprise when we returned home. I’m talking a full on bug graveyard. Bug carcasses in every corner and on every counter. I still have nightmares about the little twitching roach legs. RIP.

Quickly we swept them all away.

Our apartment is slowly beginning to feel more like a home.

It’s been a little over two weeks since I arrived in India. It feels much longer than that, but I can only imagine what it will feel like two months from now. Riding in rickshaws (Indian taxi) is beginning to feel a little more usual. Bargaining for my fruits and veggies is more common here than back home, obviously. If I tried to bargain with the Kroger cashier about the price of a mango, I don’t think it would go over too well.

Our fruit vendor. We pass about 6 or 7 of these on our walk home.

I know I’ll look back on these beginning stages of adjusting to life in India, and think to myself, “man, I had no idea what was to come.”

On top of getting adjusted to living in India, I’m also navigating working in India. The first few days in the office have been a lot of logistics. Even though I have my Indian visa, there are a few more hoops to jump through before I can officially settle in here. Thankfully, the IJM team has stepped up in every.single.way.

Whether it’s a trip to the bank, to the grocery store, to the train, etc, I am always accompanied by an employee, and even though I know I’ve asked a million questions, they never make me feel like a burden or inconvenience.

The office is made up of consistent employees, but the interns cycle through, meaning that each year the staff encounters a whole new team of eager interns from all around the world. For the interns, the year is full of adventure and new things and crazy cultural experiences. For the employees, it’s just another year in India.

I wonder what it’s like for the IJM employees in this office to watch some young 20-somethings move to, adjust to, then leave all that India is. They have made us, Kyla, Emma, Jeshua, and I (the intern team of this year), feel so incredibly welcome.

The interns and the guys who fixed our office wifi (lol).

Do I miss home?
But do I want to leave?
Not quite.
I miss chips and queso.
I miss fall weather.
I miss sleeping in my bed.
I miss target.

And most obviously, I miss my people. More than missing the U.S. I miss those that make the U.S. my home. No one here really knows who I am back home. I think they’re all still warming up to my odd sense of humor and coffee addiction, but soon enough, the people here will similarly make India feel like home, just as those in the U.S. have done.

A local train station.

The last two weeks have been challenging.  I wish I could boast about how easy transition is for me, or about how magical it has been to live abroad. But man, this is  the toughest thing I have ever done. My roommates and I are from 3 different countries, meaning we are navigating our cultural differences all while trying to live in a fourth culture. That’s a lot of newness.

But the same thing brought us all together, and that blows my mind.

Jesus stirring our hearts for the purpose of justice.

The stories that our work revolves around make me want to scream and cry simultaneously.  People being sold and exploited. Children being taken advantage of in the most horrifying ways imaginable. Young girls and boys being sold by their own family members to customers for sex. Men being trafficked across borders and tortured  to work under inhumane conditions. The list goes on.

IJM fights hard. The team I get the privilege of sharing a lunch table with is full of tough skinned, tender hearted warriors.

It’s not about making IJM’s name known. It’s about acting upon God’s call for justice.

And it’s about the individuals.

The move to India has broken me down in a lot of ways, but it’s all worth it to be near an organization so actively responding to the scriptures.



Prayer Requests:

-Pray for the IJM team. For unity within the office, as well as, unity for the office and the local authorities (the Indian government and police officials).

-Pray for the cases that are unknown. For details to be revealed, so that rescues can be initiated.

-Pray for my family. Sarah and Clint are living in Scotland, Emily is living in Germany, I am here in India, and my parents are back home in Michigan. Pray for our family bond to stretch wider than all the oceans combined.

-Pray for wisdom and patience for me as I settle into this temporary new normal.

AND Praise the Lord for all He has done for the last few weeks!

You guys are the best! Thank you for being a part of this journey.



Finally Arrived in India.

