Sometimes, the only help they could offer was prayer.
They ate things they never dreamed they would consume such as fried iguana in Nicaragua, barbecue silkworm and dog meat in China, fertilized duck eggs in the Philippines, and fish heads in Mozambique.
In many cultures it is rude not to eat the food that is offered, they said.
"It gave us a picture of how skewed our idea is of being happy and satisfied," Ashley said.
John Michael added, "As Americans, we have no idea what it is like to starve."
They also realized how unimportant fashion can be as they shopped in thrift stores to get clothing at several stops and then donated items when they left to move on to a new location. For the entire journey, they carried backpacks with essentials such as bug spray, headlamps, toiletries, medications, Bibles and sleeping bags.
The Bonassos were initially among a group of 45 that began the mission trip. They split into groups of seven and lived on a food allowance of $4 a day.
While things sometimes got tough, coming home has been challenging, too. They describe it as "reverse culture shock."
"In other countries you expect things to feel different," Ashley said. "Here things used to feel normal. Not anymore."
They are thankful to visit friends and family and enjoy the comforts of home.
But they feel called to do more mission work, this time in the United States.
They are currently involved in planting a church in Florida where they are looking for jobs and stepping out on faith.
Ashley, 25, plans to stay in nursing. John Michael, 25, is considering a call to the ministry. They want a family.
Their advice to others considering a mission trip is to go. They have no regrets.
They also point out that there is mission work to be done at home, where people also are in need of food, medical attention, and a sense of caring.
They admit it is scary looking for employment.
"Joy and faith were two things I felt myself getting so much better at," John Michael said of the mission trip. "The easiest place to be is listening to the Lord."
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.