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West Orange Times & Observer Tuesday, Apr. 14, 2015 5 years ago

Ocoee teen heading to Ireland this summer with Teen Missions International

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by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

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OCOEE — Thirteen-year-old Amanda Kraus will be traveling out of the country for a second summer in a row with Teen Missions International. Last year, in Africa, she planted mango tree seedlings at the TMI base and made bracelets and held puppet shows with children at an AIDS orphan rescue unit.

This summer, she is spending a month in Dalkey, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, which might seem like a vacation destination, but Amanda knows otherwise. The teen and her travel companions are going there to build a wood shed and to share the gospel with residents. They will stay at Ireland Outreach, living in tents and using buckets for bathing and doing laundry.

Amanda has been part of TMI since she was 7 years old. The youngest team members are called Peanuts, and their first trip is to the mission organization’s Merritt Island base. Amanda was part of a choir team that performed for nursing home residents.

In her second and third years, she was on the Cookie Command team, baking cookies and delivering them to nursing homes. When she was 11, she worked with the Navajo Indians in Arizona, landscaping a Bible camp and helping with Vacation Bible School.

But perhaps her greatest summer so far was her 2014 mission trip to remote African villages in Malawi. She had wanted to go there for several years and said it was a blessing to be able to raise enough money to go.

“I liked the outreach part of it, and I liked that I could work with old people and young people,” Amanda said. “And I loved being able to share the gospel with people.”

She brought back many stories of the young children who were orphaned after their parents died of AIDS. Many of these children were living with AIDS themselves. Amanda said these survivors are living on their own off the land of their parents, and some are as young as 6 or 7 years old. She hopes to return to Malawi to continue her mission work.

Her parents, Brian and Sally Kraus, of Ocoee, have four other children, and three of them have traveled through Teen Missions International. Another is going on his first trip this summer.

Teen Missions International is sending 44 teams on trips this year to countries like Cambodia, China, Haiti and Israel.

Raising money

The mission trip will cost Amanda and her family $2,800; she hopes to raise $2,000 of that. To provide funding, donations can be made in her name at teenmissions.org/donate.

Amanda also has planned several fundraising events.

A Spirit Night will take place from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, at House Blend Café, in Ocoee, and 10% of the evening’s sales will be donated to Amanda. Raffle tickets also will be sold for the chance to win an Electra Townie bicycle, valued at $450, or various spa baskets. For ticket information, call Jackie Kelly at (352) 874-7049.

House Blend is at 10730 W. Colonial Drive, Ocoee. To make an order to be picked up after 3 p.m., call(407) 656-7676 before 10 a.m.

A second fundraiser will be a Cake & Coffee Social, with home-baked cakes and treats, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at Clermont Business Connections, 1795 E. Highway 50, Suite A, Clermont. She will be sharing photos and details about her last mission experience in Africa.

For more information, call Jackie Kelly at (352) 874-7049.

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