Katherine made the decision to follow Jesus when she was eleven years old. She understood that being a part of a "nice" southern family meant that she would be expected to attend and participate in the social aspects of church, to which she conceded. Beyond those obligations, Katherine was aware that Jesus had died for her, and she made a conscious effort to pray each night, but that was the extent of her relationship with Him.
While Katherine was a senior in high school, her dad attended Charis Bible College in Atlanta. Although she was aware that her dad was going to school, she didn’t know, nor did she care to know, anything more about it. In fact, she knew that her dad had had a powerful encounter with God that radically changed him, but she thought he was overreacting.
During high school, Katherine enjoyed attending parties. For several years she purposely avoided the alcohol and drugs, but during her junior year, she began to compromise. The lure of the uninhibited party scene, the seemingly carefree fun, became irresistible. Katherine began to drink, and she drank increasingly more to avoid coming to terms with the pull she felt on her heart to fully turn her life to the things of God. Katherine knew God's love would change her—it was fear of that change that kept her drinking. “I knew I was on the fence. I would get wasted on Saturday night and then go to church hung over the next morning,” recalled Katherine.
Although she had a knowing that turning to God would change her life for the better, she kept making excuses. “I pictured fully surrendering to God like jumping off a cliff or a high dive; you really want to jump, but you are scared, and once you do jump, there is no looking back,” Katherine said.
During a Bible study meeting, which Katherine’s parents hosted and insisted she attend, the leader asked participants to write out prayer requests. She wrote, “I just want to be happy.” Months later, when she found the piece of paper on which she had written her prayer, she realized how empty and unfulfilled she had truly been. “I was so blind, being enticed by the things of the world that look so alluring and fun, but in the end just leave you empty,” Katherine explained.
It was during a New Year’s Eve party, ringing in 2008, that Katherine's dad became aware that she was drinking. “When my dad found out that I was drunk he got pretty upset and kicked everyone out. That night, after my dad calmed down, he fell on his knees sobbing, and I had a powerful encounter with the love of God. It was like a light came on and I could see and think clearly,” Katherine said.
The battle in Katherine's mind raged. She knew that if she made the decision to focus on God, all of her desires would change. She thought, “Do I even want to be a person who doesn’t want to party?” In that moment, Truth prevailed and Katherine made the decision to lay down her life for Jesus. “I just said, ‘forget it, I’m focusing on God and whatever happens, happens,’” she said.
Katherine immediately stopped drinking and partying. She deleted all of her secular rap music, and even decided to skip her senior prom, choosing to go to a Christian conference in Georgia instead. Katherine's friends were baffled, and it was extremely painful for her to witness their lack of understanding. Although Katherine didn't fully understand God's love for her, she knew, in a tangible way that He loved each of them as well.
Katherine had planned to go to a big university in Tennessee and join a sorority, but her desires had changed. As she was driving one day, she prayed for direction, and she heard the Lord say, "Go to Charis Bible College in Colorado." "It wasn’t an audible voice, but it was so loud in my spirit. I burst into tears and had to pull over. I honestly don’t know if I was aware that there was a school in Colorado, but I knew, that I knew, I was supposed to go. I was so excited that I had gotten direction," said Katherine.
In the summer of 2008, Katherine, and her family moved to Colorado Springs to attend Charis Bible College (CBC). Her time at CBC provided her with a solid foundation in the Word and strengthened her relationship with Jesus. It was while serving with a CBC mission team in Mexico that Katherine realized she had a desire to minister to the nations. As her second year at CBC drew to a close, she prayed about her next steps. Katherine wanted to be a good steward with everything she had learned at CBC, and to share with people all over the world, the truths that had brought her freedom.
After graduation, the Lord led Katherine to Iris' Harvest School of Missions in Mozambique, Africa, where she went to train for life on the mission field. Today she is serving in Japan on the administrative team for Iris Relief, which sends relief aid and international mission teams to hard hit disaster areas. When the teams arrive, administrative work becomes secondary and the focus becomes ministering relief aid and the Gospel to the suffering people.
When asked what she hopes to accomplish on the mission field, Katherine had this to say: “Every place looks different, but the need for Jesus is the same. You get to a place and you figure out what love looks like there. In Africa love looks like flip-flops because they are barefoot, and rice because they are hungry; in Japan it looks like wearing a gorilla suit because they need joy; in Thailand it looks like giving roses to a "working lady" and telling her that she is valuable. My desire is to love well. My desire is to stop for the one. I never want to limit God. I want to see nations transformed. I want to see orphans belonging to a family, drug addicts and hardened mafia guys melt in God’s love, un-reached people groups hearing the Good News, schools built, churches planted and people discipled and released into their destinies. How will that all happen? I have no idea. I'm really just a girl that loves Jesus and obeys God one step at a time, whatever that looks like and whoever it's with.”