Staff Spotlight: Kate Mitchell

Staff Spotlight: Kate Mitchell

Kate loves working at GRACE and is deeply touched by the commitment of our teachers to educate our students while growing and encouraging them in their faith. 

Kate grew up in England and attended church throughout her childhood, but shares that the “reality of the gospel” did not touch her heart until after graduating from college. At that time she, “totally surrendered my life to Him and can still remember the infusion of joy – I felt like I walked on air for weeks.”

Kate reluctantly studied education in college at Leicester University finding out, to her surprise, that she loved teaching! As a child, Kate received a piece of sugarcane from a family friend who had been in Africa. That event gave her the desire to do the British version of the Peace Corps. Upon graduation, Kate combined her teaching credentials with her desire for travel and service by accepting a teaching job in an elementary school in Islamabad, Pakistan. Her class was small and her students were the children of the staff at the British Embassy. She ended up staying at this school for six years and met her husband, Jonathan, in Pakistan where he had grown up as a missionary kid. Kate shares that he is fluent in the main language (Urdu) and moves with a natural fluidity in the culture – skills that she is still learning.

Jonathan and Kate have had, as their goal, to live in faithful obedience to God’s direction.  Jonathan comes from a long line of missionaries and pastors and Kate shares the blessing of joining into this family where past generations prayed for the future generations – which includes her. Her advice? Pray now for your spouse, your children, and your children’s children. It’s never too early to start!

Kate shares that Philippians 4:4-9 are verses that help guide her and Jonathan in their marriage and in their life choices.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Kate shares several highlights from her life – individual events and stories that weave together to create an incredible tapestry of a life lived with eyes focused on the Lord first and earthly circumstances second.

  • Kate finishing her master’s degree in education and Jonathan completing a master’s and a PhD (all three debt-free)
  • Helping to run a cross border aid program in Pakistan that sent aid to Afghanistan
  • Living in the far north of Pakistan for six years, when Jonathan ran an organization of 180 girl’s schools, covering a mountainous region of 20,000 square miles, and doing a school visit to the most distant school – a two-day walk from the nearest road!
  • Kate teaching in an International School

Kate is quick to point out that for almost all of us, our vocation, our job, is something someone else can do – we are all replaceable in the workplace. She emphasized, in contrast, that our roles – wife, mother, friend, etc. are positions that we alone are uniquely gifted for. She is challenged to think how she is best serving the Lord in each of these roles.

Kate also emphasized the value of the events in our lives, seeing the providential hand of God in each one, and using these stories to connect with people. Jonathan’s family heritage includes the story of two families getting out on the last ship that left Indonesia when the Japanese invaded in WWII. Kate shares that God has been faithful to her and her family, but reminds us to not confuse faithfulness with an easy life. Rather, God walks with us during the difficult times and provides friends as His hands and feet to come alongside us. Kate shared many examples from her own life including:

  • being held up at gun point by a young man who wanted a job (he didn’t get it!)
  • kidnap attempts (in one the kidnappers walked in the front of the building and Jonathan walked out of the back)
  • a death threat (they had armed police live on their front lawn for 6 weeks)
  • the entire rear axle sliding out of the Land Cruiser on a narrow mountain road
  • surviving a suicide bomb attack during a church worship service
  • losing a baby and burying him in the foothills of the Himalayas
  • struggling with depression

Kate treasures the lifelong friendships made with people of different cultures and faiths. She admits that living cross culturally and working in partnership with others across boundaries of language, culture, and faith is a challenge. With God’s guidance, these experiences have shaped her sense of justice, truth, forgiveness, and mercy. Kate has humbly learned much about hospitality and generosity from people who, from our cultural standpoint, have nothing but are willing to share what little they do have.

In a manner that speaks to the providential hand of God, He has taken the experiences, skills, and passion for service and allowed Kate and Jonathan to start a non-profit organization, Concentric Development, whose goal is to transform the lives of the poor in Asia and Africa. Kate shares that God has tied all the loose ends of their myriad experiences into helping others achieve more with the resources that God has provided to them. Throughout this newest adventure, God has provided direction and resources each step of the way – not always when and how they wanted, but He has never failed.