The mission trip to the Dominican Republic has been an excellent source of rejuvenation for me as a college baseball coach. Day in and day out I see college students that believe that they are going without things. They are always needing that new cell phone, that new style of clothes, that new pair of sunglasses, that new baseball bat, or the newest glove. In November, we will be joining a group of 170 men and women that have 2 things in common: A love for baseball, and a passion to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. You will get to see young men who also have a love for baseball. However, these young men are not like the college students that I spoke of before. Instead of wanting all the new styles that are popular, these young men are worried about where their next meal will come from. They are worried about whether they will have shelter for the night. It is a totally different atmosphere. It is a totally different world. After hearing of such poverty and deficiency how can this be a source of rejuvenation for me? The reason is Jesus Christ! These young men are so hungry for a Savior! For their entire life the image of their Savior has been men like David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Tony Fernandez. All super star baseball players. This trip gives us an opportunity as believers to spread the good news of a Savior that is far greater than any baseball player. A Savior who can help with a shortage of food. A Savior that can help with lack of shelter. That Savior is Christ and He will change the world!
Emmanuel College Baseball Coach
Score International Web Site Address - www.scoreintl.org
Quotes from those that have been:
This trip was a very humbling and powerful experience for me. I got to share it with my wife, daughters and a group of wonderful young ladies and a dear friend. It has made me very thankful for the many blessings that God has put in my life. I got to watch these girls reach out to others whether it was in sugar cane village, orphanage or on the ball field. All of ours hearts were touched at some point during the week but one day especially when we visited Jackie’s house. We got to play with the children for a while and the gathered as a group and listen to Jackie tell her story about her home for these kids. It touched all of our hearts that day. God was working. This place was a blessing to these children and when they gathered around us to pray for blessings on us and safety in our travels it was very powerful to me. It was very touching for all of us to be there on that day. When the girls shared about their day at our devotion time that evening I knew why we were there. God has a reason. And when Jennifer made her decision of salvation I knew this trip was for a reason. I hope this trip was as great for everyone else as it was for me because I’ll never be the same. I never thought I would do something like this but God opened a door in my life and all I had to do was trust him and follow. We went to this place looking to help and I think they were helping us.
What did the mission trip to the Dominican Republic mean to me personally? This is the question proposed to me. Well, in one simple word: people. The people are the ones that really meant something to me. Not only was it the adults and players we came in contact with, but it was mainly the children.
Before leaving for the trip I anticipated most being back on the softball field and actually getting to play again after three years. I kept hearing, “It’s not about the softball. It’s not about the softball.” And I knew that. I knew we as a team, and I as an individual, had a bigger purpose of going than to just play. I just couldn’t tell my competitive spirit that. I couldn’t wait to get back on a field and actually play a game.
After practice on Sunday, I was even more excited to play. That night we all looked at our schedule for the next day and saw that we didn’t play until the afternoon, so we would be visiting an orphanage in the morning. When Monday morning came, we got up, had breakfast, got on the bus, and off we were to the orphanage. I have no idea what I was expecting the orphanage to look like, I just know that it wasn’t at all like I pictured. I was one of the first ones to walk in, and as soon as I did a girl named Diana came right up to me and grabbed my hand. All I could think to do was follow her, so that’s what I did, even into the smallest tree house you can possibly imagine. I followed her all morning, and she amazed me every single minute. I watched the way she interacted with her friends. The way she talked, the way she laughed, the gestures she did. It was all fascinating. She would try to talk to me, but I, knowing almost no Spanish, had no idea what she was saying. She still talked anyway, and I still listened. When they told us it was time to go, she stopped what she was doing and gave me the biggest hug. She didn’t want to let go, and neither did I. I think leaving her was the second hardest thing I had to do on the trip. The first will come later.
Monday afternoon we played our first game. Everybody was so nervous and excited to see the field we would play on and the girls we would play against. I was eager to scope out the competition and see what I needed to prepare for. We soon figured out the game ahead was not going to be a walk in the park. We watched them warm up and I can honestly say I was intimidated. Getting into the game, my intimidation didn’t slight one bit because in the second inning I was the leadoff batter. I despise leading off. Somehow my intimidation and hate of leading off canceled out my fear of striking out in my first at bat of three years, and I hit the ball. Quite far I might add. After that homerun though, my mind was at ease about playing and I wasn’t as intimidated.
After finishing the game, we returned to the SCORE Complex to get ready for another day. Tuesday we played in the morning and went to a sugarcane village in the afternoon. We had lots of fun and got to give out bats, gloves, and balls to the kids there. Wednesday came and we were headed to Jackie’s house. Prior to our arrival there, I learned it was a home for abused kids and children of prostitutes. When we arrived, they welcomed us with open arms. The cutest little boy ran right up to our group just smiling as big as he could. I immediately was drawn to a crib where a baby was lying and picked him up. He was so precious, but after realizing he had a dirty diaper Sherry took him to get changed. I then went to the playground where all the rest of the kids were.
I first saw the boy in the yellow and blue shirt playing with his older brother off by themselves. The little one would wander off and the older one would soon find him and take him down the slide or just put him on his shoulders. The little one let me play with him a while, then it was back to big brother again. About 30 minutes later, he came wobbling over to where I was sitting underneath a tree. He began picking leaves off and putting them in my hand, and I would drop them. What I saw as a silly thing was a game for him. We probably did that for 20 minutes. We played a little more on the playground and then we were told it was time to go. I carried him over to where we had gathered and just held him there. He must have played really hard that day because that baby fell asleep in my arms. For some reason, at that moment, my heart just broke. It hurt me to know that when that little boy woke up, he wouldn’t have any parents. He wouldn’t have a home to go to. Yeah, he might have someone to feed him, but that’s not the same as having someone there who is an actual blood parent. In that moment I felt so selfish. I realized that I take advantage of having parents who care about me and provide for me. I realized how selfish I am about everything in my life. It was a very heartbreaking and devastating feeling. It made me think about what really matters and what I need, other than the stupid little things I want. This was the revelation that changed my perspective for the whole trip. I’m still amazed at how God used a boy who wasn’t even 2 years old to make me realize the things I realized. Leaving that little boy in the yellow and blue shirt, my friends, is the hardest thing I had to do that week.
My trip to the DR was an amazing, heartbreaking, and unforgettable experience. The softball was great, but what really mattered was the people we came to know. Erick, Franky, Diana, and my little 2 year old miracle will never be forgotten. This trip has inspired me so much, that I have changed my plans for after graduation. I now plan to join the Peace Corps and teach overseas. This experience has burdened my heart for those in need, and I feel God really wants me to give back in this way. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me.
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