Friday, May 17, 2013

Meet Stephen Keenan

Stephen Keenan is a remarkable young man.  I have had the privilege of knowing Stephen since he was an adorable, chubby-cheeked toddler.  When Stephen was only nine years old, he served in Bosnia on a short-term trip through our church, led by my husband.  His heart for children and his compassion for the world was already visible at that time.  We have had the privilege of sending Stephen on other short-term trips around the world and have observed him serving the local community for many years by feeding the homeless alongside his grandfather, Ben, a deeply compassionate man who strongly impacted Stephen's life. Stephen's grandma, Roberta, has served with me in Guatemala and needless to say, the Keenan family has become part of our family.  It has truly been a joy to be part of their lives and to watch Stephen blossom into a godly leader, student, athlete and servant.

Stephen and his mom, Stephanie, have participated on our last three summer trips to El Salvador.  I have loved serving alongside both of them and their passions, gestures of love and personal sacrifices have impacted many lives in the beautiful country of El Salvador.  In the summers of 2011 and 2012 Stephen stayed for an extended period in El Salvador to serve alongside our ministry partners, Kurt and Susan Ackermann.  Stephen is a warm, easy going young man who gets along well with everyone and it's clear that he is deeply loved by the missionaries, translators and children he has served in El Salvador.

I was in no way surprised when Stephen began to consider moving to El Salvador after his high school graduation.  It has been an honor to walk on this journey of faith with Stephen and to see his excitement and passion for El Salvador grow.  I fully support his decision to live in El Salvador and am so excited to see how God uses his life for His glory.   Stephen will graduate from Brethren Christian High School in June. Way to go Stephen!  He will travel with our team on July 20 and we will return home with one less passenger (and one sad, but proud mom!) as he stays and serves for another 9-12 months.

The following is an excerpt from Stephen's support letter:

"After much consideration and prayer Stephen has decided to take a gap year and serve long-term in El Salvador! He will serve with the Ackermann family helping with their ministry, "Sus Hijos". We are so excited about the many different opportunities that he will have to serve while he’s there, from building houses to helping with short-term teams, teaching English to young boys in the orphanage and living in a transition home with boys that are learning to live non-institutionalized lives. As far back as I can remember, Stephen has always talked about wanting to be a missionary, and it’s a blessing to be able to see this come to fruition. We have expectant hearts as we wait to see how the Lord will use Stephen and his story in the coming year as he digs deep to live and breath what he’s always dreamed about" - Stephanie  

While most 18 year old American boys are concerned about the cars they are driving or purchasing the newest iPhone, Stephen is dreaming about El Salvador.  He has caught the vision to serve others, live radically and give his life away.  I have no doubt that his huge smile, broken Spanish and heart to serve the poorest country in Latin America will impact many lives for eternity.   Please join us in praying for Stephen as he boldly follows the Lord, departs from the normalcy of the "college path" and heads on the adventure of a lifetime.  He is currently raising $500/month to cover his living costs in El Salvador.  If you would like to help with a one time gift or with monthly support, please contact me.

Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey

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