94: Pathway of Hope: My testimony is hope with Lt. Katherine Reid

This season, we’re exploring The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope—a national initiative to provide individualized services to families with children, addressing their immediate material needs and providing long-term engagement to stop the cycle of poverty.

Last week, we learned about the research surrounding self-sufficiency and how essential hope is along the way.

Hope was described as the driver that leads to goal attainment—and critically connected to our spiritual well-being.

That’s why Pathway of Hope is grounded in Scripture.

From what God requires of us, as found in Micah 6:8, to the motivation for serving suffering humanity, as found in 1 Corinthians 16:14, which says: “Do everything in love.”

That theological foundation is about joining God at the place of need and allowing him to work through us to bring his healing and hope.

And that’s exactly what you’ll hear in this testimony.

Katherine Reid first met The Salvation Army in eighth grade, when she and her mother became residents at a shelter.

Years later, as a mother herself, she again met The Salvation Army and became a participant in the Pathway of Hope.

And this year, Katherine was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer—a pastor—now serving in full-time ministry as the Assistant Corps Officer in Bloomington, Illinois.

Only she can do the incredible details of her story justice.

Show highlights include:

  • A look into Lt. Katherine Reid’s ministry today as a Salvation Army officer.
  • How she first met The Salvation Army.
  • How The Salvation Army helped when she needed it.
  • What it was like to be a participant in the Pathway of Hope.
  • Why she decided to volunteer and how it shaped her future.
  • Why Katherine became a Salvation Army officer.
  • What she loves about The Salvation Army.
  • Now, as an officer, what it means to her to infuse spiritual and pastoral care into Pathway of Hope.
  • What she would want a current participant to know.
  • How you can support the Pathway of Hope.

Listen and subscribe to the Do Gooders Podcast now. Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability. For more information on the people and ideas in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post.

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Christin Thieme: Lt. Reid, thank you so much for joining us today on the Do Gooders Podcast, and welcome.

Lt. Katherine Reid: Thank you for having me, Christin. It’s so great to be a part of the podcast and to meet you and all your audience out there.

Christin Thieme: Absolutely. I’m so excited to chat with you today. So, you were commissioned just this year as a Salvation Army officer. And how about we start there? Can you give us a little bit of a look into your ministry today? What does your day-to-day include? Where are you?

Lt. Katherine Reid: Definitely. Yes, It was a very exciting experience. Day-to-day my ministry looks different right now. I’m currently in Bloomington, Illinois, at The Salvation Army corps there. And so, for instance, today, I started a planning meeting of what everything would look like throughout the year.

Typically, I come in and I say hi to the rest of my teammates and go and visit our Safe Harbor shelter that we have here in Bloomington, and just spend time with people because that’s where my heart has always been. That’s where it is. And then after that, I usually start planning for the week different programs that we do for our youth and for the preaching that we have on our Sundays and different activities such as that.

Christin Thieme: So, a lot’s going on.

Lt. Katherine Reid: Definitely. Yes, we always have some awesome things going on here. We just finished up our vacation Bible school where we had an Olympic theme, and that was very exciting for us here, and the kids really enjoyed it.

Christin Thieme: Yeah, I bet. That sounds fun. So, how did you come to first meet The Salvation Army?

Lt. Katherine Reid: The first time I met The Salvation Army, unbeknownst to me, was when I was in eighth grade. I actually was in Independence, Missouri, at the Crossroads Shelter that they have there. My mom, who was struggling with drug addiction at that time, ended up losing our house. We got evicted and we had no place to go. And so, we ended up going to that shelter. And I can just remember from the first time we went there it just seeming different. Everyone was very kind and loving, and everyone had chores. It seemed like you were joining in a family, which was not like any other experience I ever had.

Christin Thieme: Wow. What was the experience like there? I mean, what were those next few months or years like?

Lt. Katherine Reid: It was only months for me and my mom. I think some of the biggest things that stood out was the ministry aspect. They had Bible study that the adults went to while the kids really got to spend time and play with each other. And I think, well, I know for a fact that’s one thing that helped my mom with her process, because I started to see a change in her. She started to be more present, helped me with schoolwork more, and just be a bigger support in my life than she had been due to the habit that she had. For me, it was different. I really enjoyed the environment. Everybody was upbeat and positive and loving. And there were moments where… who wants to do chores? But for me it was like, wow, everybody’s doing their part. There was a lot of support and love that happened there.

Christin Thieme: So, that was eighth grade. And from what I understand, some years later, as a mother yourself, you again met The Salvation Army. Can you tell us more about that time in your life?

