Monica Bertha, a volunteer who has been to Rising Star Outreach’s India campus many times, shares her feelings of joy to visit the campus and colonies again: 
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This spring I returned to Rising Star Outreach for the third time. Even though each time there are new kids, new buildings, and new directors, it’s the same feeling of pure happiness every second of the day. Going to Rising Star Outreach, I expected to spend my time helping and changing the lives of others. I didn’t realize until I was there, though, that those gorgeous children and loving leprosy affected people were really changing ME. I know it sounds cliché, but I don’t know if there’s a better feeling in the world than holding the children’s little hands or wiping the grateful tears of the face of a beautiful woman who has no fingers or toes.

My favorite lady in one of the leprosy colonies is named Saral. It is so amazing how love speaks no language.  I know about four Tamil words, yet in a span of thirty minutes I loved Saral as much as a life long friend.  After I helped her walk through the different hygiene stations, we sat and she would rub my face and repeat my name smiling. Saral was so happy, yet she lived with almost nothing.  Saral, and every child at Rising Star Outreach, just made me realize how much I had at home, and how little I needed to be overwhelmingly joyous.

One of my main highs of everyday was having dozens of kids running towards me yelling, “Auntie Auntie! Come play!” and spending hours laughing the day away.  Every day there were so many kids holding my hands, giving me hugs, yelling my name, and quickly stealing my heart.

Though I am happy at home, there are no words to describe the level of happiness and love I feel everyday when I am at Rising Star Outreach. The experiences I’ve been given are memories I will treasure forever.

Contact Heidi Lelle to learn how you can become a volunteer with Rising Star Outreach or share your volunteer stories on our blog at:
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