Hero Highlight: Maudie Kenney
It is our joy to introduce you to one of the most delightful women of Lander, Wyoming—Maudie Kenney. Maudie was one of the first widows involved with the Fathers in the Field program, and it has been our privilege to serve her over the years. However, we are confident that she has helped our field buddies as much as they have helped her. Maudie, who lost her husband Joe to cancer 18 years ago (they were married 46 years), loves the Lord and expresses that love through her zest for life. She turns 88 in November, but her advancing age has not slowed her desire to encourage and pray for others and help build God’s Church. Affectionately known as “the candy lady,” Maudie is a hero to us—not just because she always has good candy for the boys after their hard work, but most importantly because she is a faithful woman of God whose life reflects her love for the Lord.
Tell us about your relationship with Fathers in the Field?
Fathers in the Field has been a wonderful ministry to me. The boys and their mentor fathers come and clean out the weeds in my garden, and I can’t tell you what a blessing that is to me.
I love flowers. I think it brightens the day to see a beautiful flower. I have these little white flowers that have one purple dot on each petal. I think… that’s amazing! God cared enough about even a little flower to put one purple dot on each petal! It’s a simple thing but flowers are just so important to me… and they were to my husband Joe.
But now that he’s not here and I am no longer able to take care of the garden myself, the weeds and grass grow up over my flowers. So, the boys and men from Fathers in the Field come and clear out the garden. They are enthusiastic and don’t mind pulling up some weeds and grass. The boys are working together with their mentor fathers and it seems important to them. And it’s important to me. I get to see my peonies again! I just think it’s wonderful that the boys have someone showing them how to be thoughtful to other people.
How did you become involved with Fathers in the Field?
I have known Scott MacNaughton (co-founder of Fathers in the Field) since he was a teenager. We met him at church and were impressed with how hard he worked and how welcoming he was. We also were there when his parents parted and his father left the pulpit. I can just imagine how difficult it was for a young person like Scott growing up in a Christian home and going through that. I think it’s amazing that he came through it and still wanted to serve the Lord and church.
And it is wonderful to see how the ministry of Fathers in the Field has developed out of his pain. He knows what it’s like to hurt, and he goes out of his way to reach out to those who are hurting. So, when he asked if Fathers in the Field could help me, I said, “Sure.” I am delighted to see Scott respond to God’s calling and work with these young boys.
Do you believe that widows should receive special care?
Yes, and God does too. Many widows in Jesus’ time had no support and no way to care for themselves. Jesus saw their difficulty. Naturally, being the loving God that He is, He had compassion on them.
And Fathers in the Field is showing that same compassion. I am blessed to have lived in Lander for many years and to have gone to the same church since the 70’s. The church members are so helpful and caring. They have helped me through a lot, including my husband’s death and my recent hip surgery. But not all widows are that fortunate and they need help. And even though I have a lot of help, I still have a hard time getting some things done…like my yard. Fathers in the Field blesses me by helping with my yard and I am very grateful.
What kind of an impact do you see that Fathers in the Field has on the boys who are serving you?
I think it would be very difficult for these boys to have self confidence without their fathers in their lives. They need a male influence—someone whom they know is interested in them and cares how they grow up. My sons had that growing up. They had a very good relationship with their dad. I hurt for these boys that they don’t have that and am glad to see their mentor fathers working with them.
Fathers in the Field also teaches them to appreciate people when they are older. I remember that one boy came one time and just sat beside me and we had the nicest chat. I couldn’t believe it! We visited as if we were the same age.
I hope they leave feeling accomplished and confident that they have cared about someone else…even an older person.
And you always have a little something special for them too, don’t you?
(Laughter) Yes, I always try to have candy for them. A number of years ago I started bringing candy to church for the kids there. They just loved it and I enjoy giving it to them. Since then, I have been called the “Candy Lady.”
So, after the boys (and the mentor fathers) are finished with their work, I give them candy. One time, one boy didn’t even take the wrapper off before he put it in his mouth…he was so excited! I want them to know that I enjoy having them here. And, it’s fun to see them enjoy the candy I have for them.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I am just happy for these boys and for Scott and the others involved. These young boys are blessed with caring men who can serve as a good example and show them that someone cares about them. That delights my heart.
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