I am returning from The Dominican Republic with a full heart and spirit of deep thankfulness and gratitude. Our team spent the week in relationship with 25 – 30 of the boys that are currently enrolled in the I Love Baseball program in Barahona. We had the opportunity to teach baseball clinics to some of the younger boys in the outlying communities, to play baseball with the older boys, and spend lots of time just talking with the boys and getting to know their life story. There are several boys that live with a family member because their parents are no longer around. There are several more that participate in the program, then go to school, then go to work because they are the sole provider for their family at home. All of them are becoming leaders in their communities and trying to make a change in their families for generations to come, thanks to the servant hearts of the people of I Love Baseball and Children of the Nations.
I have seen impoverished countries before, but none of them have ever struck me as much as these boys did. After spending a week with them and truly getting to know them, it touched my heart in a way that I’ve never felt before.
Because of that, I decided to sponsor one of the boys that is enrolled in the ILB program. His name is Juan Isael Cueva Feliz He is 15 and has been part of the program for a few years. It became very evident to me that he will truly be given a much greater chance to graduate high school and grow closer to God through my small donation and the relationship that I could provide. If you are interested in this, let me know and I could tell you about the boys!
One of the things we did was bring a bunch of paper, markers, and stickers to make signs for each of the boys on the day that they played their game. We started to bring the signs out to cheer and the boys flocked to us, asking us if they could use the markers and stickers to decorate their signs. I’ve never seen high school boys get so excited to decorate a sign with their name on it. We ended up completely interrupting the game and spent an hour and a half decorating signs, taking pictures, and laughing a lot. I apologized to the coach for the interruption and he quickly stopped me and thanked me for the light we were bringing to the boys through the simple gesture of just being with them. He said it had been some time that he had seen the boys this excited.
Here in America, I am constantly trying to fill my day with activities and tasks and find it a great accomplishment to check things off of my list to show progress. In the DR, they thrive on living in community with one another and you will often find them just sitting in front of their homes, chatting with neighbors and watching the kids play. This was a huge reminder for me to slow down, pay attention to what God has in store for my life, listen, be in relationship with those around me, and eliminate distractions.
Thank you for being on this journey with me, your prayers and support were appreciated beyond expectation and I am grateful!