By Carston Werner
I am Carsten Werner from Germany and I worked in Kenya as a missionary for nine years with my wife Silke. In 1998 we founded a charitable organization called “Seed of Hope” with the main objective to start children’s homes in Kenya for orphans and abandoned children.
The first home for 20 children was completed in 2000 around the same time that we received our status as an NGO. In the following years God was faithful and we added two more homes, a church, one primary and nursery school and a clinic. Now 70 children are living in the home and many more are assisted because of our care and education programs.
Silke and I went through many ups and downs. We have been blessed with two adopted daughters and a son. We have experienced God´s love and protection in many difficult situations and saw our vision fulfilled in a wonderful way.
But we also saw HIV-positive children dying in our homes. We were the target of robberies and persecution and often felt lonely, threatened and abused in a foreign culture. Please don´t misunderstand me, Kenyans are wonderful people, very friendly and welcoming. But you always remain an outsider.
In 2005 we reached a time where burdens became too heavy for Silke and we started praying for God to show us how Seed of Hope can continue without us beng in the midst of it.
We have a gracious God. He prepared a way for us and for the future of the children He gave under our care. Through a good friend of Buckner, Bob Hefner, our work became known in Dallas. We didn´t speak to Bob about our burn-out, but he saw a cry for help in Silke´s eyes and shared this with Kenneth Hall, president of Buckner International. We kept in touch and Bob visited us in 2006 and 2007.
At last we asked him if Buckner could come in and take over Seed of Hope. Bob brought this request back to Dallas and a few months later the transition process started.
We planned our return to Germany for March 2008. Then chaos broke out in Kenya through the post–election violence in early January. People in our area were killed and many fled their homes. But even amidst this dangerous situation, Kenneth Hall, Randy Daniels and Bob Hefner came from Nairobi by plane and we had a celebration with all our children and staff.
We did not know in the morning that this was also our farewell party. But since roads were blocked by gangs and planes were unreliable, our visitors invited us to fly back with them and we thankfully accepted. Silke had two hours to pack and then we left this place which had been our home for nearly 10 years.
It was hard to leave those wonderful children behind, but we knew it was God´s timing for us and we know He will continue to care for them with our help in Germany and with Buckner’s help in the United States.
Please pray for the Buckner/Seed of Hope orphanage in Kenya. If you have chance to visit this beautiful place and if you are so moved, become a godparent to one of our precious childen for just $30 a month.
Buckner is now accepting story submissions for Buckner eNews Now and the Buckner Web site from people who have participated on mission trips or local volunteering.
Send your story in a Microsoft Word document to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, city and state in the subject line along with the title of your submissions. Stories should be no longer than 1200 words. (ex. Your Perspective – John Doe, Houston, TX)
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