SPECIAL REPORT: MISSIONS
After 35 years in ministry, 74-year-old Kathie Fleming is still going strong. "I've come to the decision," she says, "that I'm not going to retire. I feel so good. I believe the life of God is so big in us that it keeps us young!"
Traveling 45,000 miles a year wasn't something Kathie planned on doing after graduating from Rhema Bible Training College in 1979 with her husband, Dave. The Flemings first worked in local churches. In 1981, when an opportunity to pioneer a church in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, opened up, they jumped on it.
However, eight short years after the church started, Dave was diagnosed with advanced renal cell carcinoma. Kathie's world was suddenly rocked when a few weeks later, he died.
At the time Kathie also worked full time in Rhema's alumni office. After her husband's death, she took time off to seek the Lord. She considered going back to school, since she was now the sole provider for her children. But as she prayed, God told her to stay in ministry and begin traveling and teaching.
Soon afterward Kathie quit her job at Rhema. "I did everything I told others not to do. I'd say, 'Whatever you do, don't quit your job. Just go a little bit at a time.' But I just went for it!"
Leaving Rhema five months after Dave's passing made it financially difficult for Kathie. In looking back though, she doesn't have any regrets. "I loved working at Rhema," she says. But if she had stepped out into ministry more slowly, "I don't know if I would have accomplished everything I've done."
While in the alumni office, Kathie headed up the ministerial opportunities program, so she knew many pastors across the U.S. Doors to teach in those churches opened up right away. Calling on pastors who didn't know her was a little different.
In the late '80s, pastors were hesitant to open their pulpits to women. But many of these pastors would let Kathie speak at ladies meetings in their churches. The meetings went so well that she was often asked to come back and minister to the entire
IT'S NOT UNCOMMON FOR HER TO DRIVE ALL DAY JUST TO SEE HOW A COUPLE IS DOING AND OFFER A WORK OF ENCOURAGEMENT
A Love for Rhema's Alumni
Rhema students often have an idealistic view of what ministry will be like. Once they graduate, however, they find ministry to be a lot different from what they thought.
Some grads have to work full time to support themselves while pastoring. Others minister year after year to a handful of people and don't understand why their church isn't growing. Some have battled life-threatening diseases while simultaneously pouring themselves into their congregation. It's easy for couples who are pastoring to feel alone in ministry, especially since they can't share their frustrations with their church members.
Kathie has always had a heart for Rhema's alumni. Once she began traveling, she immediately saw she could continue ministering to the grads. It's not uncommon for her to drive all day just to see how a couple is doing and offer a word of encouragement.
Many times when Kathie arrives, she becomes the confidante the pastors and their wives pour out their hearts to. On more than one occasion, they have confessed their desire to quit! Ever sensitive to the Holy Spirit, Kathie sometimes just listens. Other times, she boldly tells them it's too soon to leave. Regardless of how the Holy Spirit leads, the results are the same. The pastors are encouraged and strengthened to complete the race God called them to.
Why? Why? Why?
Kathie often finds herself ministering to people who have gone through a situation similar to hers. When tragedy strikes, especially the death of a loved one, the first question most of us ask is why.
When Dave found out he had cancer, a lot of people throughout Tulsa immediately began praying for him. Many people were standing in faith with the Flemings for Dave's
"We'd go to sleep at night quoting faith and healing scriptures," says Kathie. "But nothing would change. I couldn't
After Dave's death, Kathie knew she needed to wait on the Lord to answer the questions that were swirling in her mind. She says, "Brother Hagin taught us, 'If the Lord wants you to know something, He'll let you know.' "
So Kathie waited. Although the answer to everybody's why is different, here is what the Lord showed Kathie: both she and her husband had become so busy that they did not have time to study the Word for themselves.
"We only picked up our Bibles to study for our services," says Kathie. "Dave was working full time; I was working full time. We had three children living at home. The Lord showed me that we spoke the Word, but it wasn't in our hearts.
"Today, this is a big message I have when ministering. You have to spend time with the Lord every day for personal study and prayer. It has to be a priority in your life. We spoke the Word and spoke the Word but nothing happened. The answer to my why was that the Word wasn't in our hearts."
And with Dave so focused on the cares of ministry, when he caught a glimpse of a glorious eternity, it was easy for him to let go of this life.
A Day of Miracles
Throughout Kathie's ministry, she has always made room for the Holy Spirit to move. She commonly operates in the gifts of the Spirit and has seen many healed of various diseases.
During Winter Bible Seminar 2013, Kenneth W. Hagin prophesied that healings, miracles, and demonstrations of the Spirit will flow like rivers of water in the last days. Kathie grabbed hold of that Word and now senses a stronger healing anointing
While ministering in Canada, she prayed for an 85-year-old woman in a wheelchair. Kathie encouraged the woman to act on her faith and do something she couldn't do before. Kathie then helped her to stand up. The woman began to walk and a little bit later started to dance. That night, she also got filled with the Holy Ghost!
This woman's healing set off a series of healings in the service. The woman sitting next to her had a leg grow out. Then a lady who watched the leg grow out had her back healed!
In another meeting in New York, the entire church was slain in the Spirit. The peace of God filled the sanctuary and absolutely no one got up or moved. Everyone lay on the floor for an hour! These are only a few of the wonderful things the Holy Spirit is doing in Kathie's ministry.
No one expects a marriage to be cut short by the early death of a spouse. When this happened to Kathie, the foundation she received from Rhema enabled her to rise up from tragedy and follow God in ways she never dreamed. She's done things she never expected to do and gone places she never expected to go. Kathie's life offers hope that no matter what calamity strikes, all of us can rise above adversity and be mightily used in the Kingdom of God
TO LEARN MORE about Kathie Fleming, go to Flemingministries.org