Fort Mill teen’s passion prompts mission to Kenya

June 17, 2013 

  • Want to help? For information on supporting the mission to Kenya, visit

Randi Smith’s passion for clean water in Kenya is contagious. The Fort Mill High School sophomore inspired thousands of dollars in donations and her church’s first international mission trip.

After raising $14,000 to build four wells in Kenya, Randi felt the next step was to go there.

“Philadelphia United Methodist Church is over 120 years old and this trip will be the first of its kind for us. It’s all due to the love and compassion that a 16-year-old has for Christ and people across the globe,” said Kelley Candee, the church’s mission chairman.

Randi said, “All the work I have done to provide clean water to Kenyans has been through the 410 Bridge organization. They have guided me the whole way and organized our mission trip. I really like how they support communities with the idea that they will be self-sufficient.”

Randi and 11 members from Philadelphia United Methodist Church will travel June 20 to Kiria, Kenya.

“I have never been on a plane before, so a 20-hour flight should be interesting,” Randi said.

Her father, Gary Smith, who is also a and a mission participant, said, “We hope to help people help themselves. The theme for the mission is ‘See a face, know a name, remember a story.’ Fellowship matters more than finishing the project.”

The group has been preparing for the trip since last summer with fundraisers, immunizations and cultural education.

“They speak English, but we are learning some Swahili phrases and songs,” Randi said. “We can’t use sarcasm because that doesn’t translate. Women have to wear skirts and no camo prints are allowed so they don’t mistake us for the military.”

The 10-day trip will include building a new water tank, teaching at the nursery school and presenting virtue-based lessons to students. A project is underway to bring water from the Aberdare Mountains to large storage tanks in Kiria.

“Randi is a true missionary. She profoundly touches people when she speaks about the need for clean water. Some people are moved to tears. She is genuine, courageous and bold. It took a teenager to connect us all to this cause,” Candee said.

Fort Mill Times is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service