Left with only a sliver of light perception after Retinitis Pigmentosa stole her eyesight piece by piece, she continues to have more “vision” than most. This incurable, progressive eye disease did not hold back her passion of helping others. Ministering alongside her husband at Trinity Worship Center since 1998, she teaches Children’s Church and plays her flute with the praise and worship team.
Reaching out to their community, Jena and her husband founded Word in Action Ministry in 2009. This ministry feeds 100-300 free hot meals weeknights at their small church. Reacting to needs as they discovered them, the ministry expanded to helping homeless, getting people jobs, housing, disaster relief, and recovery classes. Jena coordinates volunteers, oversees the marketing, and keeps her ADHD husband on task. Desiring to leave a legacy, her and her husband are always planning the future for their church and W.I.A. Ministry, earning Jena the title, “A Visionary without Vision.”
The challenges of being a blind parent did not slow Jena down. In fact, she homeschooled their youngest daughter who graduated recently and is attending junior college. In addition, two ADHD grandsons became her homeschool students for three years. All three children and two grandsons live in Baxter Springs, Kansas where they serve with their parents in ministry.
A new season has dawned in Jena’s life with technological advances allowing her to use a computer once again. Utilizing Screen Readers aides not only in her church work, but opens the door to pursue her dream of being a writer. She can now share personal experiences to help others overcome their problems. Adapting to vision loss gave her skills she shares with those she mentors and counsels. Through this, she realized how many problems she has faced parallels those facing any life problem. More importantly, she realized every problem is lessened when you change your focus.
Transforming lives one life at a time is Jena’s passion, and now she is excited to write about her experiences and observations, in hopes it might transform even more. Helping others forces Jena to forget about what she cannot do. She is far too busy focusing on what she can accomplish.
For relaxation, Jena enjoys listening to audio books, going for walks, or watching detective shows and comedies with her husband. She loves chimes, candles, and sunshine, but nothing satisfies the way peanut butter and chocolate does.
Many who know Jena claim she is an inspiration to all, that her life perfectly illustrates the strength God gives to overcome.
Experiences and Education
• B. S. in Education from Emporia State University
• Provisional Certificate in Preschool Handicapped
• Student taught preschoolers at Rainbow Mental Health Center in K.C., Kansas
• Special Education Teacher (elementary level) for three and a half years
• Staff member in boys group home for teenage juvenile offenders
Her most helpful experience was becoming a mother of step-teens before having her own, all of which had special challenges. (ADHD and ODD for those who are familiar with that)