SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- -

Taellor Stearns' beaming smile could ignite the darkest corners; she chose to bestow it on an impoverished place in the globe where she felt God had called her.

"She wanted to live as an example," explained close friend Annie Fritsch. "She didn't even have to think about it." 

A year and a half ago, Taellor and her family left Ozark, Missouri, for Managua, Nicaragua, with Project Hope, which is a ministry that builds concrete and wood homes.

Building homes was just the beginning. The family started several ministries.  Taellor's heart always led her to children.

"She loved to go to the kids that weren't being loved, that didn't get that attention, that weren't going to be able to understand the love of Christ because they didn't get that anywhere," said Fritsch.

So sure of her calling, Fritsch said Taellor graduated a semester early from Ozark High School so she could set off sooner on her mission.

That mission, though, was cut short a week ago on Saturday.

"She went from sitting in hammock to being in heaven," said Fritsch.  While sitting in the hammock, Taellor was struck by a rotting tree that gave way.

She was 19. 

Hundreds attended her funeral in Nicaragua. "These are people that don't have vehicles, and they came from miles around, explained pastor Andy Thornton. "Miles they would walk to come there."

They walked for the young woman who gave unconditionally and often in dangerous and undesirable conditions such as feeding stations in city landfills.

Instead of focusing on her untimely death, Taellor's loved ones want her to be remembered for her remarkable life and the light she brought to others.

"Nobody will forget her; nobody will forget what she's done," said Fritsch. "Those kids are going remember the love that she showed them."