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Haitian Orphans Expand Autumn Kasinger’s Perspective

By selling candy bars in the Excel break room and asking friends and family for donations, Autumn Kasinger, daughter of Leonard Kasinger, OEM Manager, was able to raise $1,600 to support her travel expenses for a mission trip to Haiti.

Autumn, along with 48 other high school students from Harvest Bible Chapel in East Peoria traveled to the mountains of Haiti for 10 unforgettable days. From the moment they stepped off of the plane, their perspectives broadened. They drove through the streets, silently watching children run barefoot amongst piles of randomly discarded garbage. Haiti, with 70% unemployment and no ability to supply basic human needs such as running water, was very different from Central Illinois.

The students shared laughter and love with hundreds of children from two isolated orphanages. Many of the children had been there since infancy. Autumn and the others planned and conducted a Vacation Bible School adventure for the children including crafts, games and a soccer tournament. At the end of their trip, they worshiped with 800 Haitians at their local church, even singing the same music in both Haitian and English.

The climate was hot, the hours of riding in cramped trucks and buses were long, the food was strange and communication was a challenge. But the inconveniences didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit or passion for serving others.

Autumn humbly said, “I was beyond blessed to be able to have this awesome experience. I don’t think I would trade this trip for anything. I met some incredible people and made some incredible memories. I am very thankful for the financial support and the overflow of prayers, I couldn’t be more grateful. Seven full days could and will never be enough, I wish I could still be down there. I loved seeing how God worked not only in my life, but in everyone around me. The Haitians were so grateful for everything we did there, from the big stuff to the little stuff. We think they’re in poverty, but they are so rich because of their love for Jesus. It’s us at home who have so much and miss out so often on the one who really matters – Our Amazing God!”

Autumn plans on going back to Haiti in 2017 for another mission trip. “It’s a fantastic experience that is very eye opening. It is not every day that there is an opportunity to see how fortunate we are in the United States,” said her father, Leonard. She went to Haiti to help change their world, but as it so happened, her world changed.

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