A few years ago Cathy Wilkinson received help from the Kairos Benevolence Fund. Her husband, Ed, passed away after a series of complicated health problems. The bills stacked up, and Cathy’s small income wasn’t enough. Ed was a pastor for 41 years, and, like many who have lived a life of ministry, Cathy put her needs secondary. She told herself that the ministries her church was pouring into were more important, and other people in her community needed help more than she did.
But when Cathy had to move out of the church parsonage and find new living arrangements, the financial burden was too great to bear. She turned to the Kairos Benevolence Fund.
KBF brings together the generosity of believers across the country who specifically donate money for people in Cathy’s situation. Friends who knew Cathy’s story kept telling her about KBF while she was attending the 2013 NACC. So she decided to apply for a KBF grant. After learning about her situation, it was an easy decision—KBF assisted with living expenses as Cathy transitioned to a new home.
Adjusting to Being a Widow
Life without Ed has come with new financial hurdles. Cathy explained one shock—learning how to navigate social security:
“I naively thought that because both my husband and I paid social security throughout our lives, we’d both receive social security when we were old enough. Now I know you only get one. I was really counting on that extra money to help make ends meet.”
“I’ve always trusted God. But the more you really have to depend on Him for things, the more that trust grows.”—Cathy Wilkinson
Cathy moved into more affordable housing in a senior living duplex. She tried to find a job, but her options were limited because of her own increasing health issues, and she eventually gave up the search.
Still, Cathy puts her trust in God. One of the verses she clings to is Isaiah 41:13:
“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
“I’ve always trusted God,” Cathy said. “But the more you really have to depend on Him for things, the more that trust grows.”
Again and again, God has shown Cathy that He will provide.
Returning the Favor
Cathy leads a women’s Bible study and regularly finds encouragement in Scripture and fellowship. Individuals within her church help support her out of their own pockets. They consider it part of their tithe to the Lord.
Now Cathy pours some of what she receives back into the same fund that helped her.
Cathy knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the Kairos Benevolence Fund. When receiving the KBF grant years ago, she noted, “It’s amazing to me that there are people out there that God has placed that on their hearts—to give to an organization like Kairos that provides for those of us that went through those tough times.”
Cathy may have never imagined that she would become one of the people she had described. Yet God placed it on her heart to give to KBF, and she responded. She knows she’s helping to provide that same relief to other widows of ministers in their time of greatest need.
“Sometimes you know who you’re helping, and you get to see their story. A lot of times you don’t,” Cathy said. “But I know that Kairos is helping people like me who don’t have other options. . . . I’m so appreciative of that.”