My name is Kendall but most people call me Kenny. I have been a Seventh-day Adventist all my life. I grew up on a farm 21 miles from Geneva, Nebraska.
Many able-bodied people look down upon disabled people as if their mind is half gone or if they cannot do anything worthwhile. In some cases that may be true. In most cases, it’s far from true. One must take time to get to know disabled people just like you would with able-bodied people. It may be hard to understand disabled people when they talk but if you take the time to get to know them you may become the best of friends. I am blessed to be a witness to this.
I have Cerebral Palsy. CP is a condition rather than a disease. A person with CP has had it since birth and in most cases will never get better or even worse. Living with CP is not easy. We have struggles and wish we weren’t disabled at times but most of us accept it and move on. In my case I make the best of what I have in life, even with my disability.
I had a loving family who supported me and taught me about God. Despite my disability God has been with me for 46 years and counting.
I went to school in Ong, Nebraska, which did not work out for me so well. They had just passed a new law so that disabled people, such as myself, were allowed to learn in a general classroom population. Many teachers at that time did not agree with that law and it was a struggle for me to get a proper education. From 1979 to 1989, my mom and dad drove me to Hastings daily for school and back home after. That drive was 100 miles a day. They also drove me to Omaha, which was 150 miles from our farm, for physical, speech, and occupational therapy. God gave me very devoted parents.
When I was born I had suffered a very bad seizure which I’m told should have killed me but by God’s grace, yet here I am. As a boy and through out my life, I’ve had many seizures, surgeries, and have aspirated in my hospital bed. I’ve have almost been hit by cars mainly because my vision isn’t the greatest. Many times as a baby and boy I stopped breathing on my own. The list goes on and on. The fact is many times I could have died, but every single time God saved me.
My first church was in a very small town called Nelson, Nebraska. My mother was my first Sabbath school teacher. I was baptized at Nelson church on July 4, 1981. Even at the age of 10 I knew I wanted to give my heart to Jesus.
Over the years, I have been involved in several churches from Nebraska and California. In 2003 I began attending the Northside Adventist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska and I haven’t moved since.
At each of these churches I have been asked to do special music which I am able to play on an electric keyboard. It has been a joy to serve my Lord and Savior this way.
I became the Children’s Story coordinator at Northside in 2006 and I’m happy to have served my church in this way also.
I’ve had countless jobs but all of them I have tried to serve God. I’m currently volunteering at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. I wash windows, vacuum, and keep the zoo looking as nice as possible for all it’s visitors.
For many years I’ve wanted to help with Pathfinders but didn’t know how, as I’m not able to drive to their meetings. Last year, I was talking with a friend about it and felt God wanted me involved in Pathfinders. Within a month, my transportation problem was solved and I became a staff person. God wanted me in this position to help serve and teach our Adventist youth and it is not a decision I have regretted.
In 2015 I adopted a cat I named Annie. I now have jobs I’ve never had before such as feeding a cat, giving her water, and scooping a litter box. Having to do all of this gives me joy and my cerebral palsy has gotten a little bit better because of it. As a result of that I’m now also able to do other ordinary things such as cleaning off a plate of food. Writing with a pen or pencil was also very hard for me as a boy. People couldn’t read my hand writing. Today it’s still a struggle but a lot better. When coloring I’d go way outside the lines but today I go just a little bit outside and I have to tell myself take your time. It was a real struggle to do things an able-bodied person would normally do but I believe God brought Annie to me to help me with this. Having Annie has given me a renewed purpose in life and as a result I’ve also become more self-sufficient.
I live on my own with the help of friends and home health aides. If it wasn’t for God, my parents, my sister Connie, my friends, and all the physical, speech, and occupational therapists, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I praise the Lord for all of the abilities He has given me in spite of my disability.