Day 2 on our trip brought great excitement and many firsts for our group.
The day kicked off with a tasteful Dominican morning breakfast consisting of spiced hard-boiled eggs, grilled ham slices, mango and pineapples slices, passionfruit juice and pancakes, yes pancakes but instead of using maple syrup they use chocolate syrup which our boys loved. I have to say, the hard-boiled eggs were amazing! I am not sure what spices were used but it left me craving for more.
Around 9:30am we headed out for church with our guides, Rosy and Miguel to their local church. Not knowing what to expect in regards to the look, size and location of the church, we were all anxious to get there. After traveling for about 20min we stopped in the middle of downtown Higuey in what looked like to be a commercial area and walked into this house of worship
This was the first time for myself and most of our crew attending a spanish church service. Their church is only a little over a year and half old and is home to about 30-40 people, so we doubled the capacity for the day. Hearing the message and singing songs in spanish amazing. Not knowing the meaning of any of the words, I found myself using Google search to translate some of the words because the vibe in the room was so inspiring.
The people of the church were a true representation of Christianity. They embraced our presence from the moment we walked in and made it a point to shake our hands and thank us for attending their church. The ones that spoke english took time to learn about our trip and pray for us before we left.
To top it off they invited Josh to speak at the service and he gave us a powerful sermon on grace. You could tell his message was impactful and reaching the minds of those in attendance as you could hear “yes, yes” and “amen’s” all around.
As the day of first’s continued we found ourselves serving local players at a field in Higuey which was the home to a group of 9-10 year olds. What stuck out the most to me was the boys practiced on a field that had the dimensions of a major league baseball field, which is 30ft longer on the base paths and the home run fence about 200ft further. Before leaving, Coach Casey left all the boys with a powerful message about serving and the importance of it and how we are called to do it.
After the clinic we headed to play a game against a local team of 9-11 year olds. What an experience! Being able to step on a field with our boys and play against a D.R. team was amazing and definitely eye opening. It opened my eyes to a whole lot and I know our parents and players left in an awe as did I. The joy, excitement and pure pleasure the players showed was amazing, especially when they got to play on the same team as the Dominican players.
To finish the day we did some “chalk talk” with the boys to recap what we learned today, both on the field and spiritually. The growth from the players from one day was spectacular. Most of them were able to internalize the impact they made by playing with and against the Dominican players and serving them during the clinic.
Tomorrow is going to bring another opportunity for them on the ball field to impact lives but the biggest impact they can make is when we serve the family whose house we are going to paint. This is what I am looking forward to the most because this is the whole purpose of the trip – to serve a family in desperate need. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow beholds.