In this letter I would like to share the story of a pastor’s impact that has encouraged the ministry in Brazil.
Leah grew up in Plainfield, Indiana where her father has been a pastor for nearly 40 years. Pastor Kevin Kottke and Deborah were saved by grace when a faithful Baptist minister counseled them saying, “I will not give a nickel on your marriage lasting if you don’t know Christ.” The Spirit used that confrontation which shortly thereafter led them to a saving knowledge of Christ and later enrollment in seminary. They have four children: Greta, Leah, Norah and Isaiah, who are all married and serving in the church.
Our relationship started when Pastor Kevin was preaching at a church my brother was attending in Ohio. Deborah went on this preaching trip and the gals got to talking about single brothers and daughters. I received a phone call and heard the following words: “Doug, we found your wife.” Providentially, I had just ruptured my ACL and was out for a season of basketball so I decided to go visit this young lady named Leah. My excitement upon arrival was crushed when my brother told me that Leah would not be coming to visit. I forced out an “okay.” I know God is sovereign but that was not what I wanted to hear. It turns out that my future father-in-law did not want his daughter to drive the three-hour trip. Pastor Kevin wanted his daughter to be pursued and not the other way around. After a phone call, however, he said it would be fine if I wanted to make the trip to Indiana to meet her. So, my brother and his family and my parents and I all filled up the minivan on that late August day and went to meet this inspiring young lady named Leah. Well, the visit was a success and we were married a few short months later in December and on our way to Brazil together.
That was the first lesson I learned from Pastor Kevin Kottke. Men must lead and take initiative and protect. Another lesson I learned from Pastor Kevin is the importance of the local church. He and Deborah have exclusively dedicated their lives to this local community for the past 40 years. The tiny brick building and the handful of people has turned into hundreds of Bible centered souls and into a beautiful facility. What gimmicks were used for all this growth? None! The church has been built on verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible every week. Space in this letter can not do justice to 40 years of ministry and the impact it has had on our lives and ministry.
We give thanks for Pastor Kottke’s many years of prayer, study, preaching and counseling. We are thankful for all the relational sweat and tears that have served as an example to so many. Thank you, Pastor, for teaching your daughter to “leave and cleave” even at great personal cost and for training your children for God’s service. We thank you for demonstrating a balanced view of the public and private ministry of the Word. Thank you for leading the church to be involved with Gospel mission around the world. Thank you for teaching us the important phrase, “finish strong.”
Please thank the Lord with us.
Soli Deo Gloria.
The Leaman family