Lt. Katherine Reid: Yes. So, in 2014, I found myself in a financial bind. I was working full-time at that time, and I had my daughter Kassidy, and I basically hit a rough spot in my life because I didn’t have a lot of support. I was my only support system at that point. And when my daughter wasn’t able to go to daycare, I ended up having to stay home with her. Well, when you’re living paycheck to paycheck and you have no other means, then you find yourself in a financial bind. So, I was almost losing our home, and I didn’t know what to do or where to start. I actually reached out to my aunt, and she referred me to The Salvation Army.

And so, at that point, I was really hesitant because I was used to being so independent, and I didn’t know how The Salvation Army could help. But she was like, “They can offer you some assistance, so I’m going to suggest you to call.” And that’s what I did. I reached out and got information to the case worker who told me to come down the next day and go through the process and they’ll see if they could assist me. And so, I ended up doing that the next day. I went down after work. I ended up missing my bus because I was working at a call center at the time. And so, you got to stay on the phone until the call is done.

And I missed my bus, and I was just so discouraged walking out of work thinking I’m not going to make the meeting in time. And my sister who worked at the same place with me came out at about the same time and offered me a ride, and I was hesitant because I didn’t want to tell her what was going on. And she could see right through it, that sister relationship. And she ended up taking me down there, and I explained to her the situation. And we get down there and the building looked like it was closed. The lights were off. It was later, close to their time of closing. And I was like, wow, what now? And so, I knocked on the door anyway just hoping someone would be there.

And a woman came to the door and she was like, “We’re closed.” And I was like, “I was here for a meeting, and I’m supposed to meet with this lady named Kate. And I just really need some help.” And the lady was like, “Well, I’m Kate. Come on in.” And so, I was like, “Great. This is so perfect. Thank God.” And I remember walking in and giving her my information and talking to her. And my sister ended up going to the restroom. And Kate and I just had a conversation. And she looked through everything, and she was like, “You qualify for assistance.” And I was like, thank God. It just was like a weight lifted. And my sister came out and I told her, and we both rejoiced in that moment together.

And then Kate started talking and filling out paperwork. And she said, “Well, part of our processes that we have to advise you about a program that we’re starting that we have called Pathway of Hope program.” And she gave me a spiel of what it was, but she did it in a way that was nonchalant because she mentioned to me she had people she told before and nothing came of it, but she was required to share the information. And so, she asked me if I’d be interested. And my sister looked at me in a way that was like, yeah, get more information about that. And I was like, sure, I want to know more. I would like to know more. And Kate just seemed stunned, and she was like, “What? You want to know more?” And I was like, “Yeah, I definitely do.” And so, that started the process for me of going through the Pathway of hope program and changing my life, really.

Christin Thieme: Wow. Just one divine intervention after another, it sounds like.

Lt. Katherine Reid: Yeah, it really was. And one thing I forgot to mention to you when I left the Crossroads Shelter, it was because my mom had missed curfew there. And so, we were told we had to leave as part of the process. That’s one of their rules. And I understood that, and I had no hard feelings towards it. I was just sad because I really enjoyed being there. And when I left, I said, “This is what I want to do. I want to build a place where I can help people from the beginning of their lives to the end of their lives, and just be that support. And that was my dream. And so, fast forward to later, I’m able to take part and accomplish that dream because of so many people’s support and help of The Salvation Army. It’s just so beautiful.

Christin Thieme: What was it like to have that kind of support? I mean, you mentioned that you were on your own and did things yourself, and then ended up as part of this Pathway of Hope and had that support system. What was that like?

Lt. Katherine Reid: To be honest, for me, it was life-altering. I’d never really experienced that kind of care and support before. And it all started with the actual team that was at The Salvation Army that I went to in Lawrence, Kansas, even before then. When I went to the shelter, it was there as well. But for me personally, when I went to The Salvation Army in Lawrence, Kansas, and was getting support from the case manager, Kate, who set me up for that Pathway of Hope program, she was just really encouraging and present. She understood that I had transportation issues, and so she would offer to come and meet with me where I was. And then the ministry aspect with the officers who were there, they were a great support. They would always pray with me and have conversations and ask how could they help?

The whole staff was just very welcoming and loving. And I’m just sitting here like where did these people come from? I’ve never seen people who were so encouraging of one another and just the community. And I was in shock. It was so beautiful. And I think that was a huge part of my motivation of wanting to take part in being present there and volunteering is seeing just the day-to-day joy with everyone in the office and everyone who came into that building. You can tell that it was God’s presence for me, I know that now. At the time, I didn’t understand it, but now I know it was the presence of God.

