The Cambridge Christian baseball team is in the Dominican Republic this week on a weeklong trip through through SCORE International, an organization that for the past 23 years has taken players overseas on short-term mission trips. The Lancers arrived in the Dominican Republic on Monday and will return home Sunday.
Several Lancers players will be writing daily diary entries for TBO.com during their trip to relay their experiences. On Tuesday, senior Joshua Hanna wrote about his first two days of the trip, which included the first day the Lancers took the field.
The past two days my life has already been drastically changed, not only from what I've seen but from what I've experienced also.
Just getting off the plane, the atmosphere was different from back in the states, just driving over to the Score International Hotel in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic. The houses are made from scraps of wood with tin roofs that aren't even attached to the house itself. People are walking around with no shoes, and even babies running around naked because they have no clothes.
Today, we woke up and had our morning devotion and we then split up into our teams and headed to our games. We ended up driving about 45 minutes to the game in Santo Domingo. Once we got there we looked at the field and everyone said it reminded them of our home field back in Tampa, but I thought, "Oh no," because this field was just grass and dirt. The bases weren't even in the ground and the outfield had tons of rocks in it.
The players on the other team had clothes, but they were too big or too small for them. Their cleats were falling apart, and their equipment was old and broken down. But even through all this the kids played like they had the best equipment ever and played with the most heart I've ever seen in my life.
Well, we started the game with a double by Derek Self, then two batters later Andrew Widell hit a home run to right-center field, and Cambridge Christian never lost the lead. On the defense side of the ball, Mike Miller pitched phenomenally. Self and Widell's bats stayed hot through the rest of the game.
After the game, we had a service and one of our coaches, David Kelley, spoke about how the game of baseball is important, but the most important thing is having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Since there is an obvious language barrier between us and the Dominicans, Coach Kelley used our translator to speak to the kids. Then, after the presentation was over, everyone bowed their heads to pray and asked the kids that whoever accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior that day to raise their hands. Two kids raised their hands and it made everyone happy because that's the reason why we are down here - to bring people to Christ, not to just play baseball. Coach Kelley said today, "God just uses baseball as a vehicle to show Him the blessings that He has given us."
We then started the second game and everyone did good all around. I had three catches defensively and two singles offensively and we won the second game 2-1, after winning the first game 6-3.
Already this experience has changed my life. The poverty and language barrier has proved no match to the Lord. We saved two people today through baseball. Life is good.