Judith (“Jude”) Tiersma Watson is associate professor of urban mission in the School of Intercultural Studies. Born in the Netherlands, Tiersma Watson immigrated with her family to the United States as a child. After college, she taught fifth grade to the children of migrant farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley for three years, followed by five years in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Katmandu, Nepal. As a missionary with Dilaram House Ministries (a division of Youth with a Mission), she was active in discipleship, counseling, and rehabilitation through Dilaram’s intentional communities.
After returning from overseas and completing her MA in Intercultural Studies in 1988, Tiersma Watson moved to the Westlake/Pico Union Neighborhood of Los Angeles, sharing life with recent immigrants from Central America and Mexico. Since 1992, she has been a member of InnerCHANGE, a Christian order among the poor connected with Church Resource Ministries (CRM). Today, Tiersma Watson and her husband, John Watson, lead the InnerCHANGE team in Los Angeles and share a passion for loving and mentoring neighborhood youth and young adults.
Tiersma Watson deeply desires her students to experience the joy, as well as the suffering, in the city—to “see the flowers in the sidewalk”—and her classes reflect this passion. In 1994 she coedited the book God So Loves the City with Professor Chuck Van Engen. Tiersma Watson serves on the executive committee for the Fuller Youth Institute and recently completed a self-care tool for urban youth workers, “Sabbath Rest in a 24/7 City.”