*this post was originally written on September 26, but posted on October 1, because wifi in foreign countries is tricky*


I can barely keep my eyes open, although it feels like all I’ve done in the last 24 hours is sit on my butt and close my eyes. Travel days, long travel days, can put you in a trance. One in which I hope to be released from soon. 

I want nothing more than to be wide awake for my first full day of living in this city, but I can barely think to type these words. 

Jet lag, you will not get the final say of this first week. 

*glugs other water bottle*

*rubs swollen eyelids*

*takes bite of 5th granola bar*

My body is feeling all sorts of things.

Exhaustion from the 5 hour road trip followed by the 15 hour flight to get here.

Jet lag from the 9 and a half hour time change (yes, 9 and a HALF).

Exhilaration from the last few hours of taking in the city that I now call home.

India is just as I remembered from my last trip here in May of 2018. The vibrancy, the smells, the subtle spiciness of every bite, the impossible driving structure. But even in the recognizable aspects, this time around, India seems different. It feels like I’m stepping foot in this country for the first time. Maybe it’s because my trip is, well…not exactly a trip. It’s a move. 

I am currently sitting on a bed in a small apartment in Mumbai, India.

My things are slightly spilling out of my suitcase, yet still somewhat packed, indicating my transitory state of being at the moment. 

Early next week, I will be moving into an apartment for the year. 

I’ll be living with two of the other interns, Kyla, a girl from South Africa and Emma, from London. 

Until then, we are all scattered in different homes, provided by families and friends from the IJM office. 

It’s been about 24 hours since I landed in Mumbai, and I’m already super ready to be settled in. I am thankful for this in-between home, but I am ready to hang a few family photos on the wall and to not have to pack up my toothbrush after each use.

Today was a full day. 

I met almost everyone in the IJM office.

The office is made up of 8 different departments, and within each department in 3-8 employees. The department i’m a part of, the communications department, is made up of three people (including me!). I thrive in smaller groups, so thank you Lord for placing me in this sweet little (but powerful) team. Overall, the office crew is a bigger crew than I expected, but the community aspect still stands strong despite the large numbers. Every morning we meet together for half an hour, and most days we eat lunch together at a family style table. 

I’m eager to get to know and do life with these people for the next year. 

This Sunday, I’ll be checking out a local church. It’s near by both the office and the apartment we are hoping to rent. Kyla, who has been in India for a little over a month, has been attending this church and loves it. The only church I’ve visited in India previous to this was located in a small village in south india. There were about 20 people sitting on torn up blankets in a small concrete building. Far different from my church in the states, but same Jesus. I am eager to experience whatever this Sunday may bring. 


In my first entry about a month ago, I mentioned an overview of who IJM is and what they do. Scroll down to that blog for more information, and if you’re interested in reading more, go to ijm.org. 

The mission statement of IJM rests on an extremely sensitive field of work. What goes on inside each office is confidential. The work that IJM does is so good, therefore, it should be known! And I hope people are moved by the mission of IJM! However, the cases that they cover in relation to modern day slavery contain sensitive material. To respect the privacy and honor of the victims, names and details cannot be shared. To carry out the work and mission of IJM, so much of what we do must be kept inside the office, at least until cases are closed and information is cleared for publication. 

I say all of this because my blogs may seem a bit vague, or ambiguous, at times. I cannot post specifics about the work I will be doing each day on this particular page because it is public, but there’s some good news! I can share information about IJM and all that I am doing here via email! Once I get a bit more settled into life in India, I will be reaching out and collecting the email addresses of those who are interested in hearing more about IJM India. 


Am I impressive now?

Two weeks later and the closest I’ve been to Indian culture was the chai tea latte I had at Starbucks last Monday.

Nothing has changed. My things are still packed. My visa is still being processed. And I am still home in Detroit, MI.

I was hesitant to write this blog post, simply because I have no new information to share with you. I’m right where you left me two weeks ago: drinking coffee and playing Bananagrams with my parents as I wait for the green light on my move to India. And I’m okay with that, but I do wish I had some sort of ground-breaking, live changing, unbelievably interesting update to share. Don’t we all. . .

