UPDATE (Aug. 4): WorldVenture and the family of Jamison and Kathryne have created a memorial fund for those wishing to respond to the tragic death of the Pals family.

Donations to this memorial fund will be used to make grants for future WorldVenture appointees’ outgoing expenses and thereby accelerating their departure for their missionary assignments.



UPDATE (Aug. 3): A memorial service for Jamison, Kathryne, Ezra, Violet, and Calvin Pals will be held Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016 at Bethlehem Baptist Church (Downtown campus), in Minneapolis, Minn. The service will be live-streamed beginning at 11:30 a.m. CST.

Following the Pals’ memorial service and luncheon at Bethlehem Baptist Church, there will be a brief WorldVenture gathering for any alumni, missionaries, appointees, staff, past and present board members attending. The gathering will be at Bethlehem Baptist Church, but the exact location will be determined later.

Please Continue to Pray:

•For God’s comfort and grace for Jamison’s parents Rick and Kathy Pals and their extended family, and for Kathryne’s parents Gordy and Nancy Engel and their extended family. Pray that relatives traveling internationally will be able to arrive for the memorial service on Saturday.
•That many people (around the world and especially in Japan) will be drawn to Jesus as their Savior through the testimonies of Jamison and Kathryne and their families and friends in the midst of this tragedy.
•That God will call many to rise up and take Jamison and Kathryne’s place in missions.


(Originally published Aug. 1): With great sorrow we share that WorldVenture appointees Jamison & Kathryne Pals, along with their three children, Ezra (3 yrs), Violet (23 mos), and Calvin (2 ½ mos), were killed in a multi-vehicle crash on Sunday, July 31. The Pals were traveling in their van from Minnesota to Colorado to participate in their final training before deploying to serve as missionaries in Japan, when their van was struck by a semitrailer truck in Nebraska.

Their WorldVenture supervisor notes, “Jamison & Kathryne were all about the people of Japan being reached for Jesus that they might know the joy of salvation.” Jamison & Kathryne were looking forward to joining the ministry of Christ Bible Institute in Nagoya City. Following their language acquisition training they anticipated sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and discipling new followers of Jesus. In speaking with WorldVenture President Jeff Denlinger, Jamison and Kathryne’s fathers each echoed this sentiment: “Though we are devastated, we are praying that God would bring many to Christ through their testimonies and this tragedy.”

Jamison & Kathryne were committed to sharing the good news of Jesus. During their college days and more recently with their home church, Bethlehem Baptist Church of Minneapolis, MN, they served in local ministry and in several other international locations.

In a newsletter sent out to their family and friends following some physical challenges that Kathryne experienced, Jamison shared a quote from John Piper:

“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.”
– John Piper, in A Sweet and Bitter Providence

While we sorrow in Jamison, Kathryne, Ezra, Violet, and Calvin’s deaths, we also look to the promise of the One, Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead, for He has prepared for them a place in heaven for their good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Listen to an interview with WorldVenture’s Gwen Britton on Moody Radio about the Pals. 


Join the discussion 51 Comments

  • Roberta Hickam says:

    Their accident happened just down the road from us. My husband and I live in Ogallala Nebraksa and their deaths have greatly saddened us. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with their family and know that we send all our love and support from Nebraska

  • Casandra says:

    The loss of this young family saddens me greatly. My heart is with them and all who love them. Being an EMS provider in a neighboring mutual aid community to that of Ogallala, Brule, and Big Springs, my heart also goes out to them. That kind of tragedy is hard for all involved. My prayers also go to the truck driver who made a fatal mistake and will now have to deal with that for the rest of his life.

  • Terri says:

    I’m so saddened by this tragic loss. I never knew the family but would like to take the time to offer my prayers and thoughts.

  • Constance says:

    Thank you, neighbors and first responders. I know the Pals family only through news of the accident — and the mprnews.org link to their blog, begun last year as they prepared to go to Japan with the love of Jesus. I it long and deep with the love of God. I pray their lives through their words will work the love of God into many lives.

  • Bob See says:

    We’re heartbroken over this tragedy. Having served 11 years in Japan with Asian Access many years ago, we feel a special bond with all seeking to serve Christ there. Our prayers go out in behalf of their family, friends, and mission family.

  • Lois and Mike Kramer says:

    Our love and prayers go out to this caring, loving family who we got to know in their younger years as our delightful neighbors in Circle Pines, MN neighborhood. We are thankful for their example of love and family ties.

  • Sarah says:

    We don’t live far from where the accident happened and although we didn’t know this family, Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and your community as you mourn the loss of this family!

  • Christy says:

    Yesterday, our daughter left to head back home from Lake McCounaghy. As she got to I80 there was a traffic jam,due to this accident, she called me and complained. She knows what happened and thanks God for allowing her to pass. We never know when God calls us home, but, these blessed disciples were covered in the love of Jesus to enter into eternal life. We pray for their families and friends.

