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Ruffsdale nurse heeds call for mission trip

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Teresa Vitigoy

Teresa Vitigoy has never flown in an airplane in her 52 years of life.

That going to change tomorrow for the Ruffsdale resident, who will be one of nine members of the Sonrise Church in Greensburg traveling to Kenya on a mission trip to the Spiritual Nourishment Church.

That religious community also runs a high school and an orphanage.

“It was a certain call from a higher power that will get Vitigoy on her first airplane.

“There's a need,” she said. “I want to obey God and God is calling me to go. There's an orphanage and a school. I'll be ministering there....They're excited that a team from America is coming to bring God's word.”

Vitigoy — who is a nurse at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital — and fellow church members started a relationship with the Kenyan religious community after a visit in August 2012 by the Bishop Dickson Ochuto, the religious community's overseer and founder. That visit led to Sonrise parishioners sponsoring children in the orphanage and sending care packages. Vitigoy has been involved in this as well and her daughter and husband sponsor three brothers.

“He made us aware. He let us know what the needs are,” Vitigoy explained. “Our church sponsors the orphans. Each family sponsors one or two, sends money monthly...We're looking forward to meeting the kids and just being able to do whatever they need while we're there.”

Vitigoy admitted came away from Ochuto's visit very impressed with him.

“He's an amazing, amazing man,” she said of the bishop. “He definitely called of God. He has started several churches, runs the orphanage and the school. He has quite a calling on him.”

While in Kenya, the team of teachers and an electrician will serve as helping hands where needed.

“(Ochuto) wants me to do a lot of teaching about health and wellness,” Vitigoy said. “He has even opened it up to the villagers so that they can learn as a community. It's quite the opportunity.”

Vitigoy admits there are some nerves about her first plane flight. After all the journey is expected to take about 29 hours with a layover in Washington D.C. The final leg of the trip will see the travelers flying from Istanbul, Turkey to Kenya.

“(I'm) a little bit (nervous), but that's OK,” Vitigoy said. “I know God has it in control. It's like walking on the water.”

Vitigoy became a nurse late in life. She explained she was working at the Westmoreland County Courthouse, but decided a new path was what she should take. In 2008, she earned her nursing degree and now works on Excela Health Westmoreland's fourth floor.

It seems she just always had a heart for helping others and that's what she's looking to do on her journey to Kenya.

The group plans to take much needed supplies to leave behind. Also, she is hoping to take laptop computers for the students.

“It's cheaper than books,” Vitigoy said of how laptop computers can help the youths in the area which range in age from babies to age 21. “They can just download them. I can't wait to come back with good reports. It's going to be awesome.”

Paul Paterra is a staff editor at Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or