At TWR Canada, we are blessed to have staff who have worked here for many years and, in some cases, decades. I want to honour those of our staff who have milestone anniversaries this year. Over the coming months, we’ll focus on four staff with milestones of 10 or more years of service. In some cases, these staff members have written their own story; in others, we’ve interviewed them. It’s my hope that you will be encouraged as you read their stories and see their hearts for the work and ministry they are each involved in.
Kathy Duplessis began working as TWR Canada’s bookkeeper in 2009, just before I came back to Canada as President. It is hard to believe that it was 10 years ago! We sat down with Kathy and asked her to share about herself.
Ray: What does life outside of your work at TWR Canada look like?
Kathy: I’m married to Stephen, and we have five adult children. I’m also a grandma to four, almost five, granddaughters (number five is due in June). We attend West Park Baptist Church in the winter. In the summer, we spend our weekends at our family cottage, so we attend Blenheim Baptist Church. I also run a small rhythmic gymnastics business and teach four nights a week. What I love about this is that I can be a witness to people who would never hear the gospel any other way!
Ray: Tell us about your journey to faith in Jesus.
Kathy: I went to church as a kid but don’t ever remember hearing a salvation message. It was more of a country community gathering place than a church. My father was abusive, which resulted in me making some really bad choices in my life. I took my first drink when I was 15 and spent the next 17 years trying to kill the emotional pain that was inside of me. I had some bad relationships along the way; again, I was trying to fill that void in my heart. My parents split when I was in my early twenties, and I ended up in the middle of their battle. I chose to head out west to escape the situation. While there, my mom moved back to the states. After six years in Calgary, I moved to California where my mom had settled. There I experienced a failed abusive marriage, a bankruptcy, the start of another relationship and then an unexpected pregnancy with twins!
I had been raised to be self-sufficient and independent but found myself in a situation that I could not fix. Once again, I left town and moved to Mexico with my now husband and the father of my children. His parents had semi-retired there, and I looked forward to the relief of not having any phones where creditors could call me. But the Lord was working his mighty plan. Stephen’s parents had become Christians and were praying for us. Stephen’s job didn’t work out; we had no money; the rent was due, and I didn’t even know what I would make for dinner that night as our fridge was empty. I threw up my hands and dared God to show me that he was real. His answer was a true miracle.
At 10:30 that night, a woman came to our door and said that the Lord had told her to come and offer Stephen a job. The next day, some vacationers were flying back home. They stopped by our apartment and gave us all the food that they had left over. Then that afternoon, an older couple who loved to fish stopped by to offer us their catch that day – a 40-pound tuna. God proved to me that he was real, and one week later I was on my knees asking Jesus Christ to be my Saviour. The weight of sin and shame was lifted that day, and I was clean for the first time in my life. I knew I was forgiven and loved by a Heavenly Father. He had to take me to a point in my life where I had nothing and couldn’t do anything about it except to call out to him.
A year later we moved back to Canada. I never took another drink of alcohol again. Over time and with the help of good therapists, I was able to work through my past and heal completely. God gave me the grace to forgive my father for what he had done. God then gave me a ministry at my church for seven years helping others who were in similar situations.
Ray: Is there a Bible verse that stands out to you or has shaped you in your lifetime?
Kathy: Yes! My life verse is 1 Corinthians 1: 3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (ESV)
Ray: How did you come to work at TWR Canada?
Kathy: I was attending West London Alliance Church and was involved in Bible quizzing. I was also in a wonderful Bible study. One of the women in my Bible study was the bookkeeper for TWR Canada at that time, but she was moving to Toronto. She told me that I needed to take this job, that I’d love it. At the same time, another job in another para-church organization offered me a very similar job. The second job was right next door to where I live so I thought that was God’s way of sending me there. After nearly eight months, I realized I had made an error in judgement.
At a Bible quiz meet at West London Alliance Church, Gerald Hayes, who was the President of TWR Canada at the time, asked me how the job was working out. He told me that my job at TWR was still open and waiting for me if I wanted it. It has been such a blessing for me.
Ray: What do you find most impactful as you serve with TWR Canada?
Kathy: I love the banquets that we do every year here in London. They are great, and it’s so encouraging to have a recap of the ministry. Because my role doesn’t involve a lot of the day-to-day ministry, these banquets give me an opportunity to hear the exciting things happening, from the people on the field.
Ray: Is there anything else you’d like to communicate to our readers?
Kathy: I am totally humbled by the fact that people pray for us every day. It is such an example of faithfulness to me. I’m also very thankful for the generosity of our donors and the provision of God for the finances that he’s given us as an organization.
We hope you are encouraged by Kathy’s story of ministry here at TWR Canada. Watch for more milestone stories and reflections over the coming months!