Christin Thieme: That’s amazing. Can you give us a little bit more of an idea of what exactly it takes to be part of Pathway of Hope? What does that mean as a participant? What did you do?

Lt. Katherine Reid: So, as a participant, the goal of the Pathway of Hope program is to help to help cure or prevent generational poverty. And so, what I did was basically meet with a caseworker to discuss the plan that I had for my life. And ultimately for me, I was working full-time as I mentioned before, and I had transportational issues. But in that moment, I was in a job that I didn’t love. I like my job because I like working with people, but it wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I didn’t know how to describe it in a simple way.

And so, when I had conversations and meeting with Kate, and she would ask me, “Well, what do you want to make your goal here?” And I mentioned that I wanted a better career that would provide more stability for my daughter and I. And she was like, “Well, what would you be thinking?” And I was like, “Well, at one point I was very interested in psychology.” And she was like, “I can see that.” And she was like, “Well, going back to school would mean looking at the barriers that you have.” That’s part of it. You have to break down any barriers, which for me was the transportation and childcare.

And so, we would meet to discuss different steps that we take towards reaching that goal. And so, for me, that’s what it looked like. But everyone’s path is different, that’s the great thing. Your goal may be just trying to get stable transportation. Someone else’s goal could be trying to get a steady income. It varies per person. But once you start that program, the Pathway of Hope, you basically are setting goals and working out ways with the caseworker to accomplish that goal.

The other aspect in it would be the ministry aspect. One of the things that I really am grateful for is the fact that they do have you meet with the pastors, the officers of the church, and have a good discussion with them about where you are and whether you need that spiritual guidance or support. And for me, that was something major that I really needed in my life. Because although I did grow up having that relationship with God, knowing who God was, it wasn’t personal for me. It was what I would consider very surface. Because I would go to church, I knew of God, I learned different things, but I didn’t understand a lot about my personal relationship and my beliefs and why I believed.

Christin Thieme: So, very practical support overall, but then with this infusion of the spiritual and pastoral care as part of it, too. So, having been on both sides of it, why is that such an essential part of the overall structure of Pathway of Hope?

Lt. Katherine Reid: I think both parts are essential because having that social support and someone who already has certain connections or can guide you and help you build those goals are one thing if you don’t already know how to do those things. That’s one area that helps that aspect. But the spiritual aspect, it goes further than that surface. It gives you your own foundation in Christ that no one can change or alter that. That spiritual support is what keeps you cleaning to your hope and your faith, that this change is possible.

Because you’re going to encounter obstacles just like you would in everyday life. It doesn’t change the fact that you still have responsibilities and bills to pay. But having that spiritual aspect allows you to say, “Okay, you know, I’m not doing this alone.” As I mentioned, I felt like everything was on me. I was relying on myself. But I can only go so far. That spiritual aspect let me know that while I’m limited, the God that I serve is not. He can go far beyond the things that I can see. And I really know that my life is a living testimony of how good He is and just the amazing things that He can do.

Christin Thieme: Absolutely. In that same vein, why did you decide to become a Salvation Army officer and go into full-time ministry?

Lt. Katherine Reid: So, when I first started the Pathway of Hope program, I met with the officers who were there at the time. At the time they were Lt.s, now they’re captains. Marissa and Matthew McClure. I met with Marissa, and I discussed with her what the Pathway of Hope program was, and made sure that I had a good understanding of it. And then we talked about where I was spiritually and the different things that I was facing. And she asked me, “What is your dream? What do you want to do with your life?” And usually I’d have a quick surface answer to that question, just, “Oh, I just want to save and do this.” But for some reason that day, I felt like sharing my true dream, which I had dreamed when I was in eighth grade years ago.

And I told her, “I want to build this place where people can come and get helped with their life from beginning to the end of their life.” And she just looked at me and she was like, “Wow.” And I was like, “That’s my real dream, but I don’t know how to start or what that looks like or anything about that.” And she just kind of nod, and she answered questions I had and prayed with me. And every encounter I had with her, she prayed with me. And so, that was a huge life-changing thing for me as well, seeing her live out her faith in that way.

And so, fast forward. As I was volunteering at The Salvation Army with their feeding program and the pantry and working the front desk, I got offered to come to the actual church services. And I was like, I knew that was going to happen. I had not been attending church regularly at that point. I was in a place where I felt like me and God had our own personal relationship, so why do I need to go to church to have that relationship with God? I was so, so foolish. I can look back and say that about myself now.

Christin Thieme: Hindsight.

