Make-a-Wish Youth Picks Mission Trip Over Excursion

Post a Comment » Written on May 14th, 2008     
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CRYSTAL LAKE, IL (May 14, 2008) – As of today, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has made dreams come true for more than 164,000 children with life-threatening illnesses. According to its website, the charity is granting new wishes every 40 minutes.

Ten-year-old Marisa Monbrod’s wish is rare among all of them: she wants to go on a mission trip.

In July, Marisa – whose leukemia is in remission – will travel on a weeklong trip to help people in a severely impoverished region of Appalachia. Her family, which attends Hope Covenant Church, will join her, including her eight-year-old brother, Ricky.

MarisaInitially, she considered a trip to swim with dolphins or staying in an Irish castle. But she decided on the mission trip last summer after watching Monganga Paul, the Paul Carlson Partnership video on the life of Evangelical Covenant Church medical missionary Dr. Paul Carlson, who was killed in 1964 in Congo.

“It was really nice the way he helped them (the Congolese) and that he risked his life,” Marisa says.

Marisa also was inspired by the Department of World Mission’s 2007 VBS project to raise money for sandals that were distributed among Sudanese children, notes her mother, Maggie.

Her parents had no idea the girl was considering the mission trip. “I wouldn’t have thought about that myself – and at that age,” Maggie says. “She just came to me and told me she wants to do this. She said, ‘I want to do something like that doctor who died.’ ”

Her dad, Rich, says he and Maggie deliberately avoided trying to influence Marisa on what she should pick as her wish. “We told her it has to be something you want to do, not what we want you to do.”

Marisa was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005. She has refused to let the disease slow her down. She recently broke an eight-minute-mile in a local race. Throughout her treatment, Marisa continued to compete with a local swim team.

“She’s been a fighter since the word go,” says Rich.

“I thank God he gave her more strength than I have to go through all this,” Maggie says. “She’s a sweet girl, but also very strong.”

Marisa currently is not undergoing treatments, but sees a doctor every other month.

Marisa initially wanted to minister in Congo, but the tense political situation and the need for her own continued treatment at the time made that trip impossible. Instead, the Monbrods will work with the Appalachian Dream Center (ADC). The ministry offers food, education and other support services to families in the region around Logan, West Virginia.

The area is one of the poorest in West Virginia. According to the ADC website, the population of 26,000 has an average yearly income of only $7,900 – the lowest in the state. The 20 percent unemployment rate is the highest.

“I’m looking forward to telling them about God,” risa says – and demonstrating God’s love through her actions.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation hopes the community will help provide supplies for the Monbrods to share. Among the items Marisa has requested are toys, backpacks, school supplies, bibles, notebooks, copies of the “Adventures in Odyssey” compact disc series, low-tech or crank-powered radios and CD players, and clothes.

The Monbrods are grateful for the help they have received from their church and community since Marisa was diagnosed. Families have cooked, shoveled snow from the driveway, and babysat so Rich and Maggie can have evenings out. A benefit race, Miles for Marisa, also was held.

“We feel very blessed to have so many people who have been so nice to us,” Rich says.

Individuals desiring to donate money for supplies should mail a check made payable to Hope Covenant Church at 451 Ackman Road, Crystal Lake, IL, 60014. Designate in the memo line that it is for the Make-A-Wish fund.

Editor’s note: Our appreciation to photographer Travis Haughton and the Northwest Herald newspaper, which provided the accompanying photograph.

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