Diamond in the Rough: Knoxville youth learn from Dominican trip

8:31 AM, Jul 11, 2013   |    comments
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16 members of Sevier Heights Baptist Church recently went to the Dominican Republic with One Vision International.

Among that group were seven members under the age of 18 and one who was just short of her eighth birthday, along with 10 News' Steve Phillips.

The result was a trip neither the visitors nor the Dominicans will soon forget.

"I think that the language is obviously a barrier but it is also a bond there," said One Vision volunteer Bryan Delius, "because you're trying so hard to understand them, they want to understand you they want to get to know you."

Despite that barrier, the camaraderie came quickly.  One Vision's Claudia Mckenzie said seeing Americans travel all that way to be with them makes an impact on the kids.

"They will know that people are here solely because they hear of them, because they feel love for them, even though they didn't know them," said Mckenzie. "And this is the wonderful thing about this."

Matilda Santiago Herrera wanted to keep the kids of her neighborhood out of trouble, so she started an after school program that drew the attention and then the support of One Vision.

"They have been a great help with the activities that we do, with the snacks we give them, the food we give them," said Herrera. "I can say that One Vision has helped with everything that we do over here."

Taking teenagers on a mission trip isn't all that unusual.  Brelan Delius is.  She celebrated her eighth birthday when she returned home from her first mission trip.  Brelan often played with the Spanish-speaking Dominicans her age without an interpreter.

"When this trip came up we said well we'll check and they said the age had to be ten and we thought she's not even eight yet there's no way she can go on this trip," said Summer Delius, Brelan's mother.  "We talked to her and she said I understand if its God's will that I go John will say yes so obviously it was God's will that she come."

Each parent expressed the same reason for wanting their children to be on this trip to La Vega:  to see the world as it is for themselves.

"We felt that they might be losing sight of what might really be going on in other parts of the world and even in our own country," said One Vision volunteer Tiffany Webb.

Sevier Heights Minister of Families Carl Smith said it was an important life lesson, especially for the younger members of the group.

"To see the great need that is around them spiritually, but also the great need that is around them physically, as well as economically," said Smith.

The trip taught or re-enforced those lessons, and maybe even a few others:

 "I think that we're really blessed to have this stuff but that we should also be thankful for it, for what we have," Brelan Delius said.

"For our kids, seeing them want to serve, and help other people, and Alex wants to be here for a month, but we aren't ready to do that just yet," said One Vision volunteer Gary Webb.  "Just seeing their desire to help people, to play with people, and show love to them is wonderful."



















































































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