Lt. Katherine Reid: Yeah, definitely. Definitely hindsight. And so, I tried to look for any way out of that situation. And I was like, “Well, it’s on Sunday, and the buses don’t run on Sunday.” And at that time, their driver wasn’t picking up that week. And she was like, “Oh, okay. Well.” And at that same moment where it was going to pass, Kate, the caseworker, she walked out, and she was like, “Oh, what are you guys talking about?” She was like, “Oh, I was asking her if she wanted to come to church, but Sunday the buses don’t run.” And she was like, “Oh, if you want to go, I’ll take you.” And I was like great.

Christin Thieme: Thanks, Kate.

Lt. Katherine Reid: Yeah. I was like, “Oh.” And she was like, “No problem. I could bring you to church. And I have my son, that way your daughter has someone there.” And I’m like, “Oh, okay.” I was like, “Okay, Kate.” And so for me, that goes back to that support aspect. She did not have to do that. That’s not a program requirement.

Christin Thieme: Right.

Lt. Katherine Reid: But that’s one of those things that shows that person that you’re serious about coming alongside them. And so, she came and picked me up. And that wasn’t her home church, she had a different church, but she came and she did that for me. And from the first day I attended, and I was so welcomed by everyone. It wasn’t like people were all over me or swarming. It was just that it was a welcoming environment. Everyone was nice, and they were everyday people. Nobody tried to be any different than who they were. Everything was so genuine. And when I heard the service, I just felt like I could understand everything and what was being spoken. And I was like, this is different than any church I’ve ever been to. And I’m like, I’m going to come back next week to see if it’s the same.

And so, that continued for me. Yeah, it continued. I kept going. Even when Kate wasn’t taking me, I continued to want to go because I’ve really felt God’s presence there. And I felt like I was getting an understanding of who He was. And more importantly, I felt that in community with the other people around me. And that aspect, I think, was missing when you try to have that personal relationship with God. You want to have it. But having that community of holiness is key. That’s the aspect and the reason to go to church, because that community, that support, is what carries you through as well.

And so, there was a Sunday that I was at church. And the officers were at the front, and they were doing what they call like kind of an altar call, it was a Soldiering Sunday is what we call it, when we ask leadership options. Do you want to do more leadership involvement inside the corps, inside the church, or would you rather feel like God is calling you to do something else? And that something else at that time was ministry, full-time ministry, but I didn’t know that.

And so, as I’m sitting in my seat and hearing this call, I felt the urge to move. And I was like, I know God is calling me to do something else, but I don’t know what that looks like, and this is weird, and I don’t want to get up. I was really nervous. So, I just clung to my seat and I didn’t move. But that following week I spoke with Captains Matt and Marissa and told them what I felt like God had called me to do, that He called me to do something else, but I didn’t know what that meant.

And so, she just smiled and she shared with me that in our first meeting, the Holy Spirit had spoke to her and told her that I’m supposed to be doing ministry, that I’m supposed to be an officer. But she didn’t want to share that with me because she felt that he would guide me in that way if, in fact, that was my calling. And so, I heard that. And yeah, I just got chills and I was like, wow. Oh my gosh. And I was like, I want to learn more.

And so, I started being more involved in leading in the youth events. And I started going to the different territory events that they had for the youth to learn more about officership and what it meant to answer that calling. And so, that began my path and changed where I felt like I wanted to go into what God called me to do. And so, in hindsight, I just look back and I’m like, wow, God, you knew the whole time where I was supposed to be. You’re so funny sometimes, the way You do things.

And so, as I was answering that calling, part of it was taking testing and things like that. And so, the test for me was like math and your basics, but it was also mental, emotional, and other things along those lines that reveal to you areas that you need to work on or whether or not you’d need any counseling and things like that. And so, after taking the testing, they encouraged me to do what they call their Ministry Discovery Intern Program. And so, I was like, okay, I’d love to do that to get a more hands-on feel of what it’s like to actually be an officer because I knew nothing about that. I knew just the surface things. I was new to The Salvation Army and I wasn’t aware of the full history. So, this was a great opportunity for me to learn.

And so, with me doing that program, going through and during the internship, part of my internship was done in Independence, Missouri. Now, at this point, to my knowledge, I had never been to The Salvation Army corps in Independence, Missouri. So, the day that I’m supposed to start, I take an Uber out there, and I pull up to a building that’s off the side of the church. And I was just looking at the building and I’m like, oh, it looks familiar, but I know I’ve never been out here. I don’t recall being here.

