Kathryn Lindsay

Hi, I’m Kathryn Lindsay and I’m here to share my faith story. I grew up in a Christian family, which was a real blessing. I was sent along to Children’s Church and Sunday School and Girls Brigade from a very young age. At the age of five I knew that I needed a Savior. It was through my Girls Brigade leader. She was telling us a missionary story about Amy Carmichael, and it really spoke to my heart. She kept repeating in the story that Amy was a child of God, and it just got me to thinking. I want to be a child of God.

Girls Brigade was on a Monday night; so, one Monday night after dinner, I had my uniform on and I was waiting to be taken to Brigade. My mom and dad were drying the dishes and I said to them, “I want to be a child of God.” My dad, being the man that he is, questioned me up and down about whether I understood what that meant? Did I know that I had sin? Eventually, he was convinced that I understood and was making this decision for myself. He took me to my bedroom, and we went down on our knees by the side of my bed. I prayed a prayer after him, and I meant every word of it.

From the minute I said “Amen,” this joy came into my heart. The first thing I did when I went to Girls Brigade was to run in and shout, “I’m a Christian!”

So yeah, my faith was very real for my young age. I guess as you develop and go through secondary school, it becomes a bit more real, you understand more. So, I got involved in youth groups and things like that. I was a junior leader in Christian fellowship and at camps. My mom and dad were in the faith mission at the time, and they ran a lot of camps for kids. Even when I was fourteen years old, I was going to the teen camp, but I was a junior leader at the eight and nine-year-olds camp. So, I’ve been serving for a very long time.

In my late teens, I went to missionary training week with Child Evangelism Fellowship. I learned how to tell a story properly, bring out the meaning, and teach a memory verse and a quiz. I learned to tie all these things together to run a Vacation Bible School.

After that I went to university. I moved to Scotland from Northern Ireland and that was a big thing for me because I led a very sheltered life. I had a lot of Christian friends at my school, and it’s the first time away from my parents. It really shocked me when I went to Scotland that all the Christians used to go to the pub after the Christian Union. I was like “Oh my goodness.” I got very involved in the Christian Union there, and during that time I went on a lot of mission trips.

I’d had a heart for Africa for as long as I can remember. From a young age, I got saved through a missionary story and at camp the missionary story was always my favorite part at any Christian meeting or conference. I always loved to hear the missionary report. There was a stage in the 1990s when everyone was going on missions, not just in Africa. It’s like you needed to be a missionary at home first. That used to bug me because my heart was for Africa. I didn’t want to stay at home. I want to be a missionary in Africa. But I didn’t get to Africa straight away. When I applied for a mission trip. I ended up going to Hungary, then I went to India. After my trip to India, I’m like, “God, why has this not worked out to go to Africa?”

I typed into Google, “mission trips in Africa.” Mission Africa was the first hit on Google. The following year, I went to Chad with Mission Africa and absolutely loved it. We went for three weeks. It was a very, very small team, just four of us. The two boys were fluent in French, and I and the other girl who was younger than me at the time, our French wasn’t great, but we had done a lot of work with children. We were both studying to be teachers. The boys translated for us the Bible stories and they children learned a lot from us. One of them went home to become a teacher after that, and he got involved with the children’s work in his church.

The first week of the Chad trip, we visited lots of different mission agencies. Mission Africa wasn’t the only one. We visited a Christian radio station in the country. That really opened our eyes because all of us were interested in long term mission. We ran five day clubs, or VBS, with the church and with orphanages. It was just an amazing time. I remember driving home on day and thinking, “I could live like this.”

Two years later, I went back with Mission Africa to Burkina Faso this time. It was a much bigger Presbytery team. We were quite unwell on that trip, but again it was a brilliant time. We’ve done a lot of work with kids. We’ve done some practical work as well, painting and things. The motto of the trip was, “Rejoice in the Lord, Always.” Our tummies were sore and we ran to the toilet quite a lot. That was a big lesson that I learned, no matter what is going on, just praise God.

After university, I became a teacher and moved down to Ayrshire, in Scotland. And eventually I got married. When I was engaged to this guy, I thought that he had a heart for mission, and I felt like God had a real call on his life. Every mission trip he had been on, people wanted him to stay. He was a real evangelist. Unfortunately, it was not a very good marriage. I didn’t realize until I came out of it how unhappy I was, but everyone around about me could see that I didn’t have my usual bubbly personality.

He didn’t want to give me kids, and I ended up going on antidepressants. Life just got really hard, but I just kept plodding on. Eventually he cheated on me, and I’m not proud to say it, but a lot of the time I was praying, “God, please get me out. Get me out of this.” I didn’t agree with divorce, so I just kept sticking on and sticking on because I didn’t want to fail, and I didn’t want to let God down. I didn’t want to let my family down. My dad is a minister, he didn’t become a minister until I was at university; so I didn’t grow up with him being a minister.

