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Kim Kardashian's Malibu Nanny

Pam Behan opens up about keeping the faith in Malibu's material world

Kim's recent foray into motherhood has the Kardashian family in the limelight once again. The family stars in E! Network's show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," which has drawn over 4 million viewers at its height. The family has become famous for their loud, dynamic personalities, various entrepreneurial endeavors, and involvement with socialites and Hollywood A-listers.

The Kardashians don't display Christian faith publicly on the show, but TCW recently caught up with Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, and Robert's childhood nanny, Pam Behan, about the roles faith, prayer, and discipline played in the Kardashians' upbringing under her mentorship.

Because Kim just had her first baby with rapper Kanye West, TCW decided to catch up with the nanny who cared for, prayed for, and mentored Kim for five years in the late 90s to hear about the challenges of pursuing faith inside the walls of Southern California's beachfront mansions.

'Keeping up with the Kardashians'

When Pam began looking after the Kardashian kids, Kourtney was 11, Kim was 10, Khloe was 6, and Robert was nearly 4. Pam worked as their full-time live-in nanny, family cook, and as Kris' personal assistant, all while paying her way through school at Pepperdine on a half-scholarship. This made for a packed schedule, working from 5 a. m. until nearly midnight every weekday, and waitressing at a nearby restaurant on the weekends.

In the five years that Pam spent as the Kardashian nanny, she saw it all. From taking the girls out shopping for their favorite white baby tees (which became too small for wearing after just one round in the wash) to kicking Kourtney and her boyfriend out of her parents' bedroom during high school, Pam witnessed the all of the love, drama, and fashion that make the Kardashian family infamous.

Though the Kardashians were well-disciplined, faith, as far as she could tell, was not a part of their lives. Pam would pray with the kids before bed (and before meals when their parents were away), and the girls went to Catholic school, but other than one Easter vacation with family friends Steve and Candace Garvey, Pam never attended church with the family. The only other service Pam can recall the family attending during her many years with them was the memorial service for Nicole Brown Simpson.

Pam was also the one kicking Kourtney and Kim's friends out of the house at 2 a. m. from parties they liked to host when their parents were out of town. But Pam attests that they were a great set of kids. Though they liked to host parties, she characterizes these as less like "ragers," and more like "a small group of friends, rap music (playing loudly), snacks, and sodas."

She remembers Khloe's sweet spirit and love for animals, along with her self-appointed title as matchmaker (often creating a list of suitors that were far too old or much too young).

"Overall they were good girls," Pam says. "We never had any problems with drugs or alcohol. They didn't sneak out, and I didn't have any real disciplinary issues."

Reconciling faith with the Hollywood lifestyle

Pam was only 18 when she ventured out to the City of Angels. She had just finished her first year of college and wanted to experience the fast pace of city life. After hearing that Midwestern girls were in high-demand in L.A. as nannies (because of their reputations for being down-to-earth and reliable), Pam knew this was her ticket. The stereotype fit her perfectly. She had grown up in rural Minnesota (Norcross population: 123) where she had been the church organist since she was 13.

Pam was connected with the Jenner family (Bruce Jenner, who married Kris Kardashian in 1991) "practically by chance," and her summer nanny job turned into nearly eight years of work for both the Jenner and Kardashian families.

Pam tried to connect her two worlds by telling the kids about things like ice fishing and lutefisk and by sharing stories about her small-town upbringing. Reconciling these two ways of life was a constant struggle, especially when it came to Pam's faith.

Pam had grown up in the church, but when she moved to California, the excitement of the wealthy lifestyle swept her up. In the midst of her busy schedule as the Kardashians' student/nanny/chef/personal assistant/waitress, she lost track of her identity as a child of God.

"When you live in that environment, whether you realize it or not, it affects you," Pam says. "You just start picking up on some of their habits… after hanging out with them [where] clothes are everything, and driving their fancy cars, and obviously living in a very nice house … You can get caught up in all that."

Pam attempted to be transparent about her beliefs.

"I did try to talk to them and talk about the little church where I went growing up [and] played the organ. And the kids, they listened to me—especially Khloe and Robert—but it was definitely not a Christian home. There was never talk of God; they never prayed before meals."

Eventually, Pam did get caught up in the glamour of the Hollywood lifestyle. During her eight years in L.A., her faith was put on the backburner, and it took a rock-bottom experience to draw her back to Christ.

We are fishers of men

Looking back on her time with the Kardashians, Pam says, "I wish I would've said more. I wish I would've reached out to those people and encouraged them to go to church. I wish I would've said, 'Bruce, Kris, let's all go to church.'"

She encourages those surrounded by wealth and affluence to keep spreading the word. "It's our duty," Pam says. "We are fishers of men and women. Keep your faith. Keep it strong, and never give in to anything less."

She still thinks of the Kardashian family fondly, and every year on October 28, she and Bruce share a phone call to commemorate their shared birthday and to catch up on one another's lives. She shared with us, "Especially lately you hear a lot of derogatory or negative stuff about their family, but they are a very close-knit family. No matter what happens—what arguments or fights or problems—they do always seem to come back together, and that does amaze me. Even though I never saw them go to church, they may be faithful. I don't know for sure. I don't know what has changed since I've been there 17 years ago."

Pam's book Malibu Nanny follows the entire story, from her first day in L.A. to her worst moments of despair and her slow journey toward a life of freedom in Christ. For believers who want to be encouraged or for skeptics who don't see Christ's relevance to their lives, Pam's story speaks truth. When we asked Pam who she had in mind when she wrote this book, she said, "anybody who will hear my story of redemption."

Pam Behan is the co-author of Malibu Nanny. She recently began speaking with The Robinson Agency as an advocate for young girls to pursue chastity, avoid drinking and drugs, and learn to love and respect themselves.

Amber Stenberg is an editorial intern at Today's Christian Woman. Follow her on Twitter @stenberg_a.

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