July 12, 2019

Kinda Skea trusts God’s leading on her way to a Ph.D.

When it comes to life stories, Kinda Skea’s (Sayles ‘80) has more twists and turns than an Ozarks highway.

Kinda was saved at the age of six at First Baptist Church in Perry, Iowa, on Easter Sunday, 1964. The rest of her childhood and young adult years were filled with difficult times through the deaths of several family members, struggles with the occult, and thoughts of suicide.

After taking a college visit to Faith Baptist Bible College with a friend, she decided it was precisely the refuge she needed.

“During my visit, I experienced an atmosphere of love and acceptance, and knew Faith was where I belonged,” said Kinda.

While at Faith, Kinda ministered through a puppet program at Slater Baptist Church in Slater, Iowa, where she met her husband, Stephen Skea. They married in 1978, and their early years were besieged with difficulties: a miscarriage; the premature birth of their son, Matthew, who weighed just over three pounds and had to overcome enormous odds to survive; and the early childhood difficulties of their son, Andrew, who was diagnosed with a “failure to thrive” condition and was sent home to die before God performed a miracle with his health.

The Skeas decided to pursue ministry, but burned out after a pair of stops in Kansas, vowing to never return to the pastorate again. But God used a pastor by the name of William Weber in Ottawa, Kansas, to help change their hearts and minds over the course of the eight years they spent under his teaching.

“Slowly but surely, he worked with Steve, helping him recover from the scars he had experienced and helped him gain back his confidence in his calling,” said Kinda.

The time in Ottawa brought more twists and turns into their lives. They adopted their daughter, Cierra, an African-American girl who, “God used to teach us about a culture neither of us totally understood,” said Kinda. “Little did we know that God brought this wonderful child into our lives to prepare us for future ministries.”

Also, while in Ottawa, the Skeas discovered that a young man had been living in their garage, so they took him in as a foster child for four years. After battling alcohol and meth addictions, he left the Skeas, returned for a while, and then committed suicide shortly before his thirtieth birthday.

“Only aA person who has lost a child in this way can understand the grief and shame that comes from such a senseless act,” said Kinda.

Shortly after their adoption of Cierra, the Skeas were called to lead a small church of varying cultures and backgrounds in Lawrence, Kansas, to minister to a group of people that God had specifically prepared them for: people recovering from addictions and troubled pasts. The Skeas have remained in that ministry in Lawrence, Kansas, for nearly 30 years. Since the church cannot support a full-time pastor, Steve has continued to work full-time secular jobs to support their family.

When Cierra entered high school, Kinda’s life took more unexpected twists and turns as she decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business management. Following her instructors’ advice, she continued her education even further.

“After three years of catching up on history courses, I entered the Master’s program in British History at Kansas University,” said Kinda. As I suspected all those years ago, studying in a secular university was difficult. Many young people hide their faith, or at best, put it on hold.”

Kinda finished her degree in British History and qualified to take her Ph.D. at Kansas University, tuition-free, but was later denied that opportunity due to a departmental feud. Not wanting to give up her pursuit of a Ph.D., she made a connection with a man in Leicester, England “who was the top man in the field in Europe in this area,” according to Kinda’s contacts.

After contacting Dr. John Coffey, who agreed to take her on as a student, Kinda was at a true crossroads.

“I had an enormous decision to make,” said Kinda. “I went to a Bible conference and asked the folks to pray. Later, I went for a walk on the grounds and begged God to give me His decision in such a way that I could not deny His leading. I continued to pray as I rounded a curve in the path. Right there in front of me was an enormous cross with two smaller crosses beside it. It was as if God was telling me to follow Him as Christ did to the cross. I fell on my knees before that cross and gave into the path God wanted me to follow.”

Kinda spent the next three years traveling back and forth across the ocean to complete her dissertation, while her husband took care of her ailing father back home.  She received her degree in May of 2016, but not before her father had passed away.

Shortly after graduating with her Ph.D. from Leicester, Kinda began teaching history and some English and literature courses at Carver Baptist Bible College in Kansas City, Missouri. She also returned to Kansas University to tutor business, history, and composition courses.

“I appreciate all the prayers I can get for wisdom in all my positions—that of a pastor’s wife, a Bible college professor, and a tutor to young college students at a public university,” said Kinda.

As Kinda reflects on her life to this stage of her journey, she acknowledges that the path has never been easy, but that God has used every trial to help her and others. Just like the curve in the path she encountered while making a life-changing decision to pursue a degree overseas, she knows God is leading her every step of the way.