Current Updates:
got my haircut (just a trim, of course)
had lunch with my grandma
read a few books (read=skimmed)
visited an art fair with my dad
backed up my phone
ripped a pair of jeans
tried a new shampoo
rode my bike
went to a farmers market with my mom
mastered the perfect breakfast sandwich: everything bagel+fried egg+avocado+fried ham+salt/pepper (can substitute ham for bacon)

When this journey to India began, months and months ago, I dreamt of all the thoughts and stories I would share on this page. I envisioned making my readers simultaneously belly laugh while reaching for the nearest box of tissues. I imagined humor soaked with meaningful life lessons. Man did I want to impress you.

But alas, unless you are deeply moved to tears by ripped pants and shampoo, then I fear that I have let you down. Nothing impressive to see here. I’m tempted to tell you to just come back in a few weeks when things get more interesting and read-worthy. (But please don’t go).

Agh, I want to not want to be impressive. I want to be so cool and hip about this waiting period. Unphased by this brief intermission. It’s so easy to believe that life stops in these moments, only to start up again when things begin to get interesting. It’s as if the only things that count are the big things, but I assume that you all know that that’s not true.

The big moments are exciting, and they deserve attention.
Big moments like graduating or getting married or finding a job or moving to INDIA!
Big, beautiful things.

But my gosh so much of life is the little moments, and if I ignore these little moments, I will be missing out on some big growth opportunities. Some big family time. Some big rest. Some big reflection.

When I started writing this post I had something specific I wanted to share about finding meaning in the in between moments, but truth be told, I completely forgot what I wanted to say. So, I suppose that’s it for now. Let’s raise a glass of chai tea to being human! And forgetting things! Huzzah!

From small moments to big moments, and all the medium moments in between, may you be satisfied in the One who walks through each moment with us. If only we knew how much we mattered to the Maker of moments.


Goodbye Fingernails, Hello Detroit.

Today is the day!

Well, today was supposed to be the day.

I had my flights all booked, my travel snacks all picked out, and bags all (almost) packed. 

At 2:55pm today, Thursday, August 29th, 2019, I was supposed to be moving to India, but instead I’m sitting at home in Detroit, Michigan, sipping on iced coffee and playing banana grams with my parents.

Long story short, I don’t have my visa yet.

And you can’t really move to a new country without a visa.

If you’ve ever had to apply for a visa, other than a tourist visa, then I rest assured in the fact that you feel my pain.

A few weeks back, I applied for a year-long employment visa. I wasn’t given an exact timeline as to when I would hear back, but with a suggested start date for my internship, I had a fairly determined departure date in my mind: today.

I waited to book the flights at first, but as I saw the prices slowly creep into the thousands, I thought, “oh, what the heck, I’ll go ahead and book my flight.”

I was confident in the plan I had made in my head. 

As the departure day slowly approached, my email inbox remained vacant of any visa details. 

I called and emailed all the customer service contacts I could, but everyone responded with the same sad, automated message: “Dear Applicant, we have no new information on the status of your visa. Please be patient until we receive further updates.”

I wanted to know WHEN I would hear and WHY it was taking so long and WHO was handling my visa and WHAT could I do to speed up the process. 

But unfortunately, all I know is that it’s not time.

I don’t have my visa, therefore, it’s not time for me to go. 

My poor nails have taken quite a blow in all of this.

I bite my nails in stress, and by the size of the current crooked nubs on the ends of my fingers, I declare the last few weeks as some of the most stressful weeks of my life.

But oddly, I feel okay.

I am stressed, but I am also excited.

I am excited for this adventure, and I am eager for it to begin.

So much is up in the air, so yes, I am anxiously waiting for a plan to be presented for me to act upon, but I’m not worried. 

I feel a sense of peace. A sense that it will be okay. 

