Your donation is tax deductible through the Terry Mikeska Foundation 501 (c) (3). 100% of your donation goes directly to the mission work, all of the travel expenses for this mission has been underwritten. This September/October 2016 will be my 2nd mission trip the Nepal. After spending last fall of 2015 providing rice pots, rice, school supplies, clothes and basic necessities to over 10 villages effecting over 3000 folks I was determined to make my next mission even bigger with education.... Terry Mikeska did not set out to become a full time missionary for the poorest people on the other side of the world last October and November 2015, but his recent efforts to help victims of a Nepal earthquake brought immense surprises and a rethinking of life priorities.
"I just wanted to do this on my own, go to Nepal and help the two students I was sponsoring and their family," Mikeska said in an interview at Bentwood Country Club after recovering from the three-week trek through dangerous territory.
He wound up becoming an emissary from San Angelo, carrying $16,000 in donations that made a difference to 3,000 fragile lives, their world crumbled by an explosive 7.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing mudslides in April. An estimated 9,000 people had died and 3 million were displaced from their homes, family members and their most important worldly possession: the rice cooking pot.
"Word got out that I was planning this trip to Nepal after I announced it on Facebook and then the Standard-Times wrote about it. Then the money just poured out from the community, everything from $10 donations to checks. So many people, individuals, churches, businesses and foundations contributed, even military from overseas, many I've never met," the San Angelo entrepreneur said.
"Now I have a following and they want to donate for other missions, whether it's Nepal, Mexico or anywhere else."
Mikeska already was well-traveled, and a few years ago he was looking for a way to make a difference. Searching online, he found two young men, brothers in Kathmandu, and started contributing to help them through school. They hadn't yet met in person but stayed in frequent contact.
When the earthquake happened, Mikeska was terribly worried.
"The kids managed to Skype me after five days, and I was so excited to hear from them, but then so sad because I couldn't send them anything to help because all the systems were down for quite awhile."
Nightmares and sleeplessness drove him to make the journey to Nepal as soon as it was accessible – despite U.S. State Department warnings against the trip because of continuing earthquake potential and political unrest. "I kept seeing the boys wet and cold, with only a tarp over them to shelter from the constant rains. They were hungry and frightened."
He made the trip in late October and experienced not only a vastly different culture but also unimaginable poverty. His three-day flights, each way, were funded through frequent flier miles, and he usually stayed in the homes of villagers in the remote destinations where help was most needed. His hosts and guides on the mission journey were Sujan and Rajan Kafle, the 19- and 23-year-old brothers he sponsors, and their extended family.
The three-week "Fill the Rice Pot" mission managed to restock a school, library and several orphanages and provide rice pots in several villages. The Standard-Times published periodic dispatches in the "Terry's Travels" series, and people continued to send money to his home address and through a fundraising account on GiveForward.com, which he was able to access to help while in Nepal.
After seeing how much good can be done, Mikeska plans a return trip to Nepal.
His mentor, the late philanthropist Eva Camuñez Tucker, whom he assisted for many years, had a saying that Mikeska is now understanding at a deeper level: "Do the most good for the most people." He said it may be time to start a nonprofit to that end.
"If I can make a difference in one person's life — not to mention the more than 3,000 folks on this last trip — I have thoughts of supplying solar panel kits to the poor families, educational materials for schools and clean purified water kits for the homes.
"Nothing is more rewarding in life than doing the most good for the most people."
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