In this column, we discover more about our Baptist whānau, meeting someone in our team of 40,000 each post. This week we are getting to know Kathryn Heslop, Executive Advisor and managing Strategic Projects on the Baptist National Leadership Team.

What is something you think everyone should experience at least once in their life? 

Living overseas. We lived in the United Arab Emirates for 4.5 years. It was a profoundly moving experience on so many levels – physically (the climate), socially (the cultures), spiritually (a Muslim country), emotionally (taking it all in) and mentally (so much to learn). It impacted us deeply and across every dimension for the better. 

If you could be a pro at any one thing, what would it be?

I would love to be a pro-mum. My son wrote the most amazing thing at school that made my heart so happy. (I’m choosing to ignore the fact that the first thing that came to his mind was that I am tall like an elephant!) 

As a parent, there are so many times when we fail. So many times when we aren’t at our best. So many times when we do things we wish we hadn’t done or had done better. But I take comfort in this quote:  

\\\"When children think their parents are perfect, they believe they need to be perfect too.  

So, cry in front of them. 

Mess up and then apologise. 

Show them how you cope. 

Be open and honest with them and show them empathy and understanding when they come to you.  

That’s how we teach our kids not to waste time striving to live up to the world’s standards—because no one’s perfect.\\\"

Want to be a pro parent? Remember—good enough parenting is the best kind of parenting there is.  

What is a random interest that has completely nothing to do with your study or work?  

I love my house plants. If I can spend some time with my plants at the weekends, oohing and ahhing over them and commenting on \\\"my, how they’ve grown\\\", I feel refreshed. I can’t say I’m an expert – don’t ask me how many plants I have killed – but I sure do love them! 

What is the oddest fact you know? 

Did you know that you will get less wet if you walk in the rain rather than run? 

What is the most boring thing you’ve ever done? 

One summer, I got a job as a blueberry grader. I sat for hours on end in front of a conveyor belt, picking out rotten blueberries. And I didn’t speak the same language as my workmates, so I couldn’t even talk to anyone while doing it. 

What is your favourite way of connecting with God? 

Definitely in nature. Whether that be at the beach, a long walk or a hike. I love getting outside in beautiful scenery that displays God’s amazing power, taking it all in, and usually exercising in some way while doing it.  

Can you describe a significant moment when you experienced God’s love? 

My husband and I miscarried our first pregnancy. Before I knew I was pregnant, I sprayed the bathroom with strong chemicals. Then shortly after I found out I was pregnant, I went tumbling down the stairs at home. I thought I had broken my ankle. My midwife advised me to get an x-ray (it turned out to be torn ligaments). I couldn’t help thinking over and over again that the miscarriage was my fault. If only I hadn’t sprayed the bathroom with chemicals. If only I had been more careful not to trip and fall down the stairs. If only I hadn’t gotten that x-ray. If only I hadn’t…The sense that this was my fault, on top of the grief of losing a baby, was overwhelming. Then one day, shortly after miscarrying, I opened my bible and came across this verse: 

The Potter and the Clay 

This is the word the Lord spoke to Jeremiah: “Go down to the potter’s house. I will give you my message there.” So I went down to the potter’s house. I saw him working at the potter’s wheel. He was making a pot from clay but something went wrong with it. So the potter used that clay to make another pot. He used his hands to shape the pot the way that it was meant to be. 

(Jeremiah 18:1-4)

I strongly felt God’s presence with me at that moment. I felt him telling me that ‘something’ went wrong—it didn’t matter what it was, it was just ‘something’. I felt the burden of fault lift off my shoulders. And I felt God promise me that the potter (God) would use the clay (my body) to make another pot (a baby) the way that it was meant to be. Not only did I feel God’s presence and a deep sense of his love at that moment, but he gave me hope and ultimately fulfilled that promise to me. And in the years since, I have often reflected and held onto that verse. 

What is your favourite thing about the neighbourhood where you live? 

I love the sense of community we have in our village of Ellerslie. I love the school families—they are so friendly! I love that it is so multicultural. I love all the FB posts about lost cats (can cats get lost?). I love that we are in the central city with so much to do at our fingertips, yet we have a smaller community vibe in little ol’ Ellerslie. Oh, and I love that I live parallel and one street away from the Baptist National Leader. Thank the Lord he isn’t in the house directly behind ours! 

What do you love most about being Baptist? 

I love the amazing Baptist people I have been blessed to get to know over the years. I love the sense of belonging to something bigger than myself or even the church I go to. I believe the Baptist way of doing church is gold—I love that the gathered body of believers is encouraged to discern the mind of Christ together. We aren’t top down; we are bottom up—and I love that.  

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