Our amazing and life-changing trip continues. The Dominican Republic is an unbelievable place filled with unbelievable people. We see the beauty of the country and the people every day. I must say that we also see the abject poverty every day as well. It is certainly an eye opening experience for our players.
After a relaxing day off on Sunday, we were back at it on Monday. The morning took us to “Fundacion “Lirio Del Valle.” It is a small ministry in the sugar cane village of Caoba. My good friend “Ms. Dolly” organizes a group of women who started a ministry with the local children They buy school clothes, books, and food for over 120 children of the village. Normally, we get to play with the kids and feed them. However, we could not this time due to Covid. We were able to take 15 bags of food to give to 15 families of the village. The mothers came and met us at the playground. There were so thankful for the bag of food that would feed their family for 4-7 days depending on the size of the family. Later, after a great lunch, we visited the Orfanto Ninos de Cristo. This is the same organization that ran the girls orphanage we visited on Friday. After touring the orphanage, we played baseball, basketball, and soccer with the boys. We shared the love of their Heavenly Father with them and gave them each a Bible before we left.
Tuesday took us to the city of Boca Chica and the Dominican Baseball Academy of the New York Mets. Every major league team has a complex in the DR. The boys there grow up playing baseball because it is the best way to get off the island. The Met’s complex was amazing. We played a game against their Dominican Summer league team. These were players aged 17-20 who had already signed professional contracts with the Mets. They had 3-4 years to prove they were good enough for the Mets to send them to the states. If they weren’t able to do that, they were cut and went to work in the sugar cane fields. We beat them 3-0 behind the complete game shutout by Tyler Baker. Scotty Lee drove in a first inning run and Hayden Cross doubled in 2 more in the final inning. After the game, we had a chance to share the God News of Jesus with them. Then we hopped on the bus and went to the extremely poor village of Pueblo Nuevo in the town of Quisqueya. We were greeted by a wonderful woman named Makayla, who started and ran a school for special need children in the village. She took around to their homes so we could deliver bags of food again. It was truly heartbreaking to see where and how these families lived.
On Wednesday, we went to the village of Aleman where we met our good friend Pastor John. We first met Pastor John in 2018 when our interpreter Kike and his wife Kelli took us to see where they served. Then is 2019, we gave Pastor John some money to help build his home. We also worked there 3 days helping spread dirt to make the floors ready for concrete. This summer we also gave him some money, and helped dig the trenches for the pipes for his septic system. Pastor John has been working on his house for over 4 years. The house where he and his wife and 3 kids currently live is falling down. We wish we had the $6000 he needed to finish it. After helping , Pastor John, we went to the village of Los Montenes. This village is where our interpreter Kike grew up. He and Kelli now serve the village, going there 3-4 times a week to bring food and lead Bible studies. It was so cool to see how everyone knew Kike and loved him. We met his mother, who was the sweetest woman. She was so happy to see us. Kike was so very happy to be able show us where he grew up.
Finally, on Thursday, we went back to Boca Chica. This time we went to the DR Academy of the St. Louis Cardinals. It was located right beside the Colorado Rockies and the New York Yankees Complexes. The Cardinals complex was even nicer than the Mets. The fields were pristine. We played a game that didn’t follow the regular rules as far as the innings went. They limited their pitchers to a certain number of pitches each inning. There were several innings where we had men on and they ended the inning because of pitch count. It was a little frustrating but still a great game. We ended tying the game 7-7. Their players were really talented, just like the Mets. It was great to see that we more than held our own against these professional players.
So, days 5-8 were unbelievable for our guys. In addition to all the travel, we have a players only Bible study every morning that is led by a player. Then each night, we get in a big circle and unpack the day. It is so cool to hear each player talk about what he learned that day and what stood out to him that day. The recurring theme is how the people here have nothing and yet they are so happy. In the states, we have everything, and we are miserable most of the time. After we share, one of the coaches shares a devotional or Bible study. The guys end the day by writing in their journals.
I am having a player do a player blog each day of the trip. They are amazing to read. You can read them by clicking on the “2021 DR Player Blogs” button at the top of our website. I believe you will be blessed by reading them. It has been such a great trip so far. We are excited to see what week 2 brings!