LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - When Buckner International in Lubbock took 22 volunteers to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, they aimed to change lives.
The team members came from the South Plains and all across Texas. They arrived at the small island on June 14.
For the next two days, they immersed themselves in the culture.
They took boxes of shoes to two separate Family Hope Centers and gave about 300 pairs to children who are considered as social orphans.
They washed the children's feet with wet wipes, put socks on them and then followed with a brand new pair of shoes.
"It doesn't bother me at all," said Lisa Ramirez, as she washed a child's foot. "I want them to know that it's okay, I don't care what their feet are like. I'm here and I'm happy, and I love them…no matter what."
These shoes were donated through shoe drives Buckner hosted this past Spring. The South Plains alone collected 3,200 shoes to divide between multiple countries.
"This is maybe their only pair of shoes that they get for a year, and as you have seen here in the Dominican, there is just raw sewage," said Jerry Rodriguez, minister of missions and Buckner initiatives at First Baptist Church of Lubbock. "Wherever you look, you'll see raw sewage."
In addition to giving shoes, the volunteers also split into separate craft, recreation and bible story teams that further acquainted them with the children.
"It really doesn't matter that we don't speak the language here," said Mike McDougal, "because we can have fun with them, and put our arm around them and hug them."
All of volunteers returned to Texas saying they will no longer "take anything for granted."
"It just goes to show it doesn't take stuff to make you happy," Mary Ann Kring, "and oh, that's so convicting."
Check out Ashlyn's Facebook page to see more photos and video from the trip!