I believe in a big God. A God who is completely in control. If I’m supposed to be there by next week, then I’ll be there. If my Heavenly Father wants me home for a few extra days, then so be it.

I trust that His ways are far greater than mine, even if my way seemed quite good, I trust that His is better. No matter how many finger nails I chew through, I will wait upon the Lord.

Today was supposed to be the day, but it’s not, and you know what?

That’s okay. 

The day will come. As I wait, I will rejoice in all that has been and all that is to come.

A big adventure awaits, and although the details are unknown to me right now, I trust the One that knows the details. 



If you’ve got a few moments this week to pray, maybe in the car or in line at the grocery store, then please lift up the details of my visa. I am hoping and praying to be on a plane some time in the next week, but there’s not much more I can do right now besides wait.

Thankfully, the organization I am interning for, International Justice Mission, has been so gracious in all of this. They are patiently waiting and praying right alongside me, and they are eagerly preparing for my arrival, whenever that may be. 

More updates to come.



Barbie Cars and To-Do Lists

When I was a little girl, very few things in the world scared me.

Spiders usually prompted a yelp followed by a few tears, and I could never simply walk up the basement stairs after turning off the lights. Darkness was no friend of mine, neither were the basement monsters.

The bigger things in life, however, didn’t have much of a hold on me and my giggly little self.

I was confident. I was daring. I was talkative.

I didn’t fear things like public speaking or mix matched outfits or conflict. 



I must say, my older self is quite impressed by my younger self.

Truthfully, I wish I could be more like her.





In the last three weeks, I’ve had a lot of below-average moments.

The type of moments that awaken certain feelings and reactions that you hate to admit even exist in you. Anger. Fear. Jealousy. Impatience. Doubt. Greed.

I depart for India in approximately 3 weeks, and I have yet to obtain my visa. An extremely important step, if not THE most important step, of moving abroad. 

The type of visa I applied for requires a lot of information, paperwork, and the occasional smashing your forehead on the keyboard when the website crashes for the fourth time (true story). Through a series of unfortunate events, I found out that I had been applying for my Indian visa through the wrong source the entire time. Back to square one. 

I frantically googled, emailed, and called everyone and everything I knew that related to India.

I retyped and reprinted and reformatted every piece of information I could get my hands on, and I shipped it off to be reviewed (thankfully to the right source).

Amidst the process of waiting to hear back about my visa, my pre-departure to-do list seemed to have doubled in size. 

Tetanus shots, eye exams, travel visa cards, international insurance, fundraising, etc...

I keep thinking about how well little me would handle all of this.

She wasn’t afraid of failing. She wasn’t irritated when things didn’t go the way she hoped. She wasn’t jealous of what others had. Little Kate found joy and hope in everything

This last year has been an emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual rollercoaster, and to be honest, I’ve been barely hanging on. Growing up isn’t at all what I thought it would be. I suppose I miss being a little girl. 

The other day, I was talking to a sweet friend of mine about all of this, about how I wish I could be more like my younger, more free, more joy-filled self. As the rant came to a close and the tears began to fall a little slower down my cheeks, my friend responded in a gentle tone, “I still see so much of little Kate in you.”

Perhaps when we grow up and begin the process of taking on adult responsibilities, we feel as though we need to leave our younger selves behind. 

No more time for temper tantrums and sugar highs, we simply have too much to do.

But what if younger me was onto something? 

What if growing up has caused me to grow out of the mindset of Christ? I’ve become more serious and logical and safe in my way of thinking, speaking, and acting.

but life is a GIFT...one to be enjoyed to the fullest, just like little Kate enjoyed that brand new Barbie car on Christmas morning. Holding back no excitement or tears.

Gifts are not things to be feared, but in fact quite the opposite, loved.

To love the life you live might be the best choice you can make as a responsible adult. 

Little Kate loved her life, even the scraped knees and melted ice cream. Perhaps that’s why my mom and dad referred to me as their “joy child.”

