An exciting mission opportunity opened up for SFC’s baseball team to partner with Robert Lewison and the LA Dodgers to serve the youth of the Dominican Republic. “Baseball is such a logical choice [for missions work], considering how baseball is such a big part of their culture in the DR. We were able to use the close ties in the country to make this missions trip successful,” states Robbie Roberts, SFC Assistant Athletic Director and leader of the trip.
Serving in a Village
With baseball serving as the “common ground”, SFC students and coaches ran a clinic in a village outside of San Pedro. The SFC baseball team brought a batting cage and ten 50-pound duffel bags full of baseball gear to give to the leader of the village, Pepe, who wept upon receiving the team’s gifts.
The trip involved more than just playing baseball, the boys also put in some hands-on labor at a local church in San Pedro. They mixed concrete, moved cinder blocks, demolished two bathrooms, painted a Sunday school room and hauled construction debris. After a hard day of work, the team headed back to the village to play some baseball with the local boys. Speaking of the village baseball field, Roberts remarked, “It was an old garbage dump and there were horses and donkeys in left field while we were playing… it was crazy!”
Feeding the Poor
After spending several days serving the village, the boys teamed up with the Manny Mota Foundation. Manny, a former Major League player with the Pirates and Dodgers, has dedicated his life to serving the poor and needy in his community. Together, he and the team served food, passed out treats, clothing and baseball gear. Describing the scene at the Manny Mota Foundation, Roberts recalls, “Manny feeds about 100 people a day, this is the only meal most of these kids get. A small bowl of rice and beans with a small piece of something that vaguely resembled meat. We hung out with kids and on the second day, and we ran a clinic for them. We also played a whiffle ball game with kids… .it was a blast.”
God’s Love is a Universal Language
The language barrier did not stop the SFC boys from being able to communicate. The love of baseball is understood and the passion is heard through every laugh and smile on the kids’ faces. SFC senior Jerry Marrs states, “Through this trip, I discovered that love and happiness can be found even in the poorest areas of the world. You don’t need to know the language to show God’s Love.”
At the end of the trip, the boys got to see the Dodgers newly dedicated and freshly renovated baseball academy at the Campo Las Palmas facility in San Antonio Guerra, just outside of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Ari Gerber, a member of the SFC baseball team joyfully states, “The experience was amazing, it was incredibly fun to be able to use something I’ve learned in high school in order to communicate with another culture.”