Meet the Missionaries

Karen Hunka

COUNTRY:

Ghana

ASSIGNMENT:

Accountant

SITE:

Diocese of Damongo

Karen is from Latrobe, PA and a member of St. Florian Parish in the Diocese of Greensburg. She is the mother of four adult children and spent her career as an accountant. Karen is serving as an accountant in the Diocese of Damongo, Ghana. She is assigned to the Diocesan Secretariat and also helps out at St. Ann Secondary School.

IN OWN WORDS:


More than twenty years ago I started telling my friends that I wanted my last job in life to be digging ditches and building huts in Africa. Most laughed, but those who knew me best believed that I would make it happen, and I did. Actually the Holy Spirit, coming to me after my Mother’s passing and telling me it was time to be that missionary that I had for so long desired to be, made it happen.

I am now living in the bushes outside the village of Damongo, Ghana. I am not digging ditches nor building huts but using my skills as an accountant for the Diocese of Damongo. The population in my village consists of Christians, Muslims and Traditionalists. In the Diocese alone there are over 20 different tribes. Most of the inhabitants speaks English, but there are many that do not. I enjoy going to the market and being able to greet the vendors and ask how much something costs in Gunga, the language of the largest tribe. The reaction I get is so warming, even when it is laughter. I can tell they appreciate the respect I give them for trying to speak their language.  

What brings me great joy are the children. When I first arrived most under the age of 3 would cry and run to their mothers when they saw me. Grade school children would run up to me and want to touch me. Now they see me as a normal person, walking through the market buying produce and bread just like everyone else. However, when I stop to speak with them the smile I get from their precious faces is indescribable.

My being here would not be possible without Lay Mission-Helpers. It is they who believed I was strong enough, mentally and physically, and young enough, not that being in your 60’s is old, to serve God’s people in the conditions found in the sub-Saharan dessert. Words cannot describe the knowledge I obtained in the four-month formation program mandated by LMH before my departure, nor could I have imagined the care that would be given to me while I am here. LMH flew me to the USA and back after the death of my daughter as well as flew me back to the USA because of the pandemic when everyone felt it would be safer in the USA than it is here. When I realized that Ghana was where I wanted to be regardless of the pandemic and once the borders were open for me to return I was flown back to be where I desire most to be, at my home in Ghana.

If you have the desire to help God’s children internationally, please do not think that you can dream it but it will never happen. It can happen. With God’s Grace and the help of Lay Mission-Helpers you too can be Blessed with the experience of a life time.