By Tiffany Green
“A room would light up when he entered.”
As Carole Williams describes the impact Whit Warren had on people’s lives, her own face glows. She, along with other missionaries, recently traveled to Kenya with the Kenya Relief Organization to dedicate a new building in memory and honor of Warren.
“He had an impact on people’s lives all over the world,” Wade Warren, Whit’s oldest brother said.
The trip was to dedicate Whit’s Place, a new multi-purpose building for the orphanage in Kenya. The 1,716 square foot building will serve as a dining hall for the orphanage. The orphanage is sponsored by Kenya Relief, an organization started by Steve James to provide hope for the people of Kenya.
Kenya Relief began in 2004, by James. His daughter, Brittney sponsored a child from Kenya. When she unexpectedly passed away in 2001, her father wanted to meet Brittney’s sponsored child, Newton.
After arriving and seeing how the people of Kenya lived, he wanted to do his part to help. James, a nurse anesthetist from Cullman, found he could help by donating old medical equipment and use his services as a medical professional.
“Whit was an incredible person,” Williams said of the missionary who died unexpectedly in 2005. “Sometimes you wonder what can one person do, but after you see the life Whit led, you know one person can make a difference.”
Whit was a musician known locally for his voice. He took those talents with him on previous mission trips to Kenya as well as Mexico, Canada, Uganda among other places.
Williams was in Kenya for the dedication of Whit’s Place along with Wade.
“It was so surreal and overwhelming,” Wade said.
He was nervous about going on the trip, but the spark that made him decide was his brother.
“I have never felt called to go on a foreign mission project, but the trigger for this one was my brother,” Wade said. “The key was for the dedication of Whit’s Place.”
The women’s guild at St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church wanted to take on the special project of funding of Whit’s Place.
“I want to give a lot of credit to Kenya Relief and Steve James and to the women’s guild at our church,” Wade said. “They really spearheaded the project with fundraising and plans.”
Wade said he was overwhelmed when he arrived in Kenya and saw the people.
“When we arrived on Saturday, the people kept the building a secret until the next morning when we were going to have the dedication,” Wade said.
He described the moment as joyous.
“As we were walking up to the building Whit’s music was playing,” Wade said. “The people and staff went out of their way to make it special.”
“People came from miles away to be there,” Wade said. “I didn’t realize the impact he had on the people of that area. He was held as a hero to the people there.”
Williams described her purpose in the mission trip.
“I know I make a difference in their lives,” she said. “I just know I may be saving someone’s life. These people are the friendliest and nicest (people) and they appreciate everything we do.”
The trip’s main purpose was to host a Bible school for the children of the area. Several trips are taken to Kenya each year, some are to provide medical attention, others for Bible schools and mission work.
Warren said the first morning of the Bible school about 30 kids arrived. By the end of the week they had around 1,200.
“The Bible school was fantastic,” he said. “It really bolstered my faith.”
One purpose of Kenya Relief is to help Kenyans bring prosperity to their country.
“We are trying to raise a new generation of Kenyans to help their country,” Wade said.
“It was a God moment, like when all the planets and stars all line up together.”
Wade said he misses every day that passes without his brother, but knows he is in a better place.
“Whit was the epitome of life,” Wade said. “He just loved life. I have hope I will see him again. Sometimes my human side says it’s not fair, but my spiritual side says I’m jealous that he’s there with the Lord.”
Wade said he doesn’t think he will ever live up to his younger brother.
“I am still trying to catch up to the impact he had on people’s lives.”
What Wade wants people to remember most about the life of Whit is his love of God.
“He would say at the end of the day, it’s all about God,” he said. “The only hope we have is in Jesus Christ and Whit was special because Jesus lived in him. Everyday is precious. Don’t take anything for granted.”
‰ Tiffany Green can be reached by e-mail at Tgreen@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 221.
By Tiffany Green