But my husband didn’t want to get back together no matter how hard I tried. He was already living with another woman at this point.

During COVID we decided to get a divorce. It’s been a tough journey being a Christian who doesn’t agree with divorce. I’ve dealt with a lot of shame and a lot of caring about what other people think, but God has been so close to me. And I suppose I came back to myself, I was again that happy chirpy, bubbly person.

Then God started tugging on my heart. There was a church sermon series that was about taking your God-given dream off the shelf. I was in so much denial. I was like, “No, I don’t have that dream anymore. I don’t have any dreams. I don’t know what my dream is. God, if you have a dream for me you’re going to have to tell me what it is because I don’t know what it is.” A few months later, I went on a church conference. Lo and behold, the series for the conference was the same series about taking your God-given dream off the shelf. And I thought, “Oh, God, you must really want to get my attention.” But still I kept stuffing it away and stuffing it away.

After three days of the conference I was sitting up late with the friends that I was staying with, and they were asking me what was God speaking to me about at the conference. And I just said, “I don’t know. I don’t know what my dream is.” And they challenged me because they knew I wasn’t telling the truth. The next day they were at work and I decided that I would have a day with God to reflect on everything I’ve been learning. I went into the town and did a few things, and then I ended up sitting in the car for a very long time. And sometimes that is my special place and where I can get really close to God. I looked through my notebook and prayed, “Okay, okay God, if you really want me to take that dream off the shelf, I will go to Africa. That’s fine. But I don’t have the desire for it anymore. You’ll have to light the fire again because I don’t have it.”

I went home and my friends asked me questions again. I said, “You know, I think God wants me to bring this dream back alive.” They were like, “What’s your next steps? What are you going to do?” So eventually I emailed some mission organizations and. I texted a few people and but a lot of them didn’t get back to me because they weren’t properly operating again after COVID. Another few months down the line in November I saw this advert in Instagram for Mission Africa. They were seeking someone to go to Kenya to be a coordinator for short term mission teams, which is right down my street.

I screenshotted it because it really pricked my attention. I’ve seen adverts like this many times in my life and never had I screenshotted it or given it too much thought. For another week, I forgot about it. I was doing a leadership course with my church on Zoom every Thursday night. One Thursday night I couldn’t sleep, so I thought, right, I’ll just pray. I was praying, praying, praying and then I don’t know why I was looking through my phone, I got distracted, but I found this screenshot and I was like, “Oh. God, what are you saying to me?”

I noticed that the application deadline was only a week away. I prayed about it long into the night. I cried. It was messy. I told God all my fears, all about my family, everything I was worried about. And He said, “Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about the logistics. Don’t worry about your family. Don’t worry about your future. This is the way; walk with Me in it.” At that point I couldn’t do anything but say, “Okay God, I give up. I give myself over to you.”

I went to bed and slept soundly. For the next week, I worked on the application process.  The day after I submitted the application form, I got an e-mail asking whether I would be free for an informal Zoom chat. The administrator from Mission Africa in the Belfast Office phoned me. Apparently, I was the only person that applied. She said that most companies would see this as a bad thing, that they hadn’t got the right audience. But she said that they thought it was a sign. Lots of people had inquired. Lots of people had asked for that application form, but hadn’t submitted it.

Then the director of the mission also phoned me for an informal Zoom chat. I had my interview in December 2021, and I was offered the post. It all came together really quickly. In January I started my fundraising and the funds just seemed to flow in, so it could only be God. One challenge that I had in that time was trying to sell my house. All my family lived in Northern Ireland, so I didn’t think it was wise to rent it out. I decided to sell it and buy something in Northern Ireland that my father could look after. Eventually the house did sell for more than what I’d paid for it, so everything came together.

I had my commissioning service on March 31st, 2023, and I flew to Kenya on the 20th of April. I’ve been here about seven weeks tomorrow. For the first few weeks it was great. I wasn’t nervous about the flight. I didn’t cry much when I left at the airport. I knew that God had called me here, and that He would sustain me. After the first three weeks it’s been really difficult. I’ve suffered with homesickness, which I didn’t think would happen, as I lived away from my family for a very long time. I was struggling to eat, and I wanted to go home.

I was like, “God, you’re asking too much of me. I can’t do this. I just want to fly home. Please don’t let this be for long term.” But I’m still here. I’m still pressing into Him. I know that He wants me here. God has put people around me here to include me and to make me feel less lonely. My first short term worker arrives in two weeks, so I’ll be working with her and that will keep me busy. After the summer teams come, I will then work with the church here in Kenya. It’s called the PCEA (Presbyterian Church of East Africa). Hopefully, I will be doing youth work with them at the churches, but also going into schools and running assemblies and Bible classes and things like that. So, I would really value your prayers that I could make more friends here and that God would show me exactly which ministries to be involved in.

Thank you. This is my story.

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