Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features an interview with an amazing minister on this blog. Today, we are thrilled to interview Katrina Reaves. Katrina IS what a minister looks like!

Katrina, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.   

I am currently serving as one of the associate pastors of Palmetto Missionary Baptist Church and as the program director of Palmetto Kids in Conway, SC. While I was sitting comfortably as a preacher’s wife and founder of a nonprofit organization, the Lois Lewis Foundation of Recovery, God began to speak to me very intimately in the late hours of the night. I was awakened with songs of praise, scriptures, and a clear direction of study. Each night I was given a message and was unable to release myself from that call until it was completed to God’s standards. This was not my first encounter with God. God and I have had several fights before, but at this time in my life, I knew who the winner would be! It was not this little girl off the dirt roads of Horry County. I was raised up in two worlds: one stoops of Philadelphia (which I loved) and the other of dirt roads, bugs, big porches, growing and killing our own food, and church every Sunday.  This country life introduced me to God. My mother was determined that I knew who God was, and that I was God’s child. High Hill Missionary Baptist Church is part of my heritage. My grandparents donated the land, material, and skilled labor to build the church, so I was going to go every Sunday and go I did! I went to Sunday School, Junior Choir programs, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School unions, revivals, Youth Delegates, missions, and YWA meetings. The God I serve today was established firmly in my spirit even as I drifted away into adulthood and married my high school sweetheart and mothered five beautiful children. One morning I asked God to take me or tell me exactly what to do. At this time, we were fighting again. Gracious God did just what I asked. I was directed with very clear guidance on where to go, who to call, and to keep my mouth closed! I was admitted to a hospital where I remained for one year. Today, as I sit and write this letter about myself, it is a grand celebration of twenty-seven years of sobriety. God’s restoration is beyond anything a person reading this letter could have imagined. God restored me and my family. I did not leave the world without scars, but God knew what I was going to do with those healed scars. The birth of The Lois Lewis Foundation of Recovery, NC provided services for women who were homeless until I accepted God’s redirection. 

What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?

My greatest sources of joy in ministry have come from the development of relationships which only God could have orchestrated. God’s grace and mercy are new every morning, to say the least. The fellowship with Coastal Carolina University students affords me a lifetime of learning and teaching. The joy they bring to our Palmetto Kids Program lightens my heart each day. The students find creative ways to connect Palmetto Kids with the stories of their childhood. COVID-19 has been trying and sad for CCU volunteers, the parents of Palmetto Kids, and for me as well. I try and remember what I’ve learn and heard from those who have gone before me; “Keep putting into practice all you have learned and received from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?

Besides navigating COVID-19, the past few weeks have been very difficult. But the greatest challenges I have encountered in ministry have involved the look of grief. How am I to use my training as a chaplain during this time? I want to touch people physically when they are hurting and when people are transitioning into the kingdom. I want to sing and pray with and for people and for myself during these moments. How? There are no verbatims in the textbooks that I read to tell me what to do when someone is dying with or without COVID-19 during this time. This is my grand challenge.

What is the best ministry advice you have received? 

My best friend, who is 87 and lives in a nursing home, told me when we were able to visit with each other, “Trina, know that you don’t know nothing!” She also told me to preach! Even if I am the only person in the room, because that one person matters just as much as a hundred!