We are one Body - the power of kinship
My name is Kathrin, and I am a lay member of the missionary association Servants of the Gospel of God’s Mercy. I am originally from Germany, but have been living in Texas for the last 7 years.
For most of my life, I didn’t know about God or His unconditional love for me. I grew up in a rather secular society, and after the divorce of my parents when I was 10, I decided that God was just a lie and that He didn’t exist. I was in a lot of pain throughout my teenage years and suffered from depression and anxiety, until I went abroad during college to study at the University of Concepcion in Chile. There, in that beautiful country full of loving and caring people, I felt like coming back to life. I was intrigued by the joy of people who materially had much less than I did, yet had a depth to their life that I was lacking. I came to understand that their joy was rooted in Jesus, and I opened up to the idea of God’s unconditional love for me personally. I returned to Germany with the knowledge that God was there for me. However, I soon started to have more questions than answers, and after some tragic events in my life, I was desolated and didn’t know how to bring together the idea of an all-powerful and loving God with the suffering I was experimenting.
This is when God sent me the community of the Servants of the Gospels in Cologne, Germany. Once I started attending their events, I was hooked. I was so thirsty for more of Jesus. The sisters taught me so many things, from Jesus being there in the suffering with me, to how to authentically live the gospel and the social impact that that has. The unconditional love with which the community embraced me made me understand more and more the unconditional love that Jesus has for each one of us. At some point, I quit my job and lived with the community for two years, deepening my faith and letting God heal many of the wounds of my past.
After the two years living in the community, I felt the call from God to marry my husband, and moved to Texas where he was living. Before marriage I had worked in several aid projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia, but my call now has a lot to do with everyday life. As a wife and mother, I had to learn to find God in everyday life, to see His will in diapers, dirty dishes and sleepless nights and I believe that where I am, as a mother and wife, I do my bit in bringing peace to the whole world.
As a mom, I am also called to live the gospel in an authentic way, so I can be a witness to my daughters. Houston, where we live, is the most culturally diverse city in the United States, represented by nearly 100 nations. I love this diversity, which can be a beautiful representation of the One Body of Christ, but at the same time there are divisions between different cultures and classes. In this atmosphere, it is very important for me to teach my children love and tolerance towards everybody.
I am an executive director of a small organization that supports a 98% Latino neighborhood through a community center. Most of them are undocumented. I love my job, because it gives me the chance to show God’s unconditional love to people who have fled persecution and gang violence in their own countries and who now face racism and discrimination in America. I also have the opportunity to educate Americans about the horrendous situations Hispanic immigrants are fleeing from, and talk about the One Body of Christ which goes beyond worldly borders.