Today, I’m taking a break from trying to grow-up.

Matthew 18:1-5:

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'”


Tiny Wurm, Big World

Welcome to my very first blog!

I am slowly learning how to put the stories, ideas, and thoughts I encounter into words for you to not only read, but to experience for yourself. I am honored that you are willing to take a moment of your own life to read about mine through a smudged laptop screen, big, ol’ desktop, or whatever your viewing screen of choice happens to be. 

Well, I am moving to India.

Who would’ve thought? Not my parents.

Well, perhaps... I assume they knew that this was coming before I broke the news to them, but to you all this move overseas may raise some questions. Allow me to share where this all began. 

I initially felt a tug on my heart to visit India about 2 years ago. 

May of 2017 to be exact. 

As most dreams do, it began as a small seed in the back of my mind. I slowly began to water the thought of India with books and conversations and prayers and movies and anything else within my reach, and before I knew it, I had a full grown tree of thought taking root in not only my mind, but also in my heart. 

The obsession with this place spilled over into a deep love for the culture and people of India. 

I visited twice in early 2018, and shortly after my trips, I felt a new small seed being planted in my head to move there. 

Taken during my second visit to India. A moment where I felt tiny, tiny, tiny.

Fast forward a year and here we are! 

After many early morning interviews, long-distance phone call meetings, financial confusions and a few teary-eyed (okay ugly weeping) kitchen breakdowns, I can finally recognize the purpose interwoven in all the moments that led me to right here.

You will hear so much more about this in the coming months, but in just a few short weeks I begin a communications internship with International Justice Mission on the west coast of India.

In somewhat of a short (okay medium to long) version, IJM is a non-profit organization composed of Christian attorneys, social workers, criminal investigators, and support staff. IJM carefully investigates situations of abuse and partners with local officials to free victims from their immediate situations of

danger. After the victims have been freed, IJM seeks to address the root of the problem by prosecuting the perpetrators in local court systems and empowering communities to make structural changes that can prevent such abuses in the future. IJM also works with aftercare providers to help the newly freed victims adjust to a life that is very different from their past oppressive experiences. 

Check out their website for more information (www.ijm.org). 

In early June, I flew to DC for a pre-departure orientation with 79 other IJM interns.

IJM’s headquarters sit on the outskirts of the surprisingly sweet DC area, and the 5 days spent within the walls of the organization, shaking hands of those whom I’d only met over email, praying alongside current employees, filling notepads with the kind of information that sets your soul on fire...those 5 days represent just a small seed of what this year has the potential of growing into. I sat wide-eyed in front of each speaker as they shared about their specific area of expertise within the organization from technology to fundraising, and from cultural immersion to international team building. I learned more about the heart of IJM, absorbed the stories that the organization is founded on, and held back tears as I heard about all that the IJM team plans to accomplish in the years to come. 

The best part is that IJM’s story, team, and mission exceed me. 

This year will break far beyond the walls of my own mind, as I hope to share with you, and anyone who is willing to listen, the stories of rescue and victory and renewal.

I used to say the phrase, “tiny wurm, big world,” whenever I saw something or visited somewhere that made me feel small in the best possible way. 

Looking out at the mountain, the ocean, the waterfall, or the sunset, and being filled with some sort of ‘this is what life is about’ feeling. The tears forming in the corner of your eyes and your heart lifting as though it had just exhaled for the first time in years. The Creator has a way of revealing the most extravagant gifts of the world to us in a way more personal than we could ever describe.

I have a feeling this next year is going to be a lot of those, “tiny wurm, big world,” moments. Perhaps a beautiful sunset or a breathtaking view, or maybe even the feeling I’ll get when I first figure out how to do laundry in India. 


Whatever it is, I look forward to sharing that moment with you. 


a good photo reference for when someone says they have “laundry for days..” Taken on my second trip to India.



– kate