In August, Plymouth Covenant Church (PCC), a partner church of LFK in Minneapolis, traveled to Kenya on a mission trip to visit and serve Kenya. They went to serve and left changed. This is Mary Beth Kepler's story from her visit to Kenya, where she learned the power of telling her story to the orphans at Shangilia.
Taking my family around the world for a mission was something many people thought was crazy. I am so glad that I did. It was a wonderful, uplifting, and life changing experience. Visiting Kibera and Shangilia was a reminder for me how much my life had changed from where my core purpose or my center lies. It also taught me the value of telling my story.
In preparation for the trip we were challenged to work on our testimony and paired up to tell someone our story. My story ended with "oh by the way - I'm adopted". Needless to say - the response was "OH! You have to start with that!" Then I told my story again over breakfast with Pastor Francis and he said "Oh! It would be great to share that with the kids!" I explained that I wanted to but had struggled to figure out how to share. I was reminded about how powerful it is that I have a story similar to theirs. One big difference that I struggled with is that I was blessed with a christian family from before I was born. My birth mother first said she didn't want to keep me but wanted instead to find a good home. Well I was placed in a good home and went there directly when I was born. How would I tell a room full of children whose home was an orphanage when I can't see the hope for them to ever have a home? After a few days it came to me. I was figured out the most important part of my story and shared with the children.
I shared with them, and now with you, that I figured out we all have the same beginning. We were all made with a purpose and formed by God in our mother's womb. My parents told me my whole life that I was chosen, special and here for a purpose. My children have taught me the gift of going second - when you share something and connect with someone on this level, often it allows others to share with you.
That's exactly what happened. The kids began to tell me their stories and they were also empowered by knowing that they are going through these things for a reason and that God had a purpose for all that they have been through. I was able to tell them that although we are brought into this world and go through all types of struggles it makes us into who God meant for us to be.
God blessed me with a Christian family and he has blessed the children of Shangilia with a Christian family too. He gave each of us life and a story - we need to be bold to tell our story. Our story is a gift from God and he weaves us through life to share it with others. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to know the family at Shangilia and Kibera. My life is better for being crazy enough to go around the world to extend a helping hand.”