Wendi Lester loves being an attorney. She also loves that her job is basically a fundraiser for her vocation; leading teams of volunteers who serve children and families in eastern Africa.
Wendi is the founder of ForJust1, a Christ-centered humanitarian organization that provides financial help, education, community development, and empowerment to women, widows, orphans, the elderly, and many who are suffering or living in poverty in Kenya.
What started in Georgetown, Texas grew as a partnership in rural Kenya, known for its wildlife and beautiful scenery. Wendi says, “The more time I spent serving God’s people, the more my heart was captured, and I’ve worked to provide the same opportunity to others and expand on the services and programs we are able to provide those we serve.”
In a normal (non-pandemic) year, she leads teams of 6-12 individuals, from different walks of life, and ranging in age from 16 to 61, to distribute food, mosquito netting, reading glasses, and much more. “Everyone is welcome to volunteer on our trips; there are no special skills required, just the willingness and ability to serve others. I look at the skills, interests, and diverse talents my volunteers have, then we work together to find the best way to plug those skills in to the communities overseas. My personal mission is to inspire and equip people for success and stir their responsibility to lead themselves. For instance, if you love kids, there are orphanages who need your help; if you have a medical background, we will set up a health camp.”
She also works consistently to empower women who may be, or have been victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced early marriage (FEM). “While FGM is technically illegal, it still remains a cultural norm in many parts of Kenya and we do our best to help young girls recognize I am valuable and loved Just As I Am and they should not feel obligated to alter themselves as they grow into womanhood. It can be physically dangerous and may have long-lasting emotional effects. We try to rescue individual girls, work with their own centers, and be a part of the conversation that might affect lasting changes.”
ForJust1 also helps provide hygiene products for girls and women who would otherwise have to stay home from school or a workplace during their monthly cycle. “It’s the things we take for granted that become so precious, and make me realize how simple things can make a big difference.”
Wendi believes leadership is all about having a servant’s heart and being willing to do any job that needs doing. “I love serving people without pay and empowering them to have a better life. When we visit, we help them make money for themselves, empower them to lead better and more satisfying lives. Seeing the fruits of our labor fulfills me and I look forward to things getting back to normal so we can travel again and continue our programs and progress where we left off.”
Volunteers are welcome at any time, and all are welcome to help Wendi in Georgetown or in Kenya—visit ForJust1.org to find out more. They are 501(c)3; donations are welcome online or checks can be made payable to FOR JUST ONE, 4400 West Highway 29, Suite 1, Georgetown, Texas 78628.