The Open Table is a national organization which began here at PVUMC by Jon Katov and others. Its mission is to reach out to the marginalized and mentor them so they learn the necessary skills to navigate life. A group of 6-10 people surround a struggling young adult, veteran, homeless person or family to guide them back on their feet to independence. It usually takes eight months to a year for this journey. It is truly putting God’s love into action and embracing all people. PVUMC members have served on more than 20 tables since Open Table began. Five tables launched in the spring of 2018.

Illario’s Story

Earlier, in 2017, the church filled several Open Table spots to support five young adults, including Illario, a 20-year-old student who emigrated from Guatemala when he was 16 years old. Regional culture dictated that Ilario work with his father in the coffee industry rather than pursue his education. Guatemalan tradition requires that the youngest male child stays with his parents and work versus pursuing his education. Ilario’s work permit expires in November 2019 and he desperately wants to attend college while here. His table was an answer to prayer and our members responded to the call for help. Thanks be to God!

Candidates Waiting for a Table

Shana Tompa and Courtney


Courtney is a 23-year-old graduate of Genesis Academy. She has three children – Isaiah (4), Isabella (3) and Christian (1).

Courtney previously lived with her cousin and her mother but as a result of a loss of job, they were unable to pay rent and were forced to move. She and her three children currently live with her grandmother and her grandmother’s husband.

Courtney previously was employed with The Arizona Republic and is very eager to work again. It is Courtney’s desire to get a full-time job with benefits and move into an apartment of her own.


Jonae (pronounced Joe-nay)

Jonae is 19 years old and recently completed her high school requirements. Due to her parents’ divorce and lack of structure at home, Jonae lost focus which delayed her graduation. With determination and commitment, she stayed after school frequently to get caught up on her skills and credits.

Jonae is currently working at Subway, averaging 32 hours a week. She wants to succeed in life through education but there are many hurdles due to poverty and lack of stability at home. Her goal is to become a photographer.

Although she knows her mother loves her, she doesn’t have the support to move forward with her goals. Her dream is to be the first in her family to graduate from college.


How to Serve on a Table

PVUMC serves as one of the leaders in The Open Table movement. We are always seeking those who wish to serve on a table, and would love to find people to serve on tables for both Courtney and Jonae. Contact our Open Table and Lay Leader, Kent Heltne, to serve on a table and sign up for training. Or email Pastor Brenda for more information about how to get involved in this ministry.

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