Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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December 23, 2012

You should know …Love India 2013

Three friends in college together to help orphaned girls in India

GOSHEN — All Kaitlyn Troyer wants for Christmas is being able to go to India.

“I’m asking for India, that is all. I just want to go to India,” Kaitlyn said.

She’s counting down the days until Jan. 4, when she leaves on a mission trip, Love India 2013, with Stephanie Yoder and Hannah Hochsteler and 11 other students at Huntington University (HU) in Huntington, Ind.

The group will travel to the Home of Love, an orphanage for girls, in Chennai, India for 18 days.

“We will lead a Vacation Bible School for the orphans and help build a dormitory for the orphanage,” Kaitlyn, a sophomore, said. “There will be a ground-breaking (for the dormitory) and we will work on it for a few days.”

She said the team involved with Love India 2012 from HU raised $21,000 after their return trip for a dormitory because the 70 girls were sleeping on mats on a concrete floor.

Hannah Hochsteler was part of last year’s team and currently a junior at HU.

“It is so surreal. I went the first time and came back to help raise money for the dorm,” Hannah said. “Now I get to go with a team to help build it and to see the stages. It’s amazing.”

Her reason for applying to be a part of the team stems from a trip her father made to India when Hannah was a second-grader, she said.

“I always wanted to go after that and I loved it last year,” Hannah said. “I knew I had to go again because of the (orphanage) girls from last year and I wanted to see them again.”

Stephanie Yoder was originally planning on going to Australia through HU for a mission trip during the same time, but it fell through, she said.

“I had the urge to get involved with this trip and applied for India,” Stephanie, a sophomore, said. “I was moved in a God-moment and said, ‘yes.’ I am so excited and blessed to have the opportunity to go.”

The team members have to raise their own funds for the trip, which is about $3,000 per student.

Kaitlyn said she has under $1,000 left to raise before their departure.

“I’m trying not to let the funds scare me off. I’m not worried about the extra money. It will get paid,” Kaitlyn said. “I have a job and the money will be paid by me or through support and I have had a tremendous amount of support.”

 Kaitlyn said she felt led to apply for the mission trip this fall after hearing the group last year share their experiences.

“I went ahead and filled out an application. There are only 14 students allowed to go and I went through the interview process,” Kaitlyn said. “It was extremely exciting and I was preparing for the worst. If I didn’t go then there was a purpose behind it.”

Donations for the trip haven’t come as quick this year for Hannah, she said.

“The first time the funds came real easily. I still have half the amount left this time,” Hannah said. “I know God wants me to go and know the funds will be there, it’s just a manner of when.”

Stephanie said she got a later start on her fund-raising, about a month, since the trip to Australia was canceled.

“I have been absolutely blessed,” she said, with the generosity of her home church, family, and community members.

She’s working during her Christmas break to pay for some of her trip, as well.

“It was hard to focus on finals while bonding with the team and getting ready for the trip,” Stephanie said. “This is my first time out the country and I am very excited for that.”

Hannah said the girls made an impact on her after spending time with them.

“The big part for me was seeing how simply they lived and how happy they are. They had one suitcase of their own belongings. They share. They sleep on mats on concrete and they didn’t mind that they had one dress and no pillow,” Hannah said. “I don’t need lots of stuff to be happy. These people have so much less than me and are happy. I don’t need a lot, but it can be difficult to embrace that I don’t need a lot.”

Stephanie added, “We (Love India 2013 team) need the prayers of our community as much as financial support.”

Those who would like to give a gift to the India team, please send checks to Huntington University, 2303 College Ave., Huntington, IN 46750, attention Grace McBrayer, with “India Trip” in the memo.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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