Kenyan Alumna Sees Ripple Effect of Defending Faith

SES Real Stories #11

Growing up in Kenya, Cathy was surrounded by Muslim neighbors. As a child, she and a friend went in circles one day about who Jesus is—Cathy said Jesus is God; her friend said He is not.

Cathy approached her mom. How could she explain to her friend that Jesus is Lord?

“My mom said, ‘Well, the Bible says so.’” Cathy left the conversation empty-handed.

Years later, her childhood friend shared that she was no longer Muslim, but maybe agnostic.

“I had nothing for her,” Cathy said. Cathy told her friend she would pray for God to guide her to truth, but looking back, she slaps her forehead. “I wish that conversation had happened after seminary.”

The friends have lost touch, but Cathy is now equipped for situations just like that. After earning her MBA, she moved on to seminary, receiving her masters in apologetics from SES, with a concentration in Islamic studies.

“I wanted to know how to give an intelligent defense of the Gospel,” she said, especially coming from the corporate world where “I kept bumping into this idea that the Bible is anti-women.”

When Cathy graduated from SES in 2009, she was one of two women in cap and gown—neither one from the U.S. And yet, there’s a great need for women in apologetics.

“Women have historically been the most influential in the home, in teaching children,” she said. Kids run to their moms, just like she did back in Kenya.

Whether they’re moms or not, women are typically more social, Cathy said, and have endless opportunities to share their faith at birthday parties, wedding showers, company get-togethers and sporting events.

“People think women are weepy and emotional,” she said. That’s where you get the abundance of “fluffy” women’s conferences that lack any heavy lifting, she said, as well as a rise in the“feelings-based” New Age movement that often appeals to women.

While there’s nothing wrong with women being emotional—just as God designed—they still have a responsibility to defend their faith.

Each time she goes to Kenya, she talks to family and friends about how to love and care for their Muslim neighbors. She’s taught others about Islam and how to reach Muslims for Christ.

Today, she works for a North Carolina-based nonprofit with many secular ministry partners. Her most common faith-related conversations revolve around stewardship and the problem of evil.

“We all need to have a reason and a defense for the hope that we have. Apologetics training is critical for every believer,” she said. “Gone are the days when people just believed. Now people question.”

Over the years, Cathy has mentored young women, teaching them to take a stand for their faith “respectfully but confidently.” She invests in one relationship at a time, sharing a Biblical worldview and shining light on truth.

“Each of these ladies, with time, moves out from my community and is planted in a new community whether by a job or because of family. I really believe the Lord is working out some multiplication effect that I cannot see. One lady at a time.”

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