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Two with Wauneta ties recently returned from mission trip PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 20:37


By Susan Skinner

The Gretna Breeze

Just back from a mission trip to Costa Rica, the two young Gretna women find themselves feeling a bit overwhelmed.

“I still haven’t processed it all. You wonder how we’re ever going to make a difference, but then you see glimpses of hope,” Amanda Haarberg said. “You have to save one life at a time.”

Haarberg and her cousin, Kelsie Troudt, both members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gretna, spent 10 days in March on a mission trip with Go InterNational Ministries. The group partnered with a local organization, Face of Justice, to address human trafficking in the area.

With one cousin getting married and the other starting nursing school, the two decided now was the time to realize their goal of participating in such a trip. The pair joined a small group from Kentucky to create a team of seven women.

“Everyone had a weird story about how they’d ended up in the group. It’s so divine we were together,” Troudt said. “Every person in the group was so different. We all worked well together and created a kind of balance.”

While in Costa Rica, the team spent their days in the poorest of neighborhoods helping at orphanages, repairing a church and teaching craft classes to local women. At night, the group ministered to those on the streets.

“I’ve never done so much in one week,” Haarberg said.

One event that had immediate results was the group’s effort to build a ramp at a church in the village of Sinaji. Authorities were set to close the church because it lacked a handicap ramp, Haarberg said.

“We literally allowed the church to stay open. It’s the light in the area,” Haarberg said.

The team also taught jewelry-making classes, so the local women would be able to sell jewelry rather than themselves, Troudt said.

Most of their days, however, were spent at different orphanages in the area, including one where many disabled children were being raised.

“It was really hard to just know they had to be given up because their families can’t afford to care for them. Your heart just hurts for these kids,” Haarberg said.

Another of the orphanages was run by a woman who currently has 43 children living with her, Troudt said.

The woman adopts all of the children she takes in, and so far has cared for 91, she said.

The cousins spent the day helping the woman with household chores, such as laundry. The enormity of that task alone overwhelmed them.

“We matched socks for her. We had a trash-can size tub full. We must have spent hours matching socks,” Haarberg said. “Can you imagine socks for 43 people?”

Troudt found the woman to be an amazing example of a servant nature.

“I told her she should write a book. It’s just hard to believe that no one knows about her. She said ‘It’s not my story. It’s God’s story.’ She was just so humble, it was so cool how she accepted her service,” Troudt said.

While the days were hard, the nights ministering on the streets were even more eye opening for the team, Troudt said.

The first night they stood outside a church in sight of three brothels and invited everyone into a service, she said.

Other nights the mission group went with a local organization in a van and took cookies to prostitutes or ministered to those entering a casino and known brothel, she said.

The regular local volunteers knew many of those on the streets and had a rapport of sorts with them, the cousins said, but they found their first encounters difficult.

“I finally realized and said to myself, ‘These people don’t want to be here. They’re probably just as scared as you are,’” Haarberg said.

Since returning home, Troudt has begun to research human trafficking in the Omaha area and plans to become involved locally in efforts to end the practice.

“You don’t have to fly to Costa Rica to fight human trafficking, you can do it here in Omaha,” Troudt said.

Editor’s Note: Haarberg is the daughter of Randy and Jackie Haarberg of Omaha. Troudt is the daughter of Renea and Eric Troudt of Gretna. Haarberg and Troudt are the granddaughters of Kent and Elaine Haarberg of Wauneta.


This story originally ran in the Gretna Breeze and is reprinted here with permission.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 May 2015 20:40