Local baker turns to mission work


“Not to be served, but to serve.” Matthew 20:28

Kitty Vacha may be best known in Seward as the cake lady with the hearse that read “cake to die for.”

God has changed the recipe for her life, however, and Vacha said she’s never been happier.

In 2022, she went on a mission trip to Austria with ReachGlobal Crisis Response, a mission group through the Evangelical Free Church. There, Vacha served at a Christian English camp.

“I loved it,” she said. “Kids go to the English camp to learn English.”

At the time, the war in Ukraine had just begun. Vacha got to work with Ukrainian orphans, refugees from the conflict. She was a cabin counselor.

“After 2022, I felt called,” she said.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Vacha wanted to return in Innsbruck, Austria, but she needed to wait. At the time, her mom and son were dealing with some health issues.

“I was hearing ‘be still’ for a couple years,” Vacha said.

But she wasn’t.

She spent time in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 2022 following two hurricanes and a massive rain storm, and that solidified her desire to do mission work.

She returned to the camp in Austria in 2023 and reconnected with some of the same kids, she said.

In April of 2023, Vacha’s mom moved into Kinship Pointe. Vacha resigned from her Seward Public Schools bus driver position following her own health scare in October.

“I thought I’d had a stroke,” she said. “It was a new symptom for a migraine.”

The issues ended up being a cluster migraine that left Vacha at home and in the dark for three weeks.

“During that time, I was able to pray and read my Bible,” she said. “God was forcing me to be still.”

In November, she went with a team from Hillcrest Evangelical Free Church to Kentucky to work in an area devastated by flooding in 2022.

“I fell in love with the holler,” Vacha said.

The people there, mainly coal miners and their families, are kind, loving and generous, but they’re beaten down, she said. The area is in Appalachia and is one of the most underserved in that region.

Vacha knew God was calling her to missions. She was hired as adjunct staff with ReachGlobal but is currently working to become full-time Relationship Level 5 staff.

The process to become full staff includes answering 10 theological questions, taking a perspectives course, writing a paper and attending training in Minnesota. All told, it will take about a year.

Because she is adjunct or part-time now, Vacha is able to do most of that work from the field in Kentucky.

ReachGlobal’s focus covers five counties in Kentucky.

“We’re the hands and feet of Jesus,” Vacha said. “We come in for the long haul. We may not be the first in, but we’re the last out.”

The team rebuilds homes and whatever else the residents need. Many still live in trailers that were flooded after making them habitable following the storms. They’re working on rebuilding the Carrie Community Center that will be a gathering place for two counties.

“The people in the holler are basically on their own,” Vacha said, adding that they’re about 20 minutes from Hazard.

She said the people are still processing the trauma of the floods and storms. They’re also dealing with black lung from the mines and Covid-19.

“Survival is normal every day,” she said.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not uncommon, she said. Because the flood came so fast in the middle of the night, people didn’t have time to prepare.

She told of one family that was playing cards when their house broke loose from its foundation and floated away. It was 17 hours before they were rescued, all from different places.

After the floods, another family had six people living in a tiny trailer.

“These are generational properties,” Vacha said. “A lot have cemeteries next to them.”

Vacha is working on a baking ministry, using the gifts God has given her. She has her baking equipment in a church kitchen in Kentucky.

“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22

“God has led. He’s worked on me. He called me to the holler. He’s working in me to be part of the community,” she said.

Part of that was her garage sale, she said.

“God laid on my heart to be obedient,” she said.

Luke 18:22 kept rolling through her mind – sell everything and follow Him. So Vacha decided on a yard sale.

“I felt compelled to sell and follow,” she said. “That was huge.”

She said the fun part was sorting out her baking gear. She said she wants the pans to be an encouragement to those who bought them.

“I knew the money I hoped to get for a down payment on an RV,” she said. “God doubled it.”

In Kentucky, she started looking for a trailer. She had a list of needs and wants.

“God met them all,” she said.

Not only that, the trailer she found had a fireplace.

“That was God flexing, God showing off,” Vacha said with a grin.

She was back in Nebraska last week to buy a truck to pull the trailer.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Vacha is looking forward to settling back in the holler. She has a group of three to four women coming to her trailer for coffee. She’s excited to get to know them, learn their stories and find how she can serve them.

As she has grown closer to God, she said, she has seen Him work in other ways. Vacha has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and has been disabled since 1995. She went through the Breaking Bondage program three years ago and that alleviated 95% of her symptoms. A Healthy Boundaries course turned her life 180 degrees, she said.

“I let Him do what was needed,” she said.

She said she didn’t know God before that and prayed for a whole year for Him to make Himself real to her.

“I spent 50 years serving me and five years getting right with God,” Vacha said. “Now Jesus is my BFF. My face hurts from smiling.”

She said her deeper relationship with God has brought more joy to her heart than she thought was possible.

“The outcome doesn’t depend on me. Everything is from God,” she said.

Those interested can follow Vacha’s journey on Facebook at Miss Kitty Shares.