Karen Peck Gooch
Karen Peck-Gooch is one of the sweetest women I’ve ever been privileged to interview. Even though she was only a couple hours away from doing the closing concert at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville she was incredibly laid back and amazingly gracious.
Mercy Hope: How many days a year are you out on the road ministering?
Karen Peck Gooch: We travel about 180 days a year. My husband travels with us and manages the group. My son Matthew and daughter Carrie go with us as well as my sister Susan and her husband David (who runs the product table) and their son Joseph. So all three children are along with us and they travel very well.
Mercy Hope: And you homeschool your children?
Karen Peck Gooch: Yes, I do. I started when my son was in second grade. Some days are wonderful and others very trying, but for the most part it’s going very well. Homeschooling is very rewarding. It is also the greatest challenge of my life. But it’s a wonderful challenge. I love to sing and the Lord has called me to do this but first and foremost my calling is to be a wife and mother. And I am so blessed to have my husband and children travel with me.
Mercy Hope: What is it that you most want to impart to your children through this training process?
Karen Peck Gooch: To grow up loving God. To let God be in the center on everything in their lives. To always try their very best to do what’s right. In a world that seeks worldly pleasures I want my children to seek Godly things, and live Godly lives. And that’s one thing I love about homeschooling, I monitor what they’re learning. I really believe the verse in Proverbs that says to train up a child in the way in which they should go and when they are old they will not depart. My husband and I are trying to train our children to know the Lord and trust Him. We’ve prayed that our children would be saved at a young age. Our son Matthew was saved when he was six years old and by five years old Carrie was starting to talk about the Lord and began to ask questions and be inquisitive. So I just thank the Lord for Homeschooling.
Mercy Hope: Amen. Okay, switching gears here – back in the early days, what led you to begin in music ministry?
Karen Peck Gooch: I grew up singing gospel music in church and my mom used to stand me up in a chair in church when I was three years old and I would just sing. I always loved to sing. I took classical piano for eleven years so I was very involved in piano and music. My sister Susan and I used to sing in a girl’s trio when I was in the fifth grade and she was in the eighth grade with our neighbor who was in the seventh grade. We used to travel around close to home and we sang in the girl’s trio for years. Then when I was going into my senior year of high school I joined my first quartet, because all the other girls were older than me and pursuing other interests. It was a part-time group who also sang around home and that’s where I actually first met the Nelon’s, was opening for them.
Mercy Hope: When Karen Peck and New River goes out to do a concert what is it that you want people to come away with?
Karen Peck Gooch: We have several goals for New River, but I will say this, first and foremost, we pray that the Christians will be uplifted and that the lost will be saved.
Mercy Hope: There are so many people out there who are hurting and just desperate for hope. Offstage, do you have a time for one-on-one interacting with the people that come out to see you?
Karen Peck Gooch: Yes. I believe that my calling is not just when I’m on the platform of a church, or on a stage of an auditorium singing. I know that God has called me to sing, but my calling is also ministering to people one-on-one and praying with people. When we’re at our table we always get people to ask for prayer, and a lot of times if we feel led we’ll just pray with them right there. And when I tell someone that I’ll pray for them, I mean that. Sometimes I think we have a habit of saying, ‘Well, I’ll be praying for you’ but I try to take that very seriously when I say that and sometimes if I don’t pray with them right there, then when I go to bed that night I’ll say, ‘Lord, if I’ve left anyone out, you know their hearts and know who they were’ and I just always try to pray and do what I say. I just want to be a servant of the Lord, and do the best I can. And you know, sometimes people are having a tough time and they just need a smile, or a hug, they just need an encouraging word or a handshake, so I always try to be sensitive to that and try to bring encouragement and happiness and bring a smile to their face.
Mercy Hope: Could you share one of your favorite stories of something that’s happened while you’ve been out on your recent tour?
Karen Peck Gooch: There was a lady that came to us Sunday night, and brought a very special friend. This lady discovered nine years ago that she had cancer of the brain and they were not able to get all of the cancer and they gave her three to six months to live – that was nine years ago. She decided that she was going to try to get her mind off herself and get busy thinking of other people. So there just happened to be a lady who came along that was having a difficult time breathing and has to wear oxygen, and also has severe back problems. She’d lost her husband, her child’s in a lot of trouble, and this lady has no one, but this friend – the lady with the cancer. She started being friends with this other lady and takes her everywhere. Last Sunday night, the lady with the breathing problems was in the hospital, but the lady with the cancer went and got her out of the hospital and brought her to the convention so they’re here at the convention tonight. I thought that was the most inspiring story. They love the song “Four Days Late,” that was the song that helped them get through the trying times, both of them as friends pulling together and being sisters in the Lord and just holding on to the fact that the Lord is not late in their lives, but that the Lord is on time and He cares for them.
Mercy Hope: “Four Days Late” is a powerful song. Talk a little about it.
Karen Peck Gooch: It was voted Song of the Year last year. And it has been a tremendous blessing to us. It has opened a lot of doors over the past year for New River. And allowed us to go to places that we had not been before and we’re just very thankful to the Lord for that.
Mercy Hope: How about your song “Now That You Know.”
Karen Peck Gooch: “Now That You Know” talks about heaven. Susan, who sings with New River, is my sister and our dad passed away in 1993 when he was 59 years old. And this song talks about heaven and how our loved ones are walking the streets of gold and seeing Jesus face to face and they would never want to come back to earth. We that are saved and know Christ will see Christ, we’ll be in heaven with the Lord and we’ll see those loved ones again. Even though they can’t come to us, we can go to them. It’s a very special song.
Mercy Hope: Karen with all that you’ve got going how do you stay balanced? Can you give some advice?
Karen Peck Gooch: As women we juggle so many things, we wear so many hats, we’re wives, we’re mothers, we have to clean the house, we have to do the errands and there’s a lot of things that we have to do and we go through so many emotions. Like right now I’m 42 years old and I’m headed toward middle age and going through a lot of changes physically and I think we have to be aware of what phase of life we’re in and understand that it’s not that ‘my husband is getting on my nerves’ or ‘my children are getting on my nerves.’ If we’re feeling that way there’s a reason for it. We need to recognize it for what it is before we let it blow up and completely become something that it really doesn’t have to be. Constantly remember that first off, we are God’s child, and He loves us and we have to get up everyday and pray, ‘Lord, help me through this day.’ And when we lay our heads on that pillow at that night, we thank the Lord for that day and ask for help us get up the next day and do the same thing. Pray daily that the Lord will help us through these times, and through the physically changes and the hormonal changes or whatever we’re going through in life.
I get letters from women that are just so bored with their lives and we all get bored at times, we all get stressed, there’s not enough hours in our day, but thank the Lord, we have Him as our strength and He will help us through whatever situations we have, we just have to trust Him. He is our strength. We can’t always be “Super moms,” and sometimes I think we set so many expectations on our own lives and then when we can’t get it all done, we feel like failures. But we’re not failures, because we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us. He’s our source and He’s our strength. And when we’re living our lives the best way we know how and yet we can’t get everything done one particular day, that’s okay because we did the best we could do and that’s all we can do. Just put it in God’s hands and let the Lord work it out.
Mercy Hope: In closing, how can our readers be praying for you? How can we hold you and your family up in prayer as you’re out there on the road 180 days?
Karen Peck Gooch: Just pray that we will always strive to do the will of the Lord. That everywhere we go that the Lord will protect us, keep us all safe and pour His Spirit out on us. And that He will use us the very best that we can be used.
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