Parkview Christian Women Drumming Up Support for Mission Trip to Africa

Laura Walter and Mandy Showalter will travel to Kenya in June with Parkview Christian Church, to train teachers at Mission for Hope Schools.

Laura Walter and her sponsor son, John, in Turkana, Africa last year.
Laura Walter and her sponsor son, John, in Turkana, Africa last year.
In the desert expanse of Turkana, Africa, few things are important as afternoon tea. 

People in the tribal region make a point of settling in for a cup, catching with their neighbors and visitors—like Homewood resident Laura Walter. Walter visited Kenya and the region of Turkana for the first time last year, and she loved it so much, she plans to return this June. 

"The first time, I just felt the call to go," Walter said. "My husband looked at me like I was crazy.

But still she went, with husband Rick by her side. This time, she'll travel with fellow Homewood resident Mandy Showalter. The woman and their church Parkview Christian of Orland Park will fly into Kenya before embarking into the desert land Turkana as part of Missions of Hope International, a group that helps erect schools in and around Kenya.

In the group's upcoming 12-day trip, its volunteers will train teachers at the schools, and conduct a vacation bible school, Walter said. She'll work with her 8-year-old sponsor son John, and spend time with his people in their surroundings of grass huts and sandy landscapes. 

"These people, they have absolutely nothing," Walter said. "No electricity, no running water. 

"And they are the happiest, warmest people I've ever met in my life."

The Turkana people want to better themselves, Walter said. 

"They want to learn how to support themselves. So training these teachers—it translates to all other Mission of Hope schools."

To help fund the efforts, Walter and Showalter are holding a '90s-themed fundraiser March 22 at Durbin's in Tinley Park, 17265 S. Oak Park Ave. Admittance is $30, which buys guests beer, wine and pizza from 7 to 10 p.m. 

Raffle tickets are being sold at $20 apiece, with a chance to win $1,000, $500 or $100. Those interested can contact Laura at laura.walter@kw.com, or call 708-218-4645.


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