KAPA‘A — Tanisha Hough will be offering a public slide presentation about her relief work as a Christian Missionary in Mozambique at Kilauea Theater Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Hough, a 2007 graduate of Kapa‘a High School, said her recent three-month training in Africa was full of miracles and people that changed her life.
“I think more than anything, they really changed me,” she said.
What changed her heart the most, Hough said, was to see the poor still be so happy. Working in the villages of widows and orphaned or abandoned children she learned to appreciate life for what it is and said people find happiness in the worst of conditions.
“I want to be a missionary, to love people and to show God’s love,” she said. “That is what I am made for. That is my purpose.”
It all started with Hough being called to attend the University of the Nations school in Kona. From there she joined Youth With A Mission, a partnering inter-denominational nonprofit Christian organization based in Kona that works with volunteers around the world on missions.
After three months of discipleship training school, Hough was given the Iris Ministries Orphanage mission in Mozambique. Others were sent to locations including New York City, Orange County California, Nepal, Cambodia, South Africa, South Sudan and Japan.
Iris Ministries, another Christian organization, places students with long-term volunteers that serve on location for up to 10 years. Most student groups go for three weeks but Hough said her 11-member team from around the world completed a three-month mission.
“I was working with different cultures within a different culture,” she said. “I was part of YWAM and that allowed us to stay longer than three weeks.”
Every day was different and working with the same team made it easier, she said. Her team worked with short-term missionaries to perform specific ministries.
The Mercy Ministries group went further to identify specific community needs and attempt to do more for the widows. They also built mud and bamboo huts for the disabled.
Other duties included delivering daily rice and bean rations to the many widows. She said they have no source of money and it is all they have to eat each day.
The team would also take part in village discipleship. They would teach the kids English and play games with them.
The kids in turn told stories and sang songs of praise together. They loved to hang out and get their pictures taken with the volunteers.
One of her biggest joys was with the weekend Bush-Bush Outreach. The Iris Ministries group would take the missionaries to the bush, and visit remote villages where outsiders are rare and translators are essential.
“We camped out in tents and were completely away from civilization,” she said. “We could see what its like to live without electricity or running water.”
“It was amazing,” Hough said.
The goal was to “evangelize, love on them and pray for them.” She said that many people who found the faith experienced miracles of healing and transformation.
The Prison Ministries is a twice a week program to pray and share gods love with inmates.
“It is just amazing to see the men and women there,” she said. “You would think they would be sad and depressed but they weren’t. They had so much joy from our visits with them.”
The Hospital Ministries ran three times a week. They met with the suffering that included the blind and children who lost limbs to animal bites.
The volunteers offered support for a generation of orphaned children who lost parents to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The survivors face starvation, malaria and cholera.
The volunteers had several immunizations before traveling and take malaria pills regularly while they are in Africa.
Hough said her favorite ministry was Village Discipleship.
Children from neighboring villages come to Iris where they are fed rice and beans. The volunteers get the kids in line, to wash their hands, perform skits, and sing songs.
“Some people taught them English, which was really cool because all the kids want to learn English,” she said.
She said the children are very cute and that doesn’t hurt. She didn’t expect that they would teach her the joys of a simple life and said it cut through the culture shock of coming from a place where she has everything she could want.
“It changed my perspectives and attitude,” she said.
Hough is leaving for the Kona campus again in a few weeks. Now she will attend a three-week seminar on injustice. She said people in Mozambique are risk for sex trafficking, child prostitution, poverty, starvation and unclean water.
“We saw young girls as young as 10 on the roadside trying to sell their bodies for food. It breaks my heart and its not right,” she said. “A lot of times you think you’re just one person, but you can still do something about it.”
After the seminar, Hough begins a three-month leadership training on how to better serve others. Then she starts staff discipleship training school to change her status from student to leader.
When its all done another international outreach mission could take her anywhere. She is praying for Mozambique where she has many established relationships.
As the eldest of three siblings, Hough is the first in her family to do missionary work. She said her parents and siblings were raised in the church and support her calling.
“I don’t think my family was so worried and they knew that God really wanted me to go to Mozambique,” she said. “The safest place to be is with God’s will.”
The experience has kindled her passion for talking to people and she plans to go on to counseling and even to become a psychologist some day.
The event is free and open to the public. Any donations would go to the next non-paid mission and participants pay for their own room and board.
Contact Hough at email@example.com for more information. Visit uofnkona.edu and irisministries.org to check out the schools.