Forest Lake woman finds her mission at African orphanage

Kroll raising funds to pay for trip


Mary Bailey
Community Editor

“I have stumbled upon an opportunity that my heart cannot look past,” Kenzie Kroll wrote in a letter to family and friends.

She was explaining her decision to spend the coming year in Cameroon.

At the Shaping Destiny Children’s Center, Kroll will be a program assistant. She will live with orphans, eat with them, worship with them.

Kenzie Kroll
Kenzie Kroll

Along the way, the 19-year-old plans to be their mentor, counselor and sponsor.

The orphanage is home to 50 children of all ages. It has many needs: A water supply and toilets would be nice. The school could use a library.

It’s not the kind of place with extra money to spend, so Kroll is busy raising funds.

Her first fundraiser will be a car wash from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25 at Mattson Funeral Home in Forest Lake. To help create a positive atmosphere for this event, she has enlisted the aid of a disc jockey.

A second event will be a silent auction starting at noon on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Forest Lake American Legion.

Seven other American volunteers are leaving in September to work at the orphanage. Kroll originally planned to go then, too, but now hopes to leave early in 2014. She postponed the trip in order to raise more money.

When she gets to Cameroon, she will live like the orphans, rooming with three other girls in a dorm.

“Right now the orphanage doesn’t have any flush lavatories, so they all share one pit toilet,” she said. “There is no water supply. They want to be able to provide a wash house for boys and girls separately, along with toilets.”

Kenzie Kroll plays with children in Puerto Rico during a 2011 mission trip. The 19-year-old from Forest Lake is fundraising to do mission work in Cameroon next year. (Photo submitted)
Kenzie Kroll plays with children in Puerto Rico during a 2011 mission trip. The 19-year-old from Forest Lake is fundraising to do mission work in Cameroon next year. (Photo submitted)

The 2012 Forest Lake High School graduate was motivated to take this leap after some serious soul-searching.

“I’ve come to a point in my life where I am just STUCK,” she wrote. “I’ve landed here in Forest Lake to bloom where I am planted, and I have bloomed … but I’m starving for more,  more than this place can give me.”

When she arrives in Cameroon, Kroll will begin three months of training provided by Missionary Mandate of Austin, Texas, a college-level Bible training designed to equip Christians for effective mission work. The training costs $350 a month, or $1,050.

Then she will continue to learn part-time in a continuing education program for six months. This also costs money: The continuing education program is $225 a month, or $1,350.

Other costs are a round-trip ticket for $1,800 and doctors’ appointments for vaccinations at around $300.

All told, Kroll figures she needs to raise about $4,500 for the trip.

“I know that this trip isn’t going to be all smiles and laughter,” Kroll said. “It’s going to be hard; it’s going to be heart-breaking. But it will be life-changing, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me.”

She has met resistance concerning her decision.

“Not everyone has supported me, to be honest. I’ve been discouraged more than I have been encouraged. But I know if I can change just one life, it will be all worth it.”

Interested persons can follow Kroll on her facebook page at

More information about the orphanage is at

  • disqus_x16fmoHwRG

    We wish you all the best and pray that you make a lasting impact in the lives of orphans! There are few causes more noble that that.

    Douglas Riggle, President
    Orphan World Relief