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Vonore native helps 'Children of the Trash' find their voice

Left to right: Vonore native Adam Collins and Carson-Newman classmates Mikey Oppizzi, Jared
Belcher, Jamison Price and Laken Kimsey.
Published: 9:40 AM, 02/11/2013 Last updated: 9:54 AM, 02/11/2013

Author: Jessica Cross
Source: The Monroe County Advocate

Adam Collins woke up to singing on his 20th birthday in July 2012 in the Philippines.

Collins, a Vonore native, was on his first international mission trip with Arrowhead Church and along with his Carson-Newman University classmate Jared Belcher, had been given a task of creating a fundraising clip for the church's Rescue Ministries during a three-week mission trip.

Rescue Ministries, which founded and runs the WHY (The Wesley Home for Youth), was created four years ago by Dustin Gent. Gent had arrived in the Philippines on a two-year journeyman assignment, building churches, when he discovered the plight of the street children living in Cebu city dump. Nine years later he returned to the Philippines, spurring the creation of Rescue Ministries and later the WHY in 2009.

But, what began as a short clip soon turned into the beginning legwork for a film.  

Something greater than yourself

"The idea came together when Jared sat down with Dustin [Gent]]. The amazing part of this whole process of production is that going into the initial mission trip, we didn't plan at all for an actual film," said Collins, a 2010 graduate of Sequoyah High School. "We had planned to do just a short fundraising video for the Rescue Ministries."

The journey to the Philippines led Collins and Belcher to tell a story--a story that begins with poverty, but ends in hope.

"Refuge: Children of the Trash" is a story of Glenn, Mary-Grace and Melogin, three children living in the WHY and their journey from the worst of circumstances.

"We realized this had to be much more than a simple 'shoot and edit' video," said Collins.

The children's real home was the Cebu City dump, where their existence centered around poverty, gang violence and prostitution.

"These kids in the film come from very different homes," said Collins. "They come from towering green mountains and crystal clear beaches of the island of Cebu, but they lack clean water, a definite meal that day and proper shelter."

Collins said it was common for the kids he came in contact with on the trip to have only one piece of clothing and most do not attend school or have never never heard the Gospel.

"They have nothing. They are told they are nothing and so they feel like they are nothing," he reflected.

See full story in the Sunday, Feb. 10, edition of The Advocate & Democrat.

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