In February 2010 Katheryn Pope received an email, totally out of the blue, from the KBC regarding an International Team Leadership Training, and decided to attend. They agreed to help fund a mission trip to São Paulo, Brazil, with a commitment that each participant would then lead a team on an International World Changers trip within 18 months. “I felt God was calling me to do so, even though I knew it would really stretch me, or I would not have gotten the email,” she said.
When the itinerary arrived, it included pastors, campus ministry leaders, and those that had been all over the world doing missions. She did not fit in with this group, she thought.
The trip started as a fiasco for Katheryn as her flight was cancelled due to a thunder storm and she had to fly over 10 hours to Brazil alone. “While there, we were instructed to go out on campus, strike up conversations with students, and eventually share Christ with them. I was overcome by fear. The first day I could not do it but, by the end of the trip, I was doing fine,” Katheryn said.
Once back home she realized that now she must fulfill the commitment she had made. Although she had been on several mission trips before, she had never led one. Katheryn contacted a local youth pastor and the two of them put together a strong team of 15 to go to Romania. However, a few months before the departure, the youth pastor called and said he had been called to another church and would not be able to go with them. But, with the team they had prepared, she was ready to lead. In Romania they did construction projects, children’s day camps, and Bible studies.
Following the trip the team members became burdened for their own community. The needs at home were great as well and they could do the same types of outreach right in their own county. They contacted local Director of Missions Randy McPheron with their vision and, in 2012, the Rockcastle Baptist Community Mission Team was officially adopted by the association.
Since that time the Team has been active year round with outreach to their community. Volunteers from several churches in the association have come on board and this is literally an “associational team”. Celebrate Recovery, Women’s Bible Study, GED Classes, Community Meals, a Summer Feeding Program for Kids, Back-to-School Events, an Emergency Food Panty and Door-to-Door Evangelism are just some of the ways they are impacting their county with the Gospel. With each event the Gospel is shared. Just in the past few weeks alone, 36 people have prayed to receive Christ as their Savior.
For the past 5 years the team has held Christmas Outreach events. The most recent, Operation Give Hope, was held in which children and families were fed, heard the Christmas story, and received coats, blankets, and toys. Kentucky Baptist Convention helped provide Bibles for this event and Appalachian Regional Ministries provided Christmas backpacks.
Katheryn was approved and commissioned in 2015 as a Kentucky Missionary and God has filled her with a passion for the lost and hurting. Someone recently described her as soft spoken and iron-willed. She continues to go on international trips but her on-going ministry is right here at home.
To learn how you can begin a similar community ministry, or partner with Katheryn and other Kentucky missionaries, please contact the KBC Missions Mobilization Team at 502-489-3530.