Welcome to the BBI Family, Katie!
By Charles Kelley
PHILOMATH, OR – “The journey wasn’t created for you; you were created for the journey.”
When Claude Hickman penned these words in Live Life on Purpose he wasn’t thinking about a young lady from Texas and her unique journey to serve Latvians who are affected by disabilities. But as I have gotten to know her in recent months, I sense the Lord has a special assignment for her.
So, I am excited to announce that Katie Leatherwood of Texarkana, TX, is joining the BBI missionary family. Katie says, “I have come to a point in my career and my life where God’s call to pursue full-time missions is stronger than ever. He has provided me opportunities and experiences to equip me for a definite purpose. It is now time for me to use these blessings in the true calling He has placed on my heart.”
After graduating from LeTourneau University in 2009 with a degree in Kinesiology, Katie went to graduate school to study Prosthetics and Orthotics. Upon completion and national board exams, she earned a Certification in Prosthetics and Orthotics (CPO). She has been practicing for the past five years.
Katie explains, “This calling involves using my skills in prosthetics and orthotics as a tool to share His message and love as well as minister to the disabled community.”
About a year ago, after having served on short-term mission assignments in Latvia twelve times, she acknowledged God’s call to use her skills, knowledge and desire to promote disability awareness.
Katie has an opportunity to serve a community of people that are often neglected. She will be able to invest in authentic relationships with those affected by disability. And, as Katie so wonderfully says: “Prosthetics and orthotics has given me the foundation to impact people’s lives physically; Jesus has equipped me with the foundation to impact them spiritually.”
Katie’s objectives for this ministry of mercy include networking, education, mobility and empowerment. By networking with Latvians in the Christian and secular communities, she hopes to become familiar with the services and opportunities that are currently available to those with disability. By networking with churches, she hopes to educate, promote inclusion, acceptance and involvement. Two important ministries with whom she may partner are YWAM’s Wings for Wheels and Joni & Friends, International.
The Latvian health system is selective in providing Orthotic and Prosthetic (O&P) services. Some who could greatly benefit from a device are often denied. Katie plans to establish an O&P lab where she can adjust, repair or fabricate devices, while avoiding encroachment on governmental services or private practices. Her future plans include services from a mobile clinic equipped with necessary tools and equipment.
Katie just attended an important Joni & Friends, International disability conference (Global Access). In May, she will attend Mission Training International in Colorado, an intensive missionary training program. Then, she will resign from her current role and relocate to Latvia by mid-June. Her first priority will be to learn the Latvian language.
May we ask you to join with Katie on this new journey? Her ministry is 100% dependent on the prayers and generous support of partners like you. Beyond her personal support, Katie will need some equipment and travel funds. However, she is projecting a small budget with a big objective – helping disabled people in Latvia to be physically assisted in life as they are transformed spiritually through the love and power of Jesus Christ.
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For the Ministry of Katie Leatherwood as well as Designed to Live – O&P Mobile Care Unit
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