A Coincidental Calling
Molly Koisti and Ashton Mednansky met as freshmen when they were randomly selected to share a Corbey Hall bathroom. This seemingly random event was the first in a domino of coincidental occurrences that led to a path of deeper service, not only for themselves but for the entire MMC family.
Today the two biology majors share the story of how they found themselves, and their futures, on a mission trip to Haiti and how others can take part in this life-changing service opportunity.
Molly Koisti is a biology major from Lake Poinsett, S.D. and Ashton Mednansky is a biology major from Avon, S.D.
1. How did you find the opportunity to go to Haiti?
Ashton and I met Dave Hanson during Mission Day at the beginning of the fall semester.
We both drew the same letter to go the Calvary Baptist church and pack mercy meals for our service project. Before we started they showed us a video about Haiti and told us how important the meals were for the school children in the area; sometimes this meal was the only one they got for the entire day. Then Dave Hansen, founder of Helping Hands for Haiti, got up and started talking about his mission.
At the end of his presentation Dave said that if anyone was interested in going to Haiti, they could talk to him. I’ve been on mission trips in the past and had been thinking about going on another for a while, but wasn’t quite sure with who or when. There is no doubt in my mind that God blessed us with this opportunity because the whole thing was too coincidental to be coincidental.
Right away Molly and I knew this was something we wanted to do. We went up and talked to Dave, and the rest is history :)
2. What kind of support did you receive from the MMC community?
We had so much support from the MMC community, everyone that heard that we were going wished us luck and told us they would be praying for us.
The faculty and sisters continually expressed their excitement and encouragement. The sisters even invited us over for brunch, and we talked about the upcoming trip. Their prayers for our safety and our mission work were greatly appreciated.
It meant a lot to have so many people back home thinking and praying for us while we were there!
3. What were the most impactful parts of the trip?
It really meant a lot to do something so meaningful for people that really need it. Helping Hands for Haiti's motto is "Blessed by God, motivated to serve" and it’s so fitting for a mission like this, we are so blessed and going to Haiti helped me to see just how blessed we are!
I’ll never forget the children I met while I was there. They were so happy and loving. Anywhere Molly and I walked there would be a big group of kids and they all wanted to hold your hand. It was the sweetest thing ever. Even the adults were so happy and so thankful for everything we were there doing for them. It's just crazy that these people who have so little in life can be so happy and grateful for everything they are given.
The hardest part of the trip was seeing all of the hungry people, especially the children. They live in such poverty. Most of their houses are literally made out of rocks and mud, and they sleep on a dirt floor with no electricity or running water. To see people that are living like that first hand is something that cannot even be put into words.
I think this trip will help me in my future — going into the medical field, helping people is what I am passionate about doing and this mission trip made me even more motivated to help people.
I’ve always wanted to go on mission trips, it’s why I chose to pursue a profession in healthcare. The trip came together easily, and it was such a blessing to find a group that would help me grow as a person while doing meaningful work.
The most eye-opening part of the trip for me was seeing the living conditions of the people. It was hard to see people living so close to their animals in small homes that many family members shared. It was also hard seeing all the different kind of aid the people needed because you want to be able to help everyone, but you cannot necessarily do that in the moment.
I really bonded with a few of the kids that lived by our mission house. I’ll always remember them, and I hope that the work being done will benefit them immensely because kids are the future. I’ll also never forget taking a tour of a hospital because it put into perspective that there is always a need for good healthcare no matter where one goes.
I hope one day to return and follow up on some of the connections I made. I also would like to see the development of the area and overall well being of the people increase over time.
4. What did you learn about life and yourself from this experience?
I learned there were so many things that I was taking for granted. While there we experienced having no running water or electricity, not having a comfortable bed to sleep on, and having limited food sources. Those are all things that we wake up and just expect to have, and coming back I realized that I really did take those things for granted. I am much more grateful for everything now.
The people we worked with in Haiti had very little, but they still wanted to help us and share with us whenever they could, and despite their circumstances, they remained faithful to God. One can learn from this that no matter our situation we should always praise God and be servants of the Lord because although we may have little, we have so much more because of God.
5. Are you excited to share your mission experience with others?
Absolutely! There is so much that can be learned from an experience like this, and we are very blessed to have such a great mission team and Dave as our leader. I am planning to go next back next spring break with the others from MMC! I strongly believe that everyone needs to experience a trip like this, it is honestly life-changing. There are people out there that are much less fortunate than us, and I think it is our responsibility to give to people like God so graciously gives to us.
I am. I think a mission trip is something everyone should experience; it’s meaningful work and can change one’s perspective on life. I am excited to share my experience with the Mount Marty Community in hopes that others will have the same opportunity that I did.
There will be an informational meeting about the 2019 spring break mission trip to Haiti with Helping Hands for Haiti and Mount Marty College Campus Ministry on April 25, 2018 at 5:15 p.m. in Roncalli's South Dining Room. For more information contact Jordan Foos or Sr. Rosemarie.