Barbara “Nicole” Jiskoot grew up in Arcadia, FL, a small town known for its cattle, citrus, and world-class rodeo. Yet her interests were almost always academic. From an early age, she wanted to be a teacher. After graduating from Florida Southern College in 2004, Nicole taught U.S. History and language arts at Bartow Middle School in Polk County, FL. She loved her students and planned to spend her entire career in the same classroom if they would let her…

Then on December 28, 2018, Nicole had an encounter with God in her home church of First Presbyterian in Arcadia, FL. After helping her mother and church secretary fold bulletins and sharpen pencils for the first Sunday after Christmas, a warmth came over her as she stepped foot into the sanctuary where she had been baptized, confirmed, and married. She felt in her soul the words, “I am the pastor.” While she could not explain what happened, she sensed that God was up to something big.

Nicole is now in her fourth and final year as a dual degree student at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. On May 18th, she will graduate with two degrees – a Master of Divinity and a Master of Practical Theology. She has served two full years as a ministry intern at Decatur Presbyterian Church, where she has led worship and preached; taught children, youth, and adult Bible study classes; organized intergenerational events; participated in leadership and worship planning meetings; and visited shut-ins in their homes and communities.

Besides internships and coursework, Nicole’s favorite pastimes are playing with her children, walking the family’s dog, and traveling with her family, especially to Florida to visit the grandparents and extended family. Her son Layfe, who is finishing the 2nd grade, and her daughter Lovinia, who will turn four in August, have been active in the children’s choirs and programs during their time with DPC. Nicole is also beyond grateful for the loving support she receives from her husband Bjorn, who has doubled his responsibilities both at home and at work to make sure she has the time and energy to devote to her studies.  All the while, his sense of humor and his playfulness keep the whole family on their toes!  Nicole and her family have felt at home in Decatur for the past few years, and they look forward to whatever God has in store for them in 2024 and beyond!