Saturday, 21 April 2018 21:31

Mission Team Spends Break in Dominican Republic

A group from Valley Lutheran High School traveled to Sosua, Dominican Republic, during Easter Break to share Christ’s love with children there and in two neighboring villages.

A total of 33 people were on the trip (24 students and nine adults and chaperones), which took the team to the nearby Monticillo and Redemption villages.  Spanish teacher Renee Brenner had been on four previous mission trips but said this one was different for a couple of reasons.  “In the past, we have worked with kids at orphanages,” Brenner said. “The kids we worked with in the Dominican Republic lived with some sort of family in their tiny homes. However, the kids seemed to be raising themselves because the adults were working.”  Because of a lack of adult supervision, Brenner said the kids were rough at times and not always well behaved.  “The missionaries have been working with the kids trying to teach them better behavior, English, and of course about Jesus,” she said. “Also, I’ve never been to a place with such a shortage of access to clean water.”

The Valley contingent led VBS and played with the children. They also helped raise money to leave something positive behind.  “Our long-term projects included a school supply drive for the children at the villages who can’t afford the materials they need,” Brenner said. “We also raised $500 to purchase wood for tables in a church/community center in Montecillo. We constructed and painted 18 tables while there.”

The group also raised enough to purchase cement and helped lay a part of a sidewalk though Redemption Village. Through additional donations, they also were able to purchase three drills to be used by missionaries for future projects.

Valley Lutheran students served in their own individual ways during the trip — either by building, performing a puppet show in Spanish, or playing soccer, baseball, and volleyball with the kids.

“It was neat seeing the kids using their Spanish to try to communicate while there,” Brenner said. “One interesting challenge was that some of the village kids spoke Creole (a French mix) because their parents were illegal immigrants to the DR from Haiti, who came in search of a better life.”

The biggest takeaway of the trip, Brenner said, was seeing the lack of access to drinkable water and basic sanitation.  “The houses where they lived were really just shacks without running water and no toilet. These villages are lucky if they receive trash pick up once every six weeks,” Brenner said. “Yet the kids dressed in clean clothes. You could tell they cared about their personal appearance and tried to stay clean, brush their teeth, etc.”  Brenner added that the missionaries who work in the DR are trying to raise money for more access to water and ways to help their village be more sanitary. The missionaries run classes to educate the people about cleanliness and parenting, as well as teaching them about the Bible.
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