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February 02, 2012 06:05 PM

Kids Capture The Heart Of Mission Trip Group


All this week KELOLAND News has been following a group of South Dakota volunteers building a church in the Dominican Republic.


But ever since they arrived, kids in the neighborhood have been stealing their attention as well.

With walls up and rafters now too, the Dominican building project this South Dakota team has been working on is moving along quickly.

But that's not what takes up the team members conversations at the end of the day.

"I know about eight words; we can get most of the things figured out. And they just like to have fun playing catch, running around, playing pig pile, whatever. They just like to have a good time and I think that translates whatever language you have," Heath Oberloh said.

That's of course the kids in this community Oberloh is talking about. One by one, they've won the hearts of every team member here.

There's Johanson helping his litter sister wash mud off her feet and put shoes on. He joins all the others asking to play one game or another every chance they get.

Brian King of Sioux Falls has five kids back at home and wasn't expecting to connect with the kids here they way he has.

"That helps me miss them a little bit more but also in a way connect with them a little bit more," King said.

He's noticed how similar these kids are in a way to his own.

But at the same time, it's hard not to notice how different some of their lives are from many children living in South Dakota.

You can see here, some have very worn shoes to wear, others none at all. 15-year-old Miki Hernandez says washing clothes is a chore he needs to do at home.

"You can either use a machine or you can scrub it with your hands," Hernandez said.

I asked if he has to wash by hand at his home.

"Si, si," Hernandez said.

But at the end of the day, that too isn't the topic of conversation amongst team members.

"I think just the love that they give so easily and the happiness that they have with so little and the appreciation that they have for someone showing that they care. That's really what's going to stick with me," Oberloh said.

Long after the team leaves and settles back into the American life as these kids continue living this one day in and day out.

The team has already gone through one soccer ball and a second one is pretty beat up as well.
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