| Fire destroys Wrightstown family's home, possessions: But it also restored their faith and taught them about community
Rallies, prayer services, marches mark 31st anniversary of Roe v. Wade: Participants urged to continue fight against abortion
As U.S. dioceses implement stricter sex abuse policies and deal with accused priests, Vatican serves as quiet but watchful partner
Fr. Ron Rolheiser -- Our biggest challenge is to face our differences and accept others
Scott Fleischmann -- Patience, kindness, goodness deserve spot in workplace
Charlie Martin -- Our relationships should help us better become who God wants us to be
Fr. John Dietzen -- Answering questions about gluten-free hosts
Fr. Richard McBrien -- Unity requires tolerance for others' views
Kids' Chronicle: Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee in front of crowd that is first receptive, then hostile. Plus: Life of patron saint of Serbia
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Volunteer finds answers to prayers in Ghana
Appleton woman wondered if it was right thing until arriving
|EAGER STUDENTS: Sharon Van Straten of Appleton teaches English to students in Prampram, Ghana, on a service trip with Global Volunteers. (Submitted photo)
By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor
Many of us make travel plans because someone we know went first and made the place sound irresistible: The lights of Paris; The canals of Venice.
The red, sand streets of Prampram, Ghana?
For Sharon Van Straten of Appleton, her son, Steve Salm, and his love of this west African nation led to her 24-day trip in Ghana, teaching English to children and adults. (Ghana is a tropical country, about a third larger than Wisconsin, with a population of 20 million.)
"Steve started the relationship with his caring and love for the people and culture," said Van Straten, who attends both St. Joseph Church and St. Thomas More Church, with her husband, Russ.
Steven made a service trip to Ghana in the early 1990s, while a student at UW-Madison. He liked Ghana so much that he made several other trips, earned a doctorate in African studies, wrote a book on the country's culture, and now teaches African history at Xavier University in New Orleans.
So, when Van Straten stepped off the plane at Accra, the capital of Ghana, last November, it was like coming home.
"I saw all the Ghanaians around the fence, welcoming loved ones home," she said. "I saw all those hands waving to welcome people, and I realized that I was there because a loved one, my son, had been to this country many times."
There were plenty of times when Van Straten, a retired counselor from St. Joseph Middle School in Appleton, wondered why she was going on this service trip. "I don't think I've
ever prayed so hard for direction," she said about planning to go with the St. Paul, Minn., based Global Volunteers. Full story ...
Bills could curtail busing for private school students
Action alerts issued
Bishop calls for pro-life actions
More than 500 attend Diocesan Pro-Life Mass
Help Wanted Ads
Reflection on the Readings by Auxiliary Bishop Morneau --
February 1, 2004: Smile if you are a follower of Jesus
Explaining the Scripture by Fr. Richard Ver Bust --
February 1, 2004: God is with Jeremiah in his mission
Editorial -- Help marriages
President right to push steps to support marriage, but even more needs
to be done
Editorial -- Telling the truth
Efforts promote honesty about abortion
Foundations of Faith --
Wherever we are, we listen for the eternal echo
Saint of the Day --
Dying because he was a priest