Sympathy is a natural gift God has implanted in the DNA of humanity. We see a need and something abstract, but frighteningly powerful, pulls at our heartstrings. These needs which resonate in each person’s heart often differ—for one it may be the elderly and another the homeless. For Katie Arnold, her calling centers on children.

As a kindergarten teacher, Katie is naturally drawn to work with youth. In the Walnut Hill neighborhood, she saw a need for the incoming refugee children to experience the love of Jesus and have opportunities to further their English and education. Moved by her God-given sympathy, Katie began praying and out-reaching in the Walnut Hill area by starting up a Saturday afternoon game-time in a local outdoor parking lot.

This ministry, started in uncertainty but faith, expanded into a neighborhood summer VBS! But when the weather got colder, Katie realized that continuing to meet would demand some designated space inside. That’s when Embrace the Nations (Luke and Yami Manna’s organization) stepped in and offered a rented-out apartment in a nearby building. God’s timing and provision are amazing!!!

Since that summer, nearly five years ago, this ministry has grown into a year-round outreach with season/holiday events, a bi-weekly Bible study, and a summer soccer ministry. All of these outreaches were started because Katie Arnold chose to intentionally embrace her God-given passion for children in love. Similarly, God has called each of us out of our realms of comfort and into specific ministries. Sympathy and calling are Spirit-given, but empathy and action are obedience to the Spirit (James 2:14-16).

For Katie, her calling was to children and as she followed that passion in obedient action, her heart for refugee children has resultantly increased. Katie no longer sympathizes with the refugee mother who cannot afford to buy coats for her entire transplanted family. Katie knows those children personally. In ministry, she has moved from a place of sympathy to empathy. What a burden and joy at the same time! May God similarly stir, grow and continue to grow Spirit-filled obedience in each of our hearts and lives. If any of you would like to follow up with Katie personally, please reach out to her at Her ministry is a wonderful opportunity God has given us to engage in the lives of our beloved neighbors who need Him. 

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