BY JACLYN ROSE –
Over thirty three years ago, Kyong Weathersby was employed by the U.S. Government in her hometown of Seoul, South Korea. It was there that she met her husband, Larry, a soldier. “Larry’s mom told me he was upset when he found out he had to go to South Korea, but we met there. God takes what you think is the worst and makes it turn out to be the best,” Weathersby explained. The couple married and Weathersby moved to the United States in 1982, where Larry finished his military career, retiring after 30 years. “A happy marriage does not happen overnight. It takes lots of patience and a good listening ear. Respect for each other is also very important. We also receive lots of counseling from the Bible, it always works. When you make a mistake you forgive and kiss and make up.” stated Weathersby.
The couple, who have one daughter, Christina and one grandson, Malaki, made their home in San Antonio, Texas for many years. During this time they began attending a Seventh Day Adventist Church and decided if they were going to be serious about their Christian faith, they needed to follow the Biblical teachings on diet. “We based our diet off of the diet God gave Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:29, and began eating a specific plant based diet for a year,” said Weathersby. During that year a miracle happened, Larry, who suffered from obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar, lost 85 lbs, and found he had lower cholesterol, as well as, lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Kyong who suffered from many allergies, stomach ulcers, low blood pressure and anemia, found her aliments completely healed as well. “I said, oh praise God! Many people are sick because they do not know Your diet, please Lord use me! When God does something for you, you want to do something for Him. He told me to teach people how to cook healthy but I said, I can’t because of the language barrier. After a year of Him telling me, I began teaching a small group of six people,” explained Weathersby. Since her journey began in 2000, Weathersby has written seven vegan/vegetarian cook books, taught many cooking schools and appeared numerous times on cooking shows on Christian TV.
In 2003 upon Larry’s retirement from the U.S. Army, the couple wanted to find a new home. They had four stipulations: there had to be mountains, it needed to be a secluded area, they had to be able to live comfortably financially, and they wanted a mild climate. They began searching different parts of the Midwest and randomly met someone from Mena, Arkansas. “My ears perked up when she said there were mountains so we took a week to come and visit. We looked at probably 15 houses and none of them worked. We finally decided God did not want us in Mena. The last day we went to look at one more house on a hill, that was secluded with lots of trees. We were so excited and we knew we would move to Mena,” Weathersby explained with a smile.
After the move, Weathersby discovered there were many needy people in Polk County. They prayed and felt the Lord calling them to start a soup kitchen. Though she had no previous knowledge about them, Weathersby did a lot of research and along with her church, Mena Seventh Day Adventist, began a Vegetarian Soup Kitchen on July 17, 2012. They now feed 150-200 people every week and donate food to 70-100 families weekly from their food pantry. “Anyone is welcome to come. It is so rewarding to be able to help the community. The soup kitchen and food pantry are ran by donations and a small allowance by our church. It is hard financially, but God supplies all our needs to help up feed the needy,” said Weathersby.
The Mena Seventh Day Adventist Church and Weathersby will also be hosting a cooking school on March 30 from 2-4 pm. The class is free but space is limited so pre registration is required, by calling 479.243.9216.