Die young and save yourself” were the song lyrics Kendra Britez lived by as a troubled teenager who dabbled in drugs.
“I told myself that if I lived to be eighteen years of age then that would be okay,” she says.
In her last year of high school her worried uncle encouraged her to go with her mother on a missions trip to Paraguay, hoping that it would give her a new perspective on life.
Kendra agreed to go simply to capture something new and perhaps see something of the ‘God’ he often talked about through her love of journaling and photography.
“The night before the team left for Paraguay I wrote in my journal: If there is a God, show me a sign of hope,” she says.
On the plane trip to Paraguay Kendra sat next to a young teammate and was surprised to notice the girl had a small tattoo on the inside of her wrist which read: Hope.
“If anyone needed hope, it was me,” she says.
Early in the week of ministry Kendra accompanied her teammates who went out talking to others about Jesus.
“If anyone needed hope, it was me,” says Kendra
They shared how all the wrong things they had done in life had separated them from God but that Jesus, who was God in human form, had come to earth to take the punishment they all deserved by dying on a cross.
Kendra listened in the background and began to realise that she also needed to ask for God’s forgiveness so that she could have eternal life and go to be with Him when she died.
Later she was there to witness the transformation of an 82-year old great grandmother who, upon accepting Jesus into her life, declared: “For the first time in my life, I feel hope!”
The following day after thinking about everything that had happened the day before, Kendra knew it was time to make the decision to receive Jesus as her own personal Saviour.
“From that very moment my outlook on life was changed forever,” she says.
“The thought of dying was no longer in my mind and I suddenly had a reason to live. I had hope!”
Upon her return home Kendra did not stay long before flying to Argentina to study the Bible and then later moved to Paraguay to serve God at a children’s orphanage.
She also encouraged her father to read the Bible and he prayed to accept Jesus into his life after realising why he had seen such an amazing transformation take place in his daughter.
Later that same year her older sister also went to Paraguay and on the very steps of the orphanage where Kendra served, her sister also made a decision to receive Jesus as her Lord and Saviour.
“God has continued to write His story for me,” she says.
“Last year I married an amazing Paraguayan man and we both serve the Lord by caring for orphans. God writes good stories.”