As I heard of Kenny's passing last night. I couldn't help but smile- not because of the grief and pain his family will go through, not because of the loss that will be felt by those he cared for. The smile was for Kenny choosing to follow God, and why in the world did God use him so greatly?
As examples in my life go, Kenny wouldn't have seemed a likely candidate. As I remember him from my childhood I remember him looking menacing, tall, thin, and not exactly flowing with warmth. That was before I got to know him. I remember the time when he took his family and moved to Long Island to go to Bible School. Being in about sixth grade I thought it was a little strange for "older people" give up their lives to go to school. I remained close friends with their daughter (who was a day older than I) through their time at Christ for the Nations.
As I entered high school the Lane family came back to Brattleboro. My appreciation for Kenny bloomed from there.
Kenny invited me to go to New York City with New York City relief for a weekend when I was about 16. Never having experienced any multi cultured experience I was excited and scared to go with them. But then I thought if Kenny (who always seemed frail to me) can do it why can't I.
It was through going to Brooklyn and Bushwick park twice during my high school years and seeing the efffects of drugs, prostitution that greatly effected my views on life and God's love for humanity.
Even more than my experiences in New York, I saw Kenny doing something that was outside his comfort zone. He didn't look anything like the people we were serving. Yet I saw Kenny and Juanita hugging and befriending people that were nothing like them.
As I describe and think about the church I grew up in as a kid- I use the word serving (and now the buzzword missional) and immediately Kenny and Juanita come to mind as the examples I saw. Whether it was serving food in the church, delivering bread, helping people out with various other physical needs Kenny and Juanita were in the middle of that.
Kenny wasn't the stereotypical role model or example but seeing someone that gave up a normal life to follow God always amazes me and Kenny was one of the first people I ever saw do this.
Thank you Kenny for being an example of service and obedience.