I love to hear stories of positive influences! Love it, love it, love it…….I can remember talking to our daughter, Collins, about this topic when she was little. She asked me how people became famous….and my answer was long with examples, but I can remember distinguishing between people who are famous for the good they have done and people who are famous for the bad they have done. We have continued to talk about fame over the years….the positive effects of fame and the real downside.
I am not sure how famous I can make the person I am going to write about, but I am at least going to give her a “Shout Out”.
I have never met her, but I can tell you I would like to one day. Let me introduce you to Katie Landon Fitch. Katie was a Young Life leader who, once upon a time, was in Spartanburg, South Carolina, attending Converse College. She began mentoring a group of young sixth grade girls, one of whom was a young girl named Lanie.
She continued to stick with these girls through middle school and high school. Katie not only led a Bible study before school on Friday, but would call them to just check on them. She also attended and supported their extracurricular activities. Lanie, in 8th grade, gave her life to Christ at a summer camp where Katie was volunteering as a counselor. Even though Katie finished school, moved to Knoxville and married, Katie Fitch, continued to mentor, love and reach out to these girls…..she has not let go…these 12 girls were honorary bridesmaids at her wedding.
This summer I learned about Katie in a press conference held for the new Miss South Carolina, Lanie Hudson. Yes, Lanie was one of the twelve mentored girls. When Lanie was standing in front of TV cameras and multiple reporters, she was asked who was the most influential person in her life….her answer? Katie Landon Fitch, her Young Life leader and mentor.
I was surprised….you see, I have known Lanie’s wonderful parents, Alex and Sherrie, since college–over 25 years. I know what a close relationship they have with Lanie and what wonderful parents they are. Yet, Lanie gave testimony to Katie. I get it….Lanie’s parents were not hurt; they were happy. As a parent…I was blown away after talking with Lanie about Katie…….my desire is to meet Katie and interview her personally, which I plan on doing.
You see, Katie never looked to be recognized publicly for her investment….I admire her focus, her dedication, her love, and her time that she gave to these 12 girls and continues to do. Katie has lived out loud Matthew 4:19, “‘Come follow me,'” Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.'” Lanie gave continued testimony at the press conference of how she received continual texts and scripture from Katie during the week of the pageant, and how it nourished her soul. Wow, wow, wow!!!
Katie Fitch, years ago, had no idea she was investing in a girl who would one day represent the whole state of South Carolina on a national stage…such as Miss America. I thank Katie publicly for her commitment and love for Christ and for “her actions being so continual and so loud” that her words and influence were magnified in the lives of these 12 girls.
It really reminds me of Jesus with the 12 disciples….I don’t know the other 11 girls, but I can only imagine…..what God has in store for them through the obedience of someone like Katie who, at a young age, chose to be be selfless and invest her love for Jesus into the lives of others. In Lanie’s words,”The biggest thing she taught us was that yes, she loved us, our parents love us, and our family loves us, but that Jesus ALWAYS loves you more! ”
Now a big shout out to Katie Landon Fitch….Blessings to you for living WWJD!!!
A challenge to all of us….is this….who are we sticking with? praying for? sharing with? and encouraging?
Who in our paths needs what Katie has given to others? Katie gave and committed to 12. Her seeds for sure fell on the fertile ground of Lanie Hudson’s life!
Pray and ask God today…….who is in your path that you could influence for Christ?
Acts 20:24, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”