So, I got dropped off at the church. And I got out and I met with the shelter director who I’m supposed to be meeting with who would give me the tour. Her name was Cathy Asher. And I remember talking with her and I was like, “If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell me what that building is next door, because it looks familiar. I feel like I’ve seen it before.” And she was like, “Oh, well maybe you came to an event here.” And I was like, “No, I haven’t been to one event here in Independence.” I remember where I’ve gone. I was like, “I haven’t been here.” And she was like, “Yeah.” She was like, “Well, that’s our shelter,” And she just was giving me some history. But as soon as she said that, I knew it.

And I was like, “Is there a school out here that’s named James Bridger 8th Grade Center?” She was like, “Yes, but it’s a sixth grade school now.” And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been here. That’s the shelter that me and my mom went to when I was a kid and everything.” And I was just overcome with emotion because I knew in that moment God brought me all the way back to where I had first started that dream. And it was just amazing to know that He had a plan for me from that point on, and how faithful He was in allowing me to find my way to answer that calling into ministry in every obstacle I had faced.

Christin Thieme: That is truly incredible.

Lt. Katherine Reid: Yeah, yeah.

Christin Thieme: Amazing. What a testimony. Full circle.

Lt. Katherine Reid: Definitely, definitely. And so, for me… Oh, go ahead, I’m sorry.

Christin Thieme: What do you love about The Salvation Army today? Why do you love being part of it?

Lt. Katherine Reid: The thing I love most about The Salvation Army will always be the mission of The Salvation Army. And the biggest part for that, that rings and sticks out to me is to meet human needs. To preach the gospel and to meet human needs without discrimination. The history behind that, for me, is huge, and it speaks volumes, and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.

I didn’t know about preaching the gospel part at the time, but I knew I wanted to meet human needs. But now as I grew in my relationship with God, I can’t help but share with people who He is and how great He is and how He transforms lives. And it just does it, my entire story of the Pathway of Hope program. And that’s what I love about the Army, that’s what I see being done every single day in so many ways throughout the world.

Christin Thieme: Absolutely. So, as somebody who has the unique experience of having participated in Pathway of Hope and now being a Salvation Army officer, what would you say to those who are part of Pathway of Hope right now? What would you want them to know?

Lt. Katherine Reid: One thing I would want them to know is that the dream that they have is possible. Sometimes when you find yourself in a rough place or when you’re facing so many obstacles, you get discouraged. But I want them to know that they are not alone. Not only do they have the support of the people in The Salvation Army who are behind them, and those that you don’t see like the donors and different members of the community who may be just making phone calls for you to get the assistance you need. But most importantly, you have God always in your corner.

And so, I just want to remind them not to lose hope, to remain faithful to the goals that they’re setting up for themselves. Because it doesn’t matter what you’re going through or where you are right now, God is still able to use you. And that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be a pastor. You could be a teacher. You could be a doctor. You could be someone who works the garbage. You can be anything you choose to be. An artist, or maybe it’s just fixing a transportation situation. You can accomplish those goals, but you just got to remain faithful and keep your hope.

Christin Thieme: Absolutely. And finally, last question for you. Since this is the Pathway of Hope and you just mentioned it, what does it mean to have hope?

Lt. Katherine Reid: Having hope means when you look at your situation, and all you see are things that you can’t do, you rely on the things that God can do in and through you. Having hope is believing in the things that you can’t see.

Christin Thieme: I like that.

Lt. Katherine Reid: Believing in the things you can’t see. Yeah. That would sum it up for me.

Christin Thieme: Well, Lt. Reid, it has been an absolute joy to talk with you today. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s incredible. And thank you for the work that you’re doing now, and we will be thinking of you.

Lt. Katherine Reid: Thank you, Christin. I really appreciate the work that you do. It’s so good that in today’s world that you are fighting for good in ways to share opportunities that people can change their lives and help transform other people’s lives. I really, really appreciate all that you’re doing as well.

How is that for hope on full display?

There are so many miracles in Lt. Reid’s story—and so many little ways people came alongside her, offering compassion and helping The Salvation Army live out its mission.

And now she gets to do the same.

So friend, that’s our season on The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope.

I hope you’ll take up the challenge to show love and spread hope to someone near you today. 

Additional resources:

  • Subscribe and listen in this season to the Do Gooders Podcast with episodes 88-94 focused on exploring the Pathway of Hope.
  • You’ve probably seen the red kettles and thrift stores, and while we’re rightfully well known for both…The Salvation Army is so much more than red kettles and thrift stores. So who are we? What do we do? Where? Right this way for Salvation Army 101.
  • Are you best suited to join the Fight for Good in disaster relief? Mental health? Social justice? Take our What’s Your Cause quiz and discover where you can make the biggest impact today.

Listen and subscribe to the Do Gooders Podcast now.

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