ELLINWOOD — Star of Hope of Ellinwood has several upcoming trips planned in order to strengthen the roofs of the buildings at its school sites in Haiti. They encourage anybody including youth group or adults that might be interested in going to go.
Volunteers who do go pay their own way. The next trip, planned for the last week of February, will cost about $1200; $1,000 of which is the cost of the trip and $200 for the cost of materials.
“It’s a very humbling experience,” said Lisa Milton of Hudson. She went to Haiti a couple of years ago with her teen daughter who inspired her to go.
“I’ve never seen anything like that poverty,” she said. Milton was surprised at how hard their lives are in a third world country.
“They don’t have government services,” the volunteer said. “I was a little overwhelmed and felt guilty with all of the needs.
“I could have been born there. How blessed I am I live in America,” she said.
Milton added that the Haitians struggle every day for food.
“It’s so comforting how rooted they are in faith. American people aren’t so open.”
Her daughter, Christa, would recommend it as a trip to other teens. “It’s so inspiring. It gave me a better appreciation of those who have nothing and their faith in God.”
The trip was an eye opener for her and left her with more appreciation for the quality of life she has in the U.S. “I knew there was a lot of poor people, but not to the extent of Haiti. I want to go again.”
Barry Parker of Great Bend has been on several Star of Hope trips, but his last trip was after the huge earthquake in January 2010.
“They (the students and orphans) needed somebody so bad,” he said. “They were in school when it (the earthquake) happened. Some lost parents.
“We spent lots of time playing games with them,” Parker said. “I think it made a difference in all of our lives. We take a lot for granted.
“In the evenings, we would share that it felt like we’d made an impact,” Parker said. “I realize how much God has blessed us here.
“Star of Hope takes very good care of you,” he said. “Once you go, you want to go again. If we can touch one life, it’s worth it.”
However, the need for donations remains. “Those who cannot go can make it easier on those who do go by donating to our StarTeam expense fund, and if they are an employer, by making is possible for the members to get off work for the trip,” Barry Borror, U.S. director of Star of Hope.