Patty started doing mission work over twenty years ago with Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International. This was the place and circumstance where she felt like she was doing what she had been created to do. When she and Ken met, she encouraged him to travel on these mission trips with her. He did this for several years. Ken and Patty eventually became the lead medical people who obtained supplies and basically oversaw the clinics when the teams were in Honduras. After one of these trips, Ken felt overwhelmingly that this was not what God had intended for him to do. He believed that they made a short-term interruption, but never a lasting impact on these communities of desperate poverty.
Ken and Patty discussed this at length. Ken, convicted that something had to change, and Patty, comfortable and happy with her once a year trip, prayed for God’s guidance in how He wanted them to continue. Very quickly, after these prayers began, a woman came into their clinic as a patient. As Patty was getting her chief complaint and vitals, she asked the lady where she came from. She had a very unique accent. The lady responded, “Kenya.” Patty immediately knew that God was working. She had always thought from the age of 12 that God had told her that she would work in Kenya as a missionary. She told the lady just that. The lady looked at her strangely and said, “I just spoke with my minister last week about holding a medical camp in Kenya, but we need a doctor.” Patty was quick to respond, “I have a doctor, you just have to let me go.” From that encounter, Patty and Ken traveled to Kenya with that lady’s church and held two medical camps. They became friends with a pastor in Kenya and made a promise to return when he had graduated seminary. They promised to hold a medical camp at his church. They tried in every way to get a team and travel with a group as they were accustomed. But God shut every door.
The promise weighed upon their consciences and they decided to travel to Kenya alone to visit this pastor and his congregation. During this trip, they saw Kenya and Kenyan life in a very different light from what they had seen in brief encounters in a medical camp. Their hearts felt burdened for the poverty and the need…especially for the children. Driving home from the airport upon their return, they came to a location where they could see their home, Patty felt almost sick. She told Ken that she couldn’t continue to live the life that they lived in the United States, knowing that these people were struggling to merely survive. That began the journey and the dream of opening an orphanage.
Six years later, the mission owns 4 acres of land and has constructed an all-purpose building and two dormitories that were intended to become the orphanage they had envisioned. Through partnership with Water Missions International, a borehole was dug and clean drinking water is now available to the village of Withare in Laikipia County. During the time it took for this to be accomplished, Kenya had stopped registering orphanages. God orchestrated a meeting between Ken and Patty and another couple who serve as missionaries in Kenya. They have a non-profit called Project Kenya, International. As they discussed issues they all face as they serve in Kenya, Project Kenya, International introduced the idea of a home for unwed mothers. This would be a place where young girls who have given birth before completing their education would go with their babies and finish their education so that they can support their family. At the same time, the home would be a rescue center for girls who are in boarding school but have no safe environment in which to live when school is not in session. After prayer and discussion, all agreed that this was a good way to use the buildings and make a difference in the lives of these young women and their children.….And so the journey continues, Lord willing.