I can’t believe that it has already been one year since trip number three to Kenya. A lot has happened in my life since then and these things have kept me from sitting down to share with you. Adversity always seems to strike when one wants to make a difference in the world. I will do what my students in Kenya do…I will not let adversity get the best of me and I will press on.

Two weeks in Kenya was not enough for me, so trip number three involved a one month stay. During my stay, I was able to work on the relationships that I had established with some of the students on my previous visits. This time was very special to me and I looked forward to each and every visit with them.

Trip number three also involved a retreat for the college students, which was held off site from the orphanage. This definitely had its challenges, but it was worth the effort and the students really enjoyed it. We played games, danced, and had good open discussions about life and relationships.

After the college retreat we headed back to the orphanage for the sports camp for the high school aged kids. This was fun, as always, but had its share of challenges as well. The students are great and they don’t let a little rain put a damper on anything. We played games, danced, sang, broke out into small groups and shared and talked about making good decisions.

Reflecting back on everything helps to put life into perspective. Although my life has been challenging, to say the least, I still have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for the relationships that I have formed clear across the other side of the world. These students make me want to be a better person. They are so thankful for the opportunity to have someone believe in them and come alongside them to pay for their education. They do not take this opportunity for granted!

These students have overcome so much in their young lives. They have been abandoned, rejected, and many of them abused. Yet somehow they find a way to dig down deep and persevere. Not only persevere, but they do it with such grace. I am proud to know them and I am thankful to all of you who donate to this worthy cause. We all have a purpose in life and those of us who are in a position to make a positive influence in this life, should.

To my students, I say, “I am so proud of you and so proud to know you. I believe in you and I know that you will take this opportunity and make a better life for yourself and for your future families. Don’t stop believing in yourself because you have people in your life that you have never met, that believe in you.”

To my donors, I say, “Thank you for making a difference in the life of a young man or woman. Thank you for believing in them enough to invest in them…in their future. You are showing them by your actions that there really are kind, caring people in the world.”