Sarah Jones rushed to Harrisburg International Airport as Hurricane Sandy approached.

While she flew away from a mess the storm would create in York County, her destination and future home included a dilapidated building, sick children, limited food, polluted water and a dire future.

But Jones, a Shrewsbury native and 2007 Susquehannock High School graduate, plans to change all that.

This week, she headed to an orphanage in Esperancita, a small town on the Honduran tropical countryside. About 100 children under age 18 live at the makeshift home, which she's visited several times on Christian mission trips.

Jones is on a four-month trip to start renovations on an abandoned medical clinic. If she gets the funding she needs, she'll move to the orphanage permanently this spring and live in the improved building with about 20 young girls.

"The girls face challenges ... They're all very ill. They don't have clean water," she said, adding that other orphans suffer from low immune systems and other health problems. "All the girls have ... heads full of lice, a lot of skin infections. They pass along ringworm easily."

A typical day for kids at the orphanage includes attending school with recess at noon and three meals per day of rice, beans and a corn tortilla.

"It's rare to have iron sources," Jones said. "A lot of them struggle with severe anemia."

The Christian ministry includes a church service for the children nearly every evening of the week, Jones said.

The children speak Spanish, which Jones is learning.

She said she's already learned of the crime dangers, especially in the cities, near the orphanage.

"There certainly are risks with being a young white female," she said. "I have to be careful ... I certainly don't walk around at night."

Jones was an exercise science and preventative health student at Slippery Rock University in 2012 when she joined a nearby church and became interested in Christian mission trips.

"My first missions trip was to Africa," she said, adding the experience opened her eyes to the needs of orphans in Third World countries and prompted another trip to Central America. "I feel the lord led me to Honduras."

On her blog, "El Mayor Amor," Jones writes of her experiences and plan to raise the orphans, help them with physical needs and show them love.

She said her family members took a while to "warm up" to the idea of her moving to Honduras, but are now "very" supportive."

"I am proud of Sarah," said her sister, Kate Jones, 26, of Windsor Township, via email. "She is so dedicated and devoted to her mission and those wonderful children in Honduras.

"The most important thing I want the community to know about Sarah and her mission I guess would be how devoted she is," she added.

"It's a little hard, knowing the obstacles and challenges she'll face, but how can you not support her and be happy that she is doing what she wants and what she loves, while helping others in the process," said their mother, Judy Jones of Shrewsbury, via email.

"As a parent, I am concerned about her safety and health," added their father, Timothy Jones, via email. "Sarah (and others) put their lives at risk to help children that will never have the opportunities that we take for granted. They are the greatest ambassadors we have."

New Freedom resident Patty Jackson is a friend of the Jones family. She's also been to Honduras on a mission trip.

Jackson bought some plastic bins and filled them with items -- including shoes, clothes and household objects -- to send to Honduras for Sarah Jones and children at the orphanage.

"When I returned from Honduras, I could not believe (Sarah) was going to move from this country to one of the poorest countries in the world to care for 18 orphaned girls," Jackson said via email. "Most girls her age are thinking about having their hair done or getting a mani-pedi and hitting the beach."