  • Katie Kelley says:

    Praying for the families as they adjust to their grief and loss. May God use this event to bring others into the family of Faith.

  • Diane Brunner says:

    My heart is heavy but I’m encouraged to hear their love for Jesus Christ❤️

  • Cheryl says:

    We also live in Nebraska and coincidentally will be traveling that same stretch of road to Colorado next week. The day of the accident, we were traveling through Iowa on I-80, bringing our son home after a year-long overseas missions trip through Adventures in Missions. We came past an accident quite similar to this but much less serious, involving a semi and a pickup truck. As I prayed for the lives of anyone injured in any way and for those responders, it never occurred to me how important, and personal those prayers would become. It makes me grateful to God that He calls those of us not called to travel, to pray. Never underestimate that call and obey the moment you hear that voice. The lives this precious family lived will not be vain. I pray that God will touch the hearts of all who see this story to respond to the call, wherever, however, and whenever it comes. As hard as it is to imagine, as painful as it is to accept, there are no accidents in God’s economy. Every life lost to this world is a call to those of us left behind to follow Christ, even to death, that the lost may come to know Him. “Unless a grain of wheat fall Into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many other seeds and yields a rich harvest.” John 12:24
    We struggle with death, wishing those we love didn’t have to die. We even get a little angry with God, wondering how He could do such a thing to such wonderful people. But God is eternal, and will never understand this side of heaven why. But we can choose to follow them in obedience, to show this desperately lost world the way to Christ, in whatever way He calls us to go. The legacy they leave is one of love, compassion, and obedience. ” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4

  • While I do not know this young family, my heart is broken. The world is a much lesser place without them. They are with the Lord now, and experiencing the peace that passes all understanding.

  • Reynaldo Avante says:

    The Conservative Baptist Association of the Phils would to extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the Pals’s loved one’s and the WorldVenture family in this time of grief and sorrow. The whole organization is grieving and praying for God’s comfort and peace to be with us all.
    “We grieve with HOPE” 1 Thessalonians 4:13

  • Nicole Raynor says:

    My husband, two young girls, and I just arrived in Okinawa a week ago to serve as missionaries through a Christian school. Our hearts break for the families, and we will remember them as we share Christ to the Japanese in Okinawa. We will be praying for the family and friends and their sudden losses.

  • Jean says:

    Such a terrible tragedy but may God be Glorified and many brought to the Saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ through their loss and love. Only Christ knows why.

  • Rochelle mosura says:

    Their lives is now a living testimony..the tragedy for us is God’s greatness that his name be continually proclaimed. Sad that their call has ended that way. Many missionzries will arise.

  • As aging missionaries in northern Hokkaido Japan, we are so disheartened to hear of the loss of someone headed to reach the people of Japan with the Gospel. But we too must rest in the fact that God’s plan is greater than man’s and we claim His promises and pray not only for the physical and spiritual family who lost so much but for many to still be reached by the desire they left behind. May others pick up the baton and carry it to Japan!

  • Rebecca LeMaster says:

    This is so very sad. I don’t know this family but will pray for their familes and friends who now have to deal with the loss and grief. To God be the glory.

  • Tina Matteson says:

    I’m so very sad about what happened to the Pals family. Although they never got where they intended to go, it sounds like they leave an amazing legacy.

  • Marie Louis says:

    I am so sorry for your devastating loss. From hearing their story, they would want this to glorify God in every way possible & be used to bring many to Jesus. I’m praying for God to comfort you & pour out His grace & mercy on you. I’ve found that when I’ve had loss, God seemed to give extra grace I needed to get through. Rest in Him & He will grieve with you. In His Love,

  • Joyce says:

    I am so saddened by the loss of this young family. My thoughts & prayers go out to their family & friends. Had I gone back to my home in CO a day sooner I could have been involved in that tragic accident. Many prayers

  • My church is sending a pastor family to Japan to do the work that the Pals will be doing. The passing of the Pals in this tragedy is indeed a mystery that we have to learn to accept by faith. The Lord in his wisdom will definitely turn this “bad” thing into “blessing” for His glory.

  • Randi Pidde says:

    Prayers for peace, strength, comfort n mercy for those left behind. I do find myself wondering what it would be like to meet Jesus, face to face, with my entire family, at the same time. To hear “job well done good n faithful servant” with my loved ones beside me … who could imagine! Be strong n courageous …

  • Linda Hicks says:

    For the moms and dads of this dear couple who were in the process of allowing their hearts to let go that these young people their son….their daughter ….the three precious little grand children….God be with you dear families…My heart is committed to prayer for you as the days come……I honor the fact that your hearts are committed to the same Lord they loved and served……..My heart breaks for your loss to this earth…..even though I know that great is their reward in Heaven…..May the Lord comfort you daily with the thought that they were willing to give all to Him. I commit my heart to prayer for you, the beloved homes from which they came…..Thank you for all the care and love and training through the years that helped to bring them to the place where they would give all for their Lord and Savior who they wished to love and serve and who undoubtedly has already said to each one of this sweet family…..”Well done, thou good and faithful servant….enter thou unto the joy of thy rest…..as He stood up…..to welcome them home…..God bless and comfort you dear people of God…….

