It’s more than just volunteering
Kathleen has been involved in missions since high school. However, in March 2009, a trip to South Africa opened her eyes to the hidden issues and problems facing her own community. In Capetown, she experienced a disparity between the wealthy and the poor, both in the educational arena as well as in lifestyles and resources.
Haves and Have Nots
“While in South Africa, I saw people who had absolutely nothing living right down the road from people who had everything, as well as the ability to help those who had nothing. The reality is—this is all too similar to the situation at home, in my own community.”
“There is often a sense that in order to be involved in missions, we must leave America,” shares Kathleen. “However, God revealed so much about my hometown while I was far away from it. I realized God had work for me to do in Nashville. He was calling me to take care of my community…to ‘love in action and truth’ (I John 3:18) in my own backyard. God had people for me to meet, and needs He could meet through me, if I obeyed.”
What Can I Do?
“When I returned home, I started looking for ways to get involved in my community,” says Kathleen. “I had driven by the Nashville Rescue Mission and knew they provided emergency services to homeless men. I quickly learned they do a lot more. They also offer life-recovery programs for those struggling with addiction and other issues.”
In May 2010, Kathleen left teaching and started living as a full-time missionary. Through her “Book Buddies” program, she’s linked kids with leaders around Nashville who provide one-on-one tutoring. She’s also instilling the value of volunteering in the community by bringing them to places like the Mission to serve others.
“I first started volunteering at the Mission in the kitchen,” says Kathleen. “I found it rewarding and wanted to do more. I began bringing some of the kids from the ‘Book Buddies’ program to do craft projects with the women in the life-recovery program. Now, I’m also leading the Hope Center Choir and occasionally delivering messages during chapel.”
“Our call to serve others is constant,” says Kathleen. “Everyone has the ability to serve others. At the Mission, everyone works together. The women in the program help us set up and clean up. I tell them, ‘I’m not the leader—I’m just like you.’ Jesus calls all of us to serve one another. There’s nothing like it.”
Kathleen works to link communities with mission-minded volunteers who can offer a hand of helpfulness and a heart that truly wants to connect in love. Her goal—to bring God’s love to those in her own backyard!