Thursday- June 25th

Today was our last day in the D.R. I think our group had a great day…and an outstanding week. We started off the day a little slow by going to get some construction material from a “Home Depot” type store. There were so many people who checked your receipts! After we left from the store we went up to Cuesta Arena had about an hour to hang out with the kids before lunch. Half of the group was already there and had set up a medical area and were seeing some people of the community. I was able to spend time with the kids and play a “make-shift” game of volleyball.
After lunch we all walked down to the river to see where the kids swam and to walk through the community. It was a little journey. We walked through a baseball field, a cow pasture, next to a rice field, through the woods and then the woods opened up and overlooked the river. The river water looked tan. It didn’t really look dirty, but the water didn’t look clean. The area surrounding the river was made of clay and mud and there was a lot of trash on some of the different sides of the river. As soon as we got down there some of the kids jumped in (along with Alberto and Bill). I was able to walk with a child who was probably about 12 years old who was deaf. This might sound weird but it was almost easier to communicate with him than it was any of the other children. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with him. He was such a joy to be around. Right before we left from the river a guy I had met the day before named Felix, 17, had rode his horse down to the river. I jokingly asked him if I could jump on and he grabbed my arm and pulled me up. He took me through the countryside on his horse, my first time ever on a horse, and it was incredible. It was a special moment to be riding on a horse, with a guy I can’t understand, but was so proud to be showing me everything.
Once we made it back, I “communicated” with a guy name Guillermo that I wanted to play baseball. We took some of the older teenagers and young adults down to the field. When we got down there guys started literally coming out of the woods to play with us. We started with 12 and it ended up being about 50 of us.
I don’t really know how to explain this, but there is something about when I start playing sports that puts me in the most comfortable place possible. I feel like I can fit in anywhere, be sick, or play in a lightning storm and it would all still be fine. As we were playing I felt a peace come over me that was more than that typical comfort. God really showed me how strong He is and how powerful sports can be as a ministry. I couldn’t communicate at all with this community through words, but there was a mutual respect that we all had for each other because of our “love of the game”.
I ended up missing a lot of the good-byes in the community and was literally picked up from the field to head back to the Pastor’s house for dinner. It was a quick, short, and easy good-bye. As we were riding out my mind was racing in what kind of league, tournament, etc. that I could help start, create, or do, in that community. I am hoping that in the next year I will be able to come back to start an annual tournament or something. God is so big and strong. It is amazing to see how He uses us, our talents and abilities, to glorify Him and build relationships with others.

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