Grad follows through on senior project
LAKE GENEVA Riely Mikrut could have given herself a pat on the back after her 30-hour fast resulted in pledges to feed 11 children in Haiti for a year.
She could have taken credit when an anonymous donor quadrupled her pledges so 44 children would benefit.
Instead, the 18-year-old recent Badger High School graduate traveled to Haiti in April on a one-week mission to work with the children she helped feed.
When congratulated for her work, Mikrut refused to allow herself to be in the spotlight.
"It's all for God's glory," she said.
Mikrut has multiple plans for the short term, including higher education.
She's been accepted at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, and she has applied for a nine-month missionary project called Passport Immersion that would take her to Central America, Asia and Africa in three-month segments.
"I've prayed a lot about my next move," she said. "We'll see what happens."
Mikrut's strong faith stems from her church, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lake Geneva. The church offered her a slot for the recent mission to Haiti.
"I'm on a culinary team," she said. "We missed winning state and moving on to the nationals by one point, but that meant I was available for the Haiti mission. It all works out in the end."
Having the opportunity to see the dollars she raised for children in Haiti in action was a happy and sad experience.
"On the one hand, it was so sad to see the poverty and the children suffering," she said. "They have old clothing and live in shacks. We saw one family of 12 living in a 12-by-12 room with a tin roof that leaks. The kids had palm leaves on their heads to try to keep dry."
Mikrut wondered if the mission to Haiti would happen.
"We flew from Miami to Port-au-Prince and then took a small plane to Jeremie," she said. "We ran into a terrible storm but arrived OK. It was a little scary, though. We landed on a small dirt runway that had turned to mud with gravel spots and big ruts. The children were lined up along the sides of the runway."
The redeeming part of the trip was the reaction she received from the children.
"I just can't tell you what it felt like to see those kids' faces when we visited with them and brought them some toys," Mikrut said. "Their joy and their hugs made it all worthwhile."
Mikrut and others on the Haiti mission distributed toys donated by St. Francis De Sales School in Lake Geneva.
While deciding whether to attend college this fall or do mission work for a year, Mikrut is visiting with her grandmother, who is looking for land for an orphanage.
"We're down here in Georgia looking at some property to establish an orphanage," Mikrut said last week. "She has been looking at property in different parts of the country, and I'm happy to help her as she prepares for the orphanage."
Her high school experiences and plans for the next few years fit into a long-range goals, Mikrut said.
"I plan to become a Christian worship leader and a composer of songs of hope," she said. "I'll be involved with a nonprofit organization, and I'll be a missionary for the rest of my life."