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Mt. Juliet Teen Leaves Family at Christmas for Orphans--Mikayla Lewis

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MOUNT JULIET, Tenn.- A Mount Juliet teen is spending the holidays away from her family for the first, far away. She gave up Christmas, to help children others gave up in Africa.

Kendall Parker packed her bags on Saturday. She was getting ready for her first trip by herself and out of the country to Ghana.

Kendall Parker said, " Anytime Ghana was brought up it sparked an interest."

That spark quickly ignited this past spring when Parker was finishing her senior year of high school. She saw a Facebook post seeking volunteers for "Feeding the Orphans" missions trips.

Parker explained,  " At first I was kind of just like I have no idea what to do, I've never done something like this"

Parker took the plunge and is now in Ghana for ten days. She raised funds through food stands, yard sales, church donations and even cutting her hair. Her passport, immunizations and overall expenses cost more than $4,000.

Parker added,  "Luckily my family, church and friends have been supporting me 110 percent."

Her family also supported her decision to hold off on college. She was enrolled at Vol State this fall, but chose to focus on fund raising.

Kendall's mother, Kendra Hicks says, " I didn' t do that as a teenager so I don't know what it's like but I just know if I could grow up all over again it would be like her."

Kendall Parker says, "College can always come and this was an opportunity that I thought I can not miss it."

She is missing Christmas and her 19th birthday with her family while she is in Africa.

Hicks said, " It's going to be difficult but she is not at some college partying and acting silly. She is going on the other side of the world to minister Christ's love."
 
Parker said, " I would much rather be helping someone else out over the holidays than helping myself."

Kendall is expected to be back home around January 1st, 2014.

Follow Mikayla Lewis on Twitter @MikaylaFox17

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