For years, Kenna Werner had dreamed of going to Africa, but the realization of her dream didn’t really sink in until she stepped off the plane in Nairobi and was hit with a mixture of odd and unfamiliar smells, sounds, and languages. She came face to face with extreme poverty beyond what she had expected, yet her heart was overwhelmed to finally be there, loving the people she had loved for years but never even met.
The team’s original plans were hindered when the container carrying all of the orphanage’s furniture and equipment was held for ransom. After learning it had been opened, they had to pay to have it fumigated. Despite additional demands for money, the container eventually arrived at the orphanage where the team had spent their time cleaning and painting. Then, the government decided not to let the orphanage get children until sometime in March of next year.
However, God had different plans for Kenna and the rest of her team. They spent days walking for miles on the back roads of Africa with backpacks full of brand new clothes and shoes for the children they met. While sharing the love and message of Jesus, they played soccer, volleyball, and Frisbee. They also spent time at schools, visited a special needs orphanage, made hygiene kits for young girls, worked with the crops, and made baby kits to deliver to the hospital.
Along the way, Kenna learned a lot about love. She discovered that love knows no boundaries and is about investing time, being a servant, and showing interest in others’ lives while being flexible rather than comfortable. She identified with the broken, dirty, hungry, and lonely children because that’s how she saw herself without Christ’s love embracing her and wiping the dirt from her face.
On her blog, Kenna shared an entry from her journal: “Everybody tells me that I’m helping change the hearts of these kids, but really, they’re changing me.” She starts college this fall but plans to return to Kenya as soon as possible, hopefully teaching there someday.
You can read more at www.kennasjourneytokenya.blogspot.com.