Linda Otterback’s ministry has taken a lot of different turns. In early 2001 she was scheduled for a mission trip to El Salvador. When the trip had to be cancelled, Linda received a phone call asking if she would like to go to Fleming-Neon instead. “What country is that in?” Linda asked.
Linda soon learned that Fleming-Neon is in Eastern Kentucky. She said “yes” to that mission trip, which began the Eastern Kentucky SONrise ministry that is still active today. Linda and her husband Larry poured their hearts into the Eastern Kentucky area, where they have led prayer meetings, women’s and men’s conferences, gathered much needed resources (clothing, diapers, household furniture, Christmas gifts), and led mission teams to the EKY area. They have also been such encouragers for many residents, as well as missionaries that serve in eastern Kentucky.
Larry and Linda were married 52 years, grew up in church together, and served together as North American Mission Board MSC Missionaries. Larry served in this position for 12 years until health issues forced him to step down. On September 30, 2016 Larry went to his heavenly home and Linda was left to serve alone.
After Larry went “home” Linda felt her life was over. “I couldn’t sleep or eat for almost a year,” she said. “I cried every night and much during the day. I put on a great face to others, but really had hit the bottom. My kids were concerned that they had lost me also. But, PTL for friends, family and God who didn’t let me stay there. I started reading the Psalms in detail after Larry passed. I believe God wrote them for me especially!! They hadn’t meant as much before, but now I see how HE spoke to me through my trials and valleys. I still miss my man so very much but have found that God has much yet for me to do.”
The summer before Larry passed, God spoke to Linda in a dream saying she would be doing a widow’s ministry. So, in the midst of her grief, God led Linda to use her experience and her role as a “widow” to begin a ministry to others who had lost their husbands. Thus, “Kentucky Joy in the Mourning” was born.
Widows all across Kentucky have challenges and are in need of God, our churches, and each other to help them through this journey. “Kentucky Joy in the Mourning” reaches out to them to share stories, encourage, minister, and give insight on how to navigate this season of life.
Linda, along with the “Kentucky Joy in the Mourning” team, is available for church workshops, retreats, speaking engagements, luncheons and conferences. If you know a widow who is struggling, or if you feel led to begin a widow’s ministry in your church, please contact Linda at [email protected]. Visit their website (www.kybaptist.org/widows) to download resources, or connect with “Kentucky Joy in the Mourning” on Facebook.
Praise be to the God… who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.