Kathy A. Wampler understands the gift of growing up in a loving home headed by David and Frances Allen. Her father has pastored the same Pentecostal church in Louisiana for 47 years.
“The biggest blessing in my life has been the godly heritage my parents gave to me,” says Wampler, a 50-year-old Assemblies of God evangelist. “The message they preached in the pulpit they lived out in front of me at home.”
While recovering from a ruptured appendix at the age of 9, Kathy purchased a tape recorder and cassette tapes and recorded herself preaching — copying what she’d heard from her parents. The seeds of a calling from the Lord to preach had been planted.
As a child, Kathy strove to please her parents. In fact, she worried about pleasing everybody. However, her concern with living up to the expectations of others left her discontented.
“I felt insecure,” recalls the talkative Wampler. “I wasn’t tall enough, I wasn’t thin enough, I wasn’t smart enough. I had issues for years.”
As Wampler became an adult, she still somehow felt inadequate to carry out her calling. She says she fell prey to lies whispered by Satan that her moral upbringing disqualified her from being an effective minister. After all, she had no wonderful redemption testimony of being delivered from drug addiction or prostitution.
“We all have the same enemy and he tells us the same lie: we can’t be used by God,” Wampler says.
Nevertheless, at 19 Wampler entered full-time ministry with AG evangelist Dave Roever in Fort Worth, Texas. For the first time in her life, she could no longer ride her parents’ ministry coattails. She had dig into the Bible for herself. And her faith grew.
Kathy, who grew up singing at Oasis of Love Fellowship and performing at Fine Arts competitions, became a vocalist on the Roever Evangelistic Association worship team in 1991. Through the ministry, she met band drummer Dave Wampler, who studied percussion at North Central University, the AG school in Minneapolis. The couple wed in 1993, and Dave has produced and played drums on the three albums Kathy has recorded.
Wampler has her own Fort Worth-based nonprofit. The ministry began by filling a niche, conducting Abide Retreats for wives of military personnel and first responders. The 3½-day retreats, held at various locations including Roever’s Eagles Summit Ranch in Colorado, in an intimate setting with half a dozen participants. Roever’s organization helps Wampler cover a portion of the costs for attendees.
The Abide Retreats are based on John 15. Wampler teaches on the need for Christians to stay connected to Jesus rather than dwelling on disturbing situations, which can range from neglect to depression. Multiple women have told Wampler the retreat saved their marriage; some even their life.
Angela M. Walter of Colorado Springs says the retreat she attended 3½ years gave her hope in the midst of chaos. She felt consumed as the full-time caregiver of her bedridden husband, Daniel, who suffered major seizures due to traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Daniel is 100% disabled.
“The retreat was a reminder that God is with me and wants me to abide in Him,” says Walter, 40. “I felt the peace, joy, and love He brings outside of circumstances.”
Daniel’s health has improved slightly and the couple now is better able to lean on each other. Dark moods have lifted. Walter says she has learned how to maintain joy and practice patience.
“There are still struggles, but we have a different mindset,” Walter says.
Walter considers Wampler a friend. She says Wampler occasionally calls or texts her, offering encouraging scriptural truths and prayers.
“Kathy has been a saving grace in my life,” Walter says. “She’s helped keep my marriage together through frustration, disappointment, and anger.”
Mary-Ellen Correia attended a retreat in April and credits it with getting her right with the Lord. Her husband, Trevor, retired in 2011, and the couple subsequently longed for the vibrant church services they experienced when he served in the U.S. Air Force in Japan and England. Although they still attended church, Correia says she had drifted away from the Lord.
“The Abide Retreat got me back on track, sticking it out through tough times,” says Correia, 54. “I’m doing daily devotions again and involved in ministries again.”
The Correias both work at Fort Knox in Kentucky, an Army base where Trevor is an industrial hygienist and Mary-Ellen is housing manager. The couple, who attend Radcliff First Assembly, have since donated to Wampler’s ministry.
“We believe she can help other active-duty military families,” Correia says. “God uses Kathy to minister no matter where someone is in life.”
In addition to the Abide Retreats, Wampler is preaching and singing at Sunday church services and other women’s events. She continues her speaking affiliation with the Roever Evangelistic Association.
Even after all this time, Wampler still occasionally deals with thoughts that she isn’t good enough — or that someone else could do it better. But her doubts about whether the sermon really hit home or if the Bible study covered enough dissipate when she realizes God has gifted her with unique abilities that minister to those who need to hear them.
PHOTO: Kathy Wampler (front center) helps women at Abide Retreats.