  • Loretta says:

    This is such a horrific tragedy ! My heartbreaks for all the family and friends. I am so sorry!!!

  • Rose Stoffel says:

    My heart goes out to the families and friends! I pray that you all will be of hope that they were so loved and are rejoicing before their Savior and Lord Jesus Christ for they so loved him and wanted to lead people to their Savior. What a great faith they had to bring others to Christ. May others come to the Lord and be saved. May the Holy Spirit move in your lives and bring you help encouragement strength and comfort.

  • Aleta says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this beautiful family.

  • Michael Williams says:

    Praying for friends and family along with all of you at World Venture.

  • Harold Britton says:

    Pastor Lam,
    Thank you for sending another pastor to Japan to reach the Unreached, in obedience to the Great Commission.

  • Madeleine says:

    My husband and I were traveling home to Colorado from Omaha on Sunday and were in the traffic that followed this horrible accident. This family has been on my mind ever since. My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to all the friends and family of the Pals’. I didn’t know them, but it sounds like they were an amazing family who God shined through.

  • Rev. William Glass says:

    Our prayers their family and your mission.

  • Nate says:

    I am so speechless and saddened by this news. I don’t understand why these beautiful people were taken away from the Earth. Oh, God, Jesus, please help me! Please comfort their families, Lord!

  • Anonymous says:

    Prayers and thoughts are with the remaining families affected by this tragedy, including the other gentleman who passed. Our times are in God’s hands. He is a wonderful God to allow them to enter into eternal life together.

  • Bonnie Hickman says:

    Prayers for comfort for the family still on this side. Soon and very soon…

  • David and Joyce Dixon says:

    We are terribly saddened to learn this news, tragic from our human viewpoint. The quote from Piper is so true! Jim Elliott’s oft-quoted statement, after he gave his life along with four other young missionaires in Ecuador, comes to mind. We pray for the families of Jamison and Kathryne, for their church and for the World Venture family. We know that God will glorify Himself even through human tragedy.

  • Teresa says:

    Although I dont know the family, I am deeply saddened by their loss. Such a tragic accident claiming this young families life breaks my heart. Prayers to the family members and friends that have been left behind.

  • Carol Noble says:

    Not only praying for them and the ministry, but for the families of this precious family. As a great-grandmom, my heart cries out for comfort for all involved.

  • Diana says:

    Im so sorry for ur loss 🙁 ..may god bring them home…prayers to your family

  • Kristi Cress says:

    This hits close to home! My mother-in-law lost her mother, father, 2 young sisters and a little brother when she was just 23. My son just passed away 3.9.2012 at the age of 23 from an accident, and all 6 are buried together. It’s a tough road even having the Lord by your side. Grief is messy and it hurts. My heart grieves along side this family! You are not alone!

  • Steve J. says:

    “I do not know how things will turn out for us. As a husband, I feel obligated to lead our family toward obedience, whatever the end may be–whether it is life or death or discomfort or disappointment. It is clear that the Lord Jesus calls us not to an easy life, however he calls us. He bids us to take up our cross–just as he did–to suffer and die. Perhaps we will toil for years to raise support and never make it overseas. Perhaps we will go and utterly “fail” as missionaries from all worldly perspectives. Perhaps we will labor for decades without any visible fruit. Or perhaps through willing obedience, many will pass from death to eternal life.“
    Jamison Pals, April 15, 2016

  • Marc C. says:

    My family grieves with the Pals and Engels family over the loss of Jamison, Kathryn, Ezra, Violet and Calvin. I had the privilege of working briefly with Jamison at FMSC and had the chance to meet him, Kathryn and Ezra a couple of years ago. He was a man of quiet strength and a clear heart for the Lord and for serving Him in whatever capacity he was called to. I also had the privilege of attending the funeral via lifestream–my wife and I were blessed at the honor paid to the family and extended family and friends as well as the message of hope in Jesus we all share. We continue to pray for all who knew the precious Pals family–for peace, comfort and an overwhelming outpouring of His presence.

  • Paul D Fisher says:

    My Peterbilt was in the repair shop in Ogalala on the Sunday of the accident; the vehicles were towed to the lot across the street. Every day, for 5 weeks I would see the Pals van. Such a tragic loss and so young. My thoughts and prayers …. Such a beautiful family…….. . . . . .

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