“I felt like God answered my prayer,” said 17-year-old Ashlynne Basile (standing far right).
As Ashlynne Basile prepared to start her senior year at Regina High School in Warren, Michigan, she kept thinking that if there was one thing she would change about her high school experience, it would be that she would have liked to take a mission trip. During one week in particular this summer, those thoughts kept persisting. Then, toward the end of that week, her father received a phone call from a friend asking if she and her dad would be interested in volunteering on a service trip with International Samaritan.
“I always believed in God,” Ashlynne said, “but I don’t think I ever had a prayer so obviously answered like that. There’s no denying it. I felt like God answered my prayer.”
On July 30, Ashlynne traveled with a group of I.S. volunteers to Ocotillo, Honduras. For seven days, she worked in the garbage dump community, helping finish the construction of two new classrooms and assisting in the nursery. Ashlynne was particularly struck by the living conditions of the families. She is still having a hard time understanding what it would be like to live there.
“They had dirt floors, and the home was dark and damp,” she said. “They had a makeshift stove that looked like it was made out of an old garbage can. All I could think is I am so hot; I don’t know how the mom could be in there all day, working and doing the laundry.”
Ashlynne was touched by the woman who lived in the home. On the last day in Ocotillo, Ashlynne broke down, sad to be leaving the village and the children she bonded with. The woman came up to her. “She hugged me and had her children hug me, too,” Ashlynne said. “She was so sweet.”
Volunteering had an impact on her faith. “My whole life I’ve had the educational side, because I’ve gone to Christian schools my entire life,” Ashlynne said. “But now, I have a personal relationship with God. I feel like this experience made me closer with Him, and I want to learn more about my faith.”
She said the trip has changed her goals for the future, as well. “I’ve wanted to be a doctor since seventh grade,” Ashlynne said. “I am thinking now that it would be awesome to spend a couple of years being a doctor in a poor, Spanish-speaking country.”
Ashlynne has volunteered to share her story as the first International Samaritan Speech Ambassador. The primary goal of the I.S. Speech Ambassador Program is to help spread the word about I.S.’s mission and the people they serve. Speech Ambassadors are former I.S. service trip volunteers. They are encouraged to give at least one speech about their experience, and may also choose to raise funds through their speaking for an I.S. program of their choice.
International Samaritan provides Speech Ambassadors with materials and handouts, as well as guidance.
If you would like to nominate a former I.S. volunteer, or participate in the Speech Ambassador Program yourself, please contact Melissa Cunningham at mcunningham@intsamaritan.org.