Lipscomb associate director of athletics Brent High checks in with a report on day five of the baseball team's mission to the Dominican Republic.
Day five of the Lipscomb Baseball Dominican Republic mission trip was filled with more unforgettable moments. The weather was sunny and warm which left many of us feeling wilted by the afternoon.
We had hoped to get more completed today but we fell victim to the “ish” factor we had been told about before we arrived. For example, when you think something is going to happen at 10 a.m. what it really means is it will happen at 10-ish. Some of our building supplies didn’t arrive on time so much of the day was spent finding other ways outside of our original plan to make the field better.
We did get the posts for the third base dugout fixed in concrete, the rafters for the first base dugout finished and the first level of the chain link fence attached to the backstop. We seem to have everything we need to affix the tin roof in the morning and with enough help, get the second and third levels of the chain link fence attached.
The community is planning a dedication ceremony at 3 p.m. (ish) tomorrow afternoon.
We were all spent tonight, but the folks at Mission Marte asked if we would be willing to attend a revival that was happening in the community in which we are working. We summoned an extra gear and came back after supper to be part of the revival. They had set up the most massive sound system on the basketball court the Lady Bisons basketball team built in August. I’m not kidding. It rivaled the size of the system we use for Faith Day events with MLB teams that have 20-30,000 attendees. And let’s just say they rocked it out. It was pretty impressive and gave everyone a true taste of authentic Dominican Republic culture. Samuel Montoya was asked to speak again.
I haven’t shared much about the community so far because I didn’t have a lot of information. Today I learned that it is made up of government housing. So if you can imagine what government housing would consist of in a third world country, you’d probably be right. What we would largely call chicken coops or lean-to’s are the homes in which these people live.
Today a little boy from the community named Adrian worked with me most of the day. I was putting my Kentucky tobacco farming training into work by cutting down the most prickly, painful thorns you can imagine with a machete. Adrian was barefoot taking all of the vines I cut down to the fire we built to burn a lot of brush and trash. I asked him if he had a pair of shoes, he said no. We will fix that tomorrow.
We bought a lawn mower, weed eater, water pump and sprinkler for the field today. The field sits right next to a river so our hope is the folks from Mission Marte can use the free water to water the field consistently. It needs water badly if the Bermuda grass is ever going to come in like it should.
When I cranked up the lawn mower, it was like these kids were seeing a space shuttle up close and personal. I kid you not. Evidently most of them had never seen one. I began mowing the right field line, call it bush hogging if you will as I had the mower on the highest setting while cutting down thorn bushes that were probably 18-24 inches high. For the next hour and a half, until I ran out of gas, I had an escort of 3-4 kids at all times walking every single step with me while I mowed. One of them got a wheelbarrow and pretended to mow beside me.
The guys, once again, were terrific with the neighborhood kids. They gave wheelbarrow rides, let kids ride on their shoulders, swung them around and around, threw baseball with them, showed them pictures on their phones and sometimes just sat and talked to them. They are at that point in the week where they are starting to connect with specific kids. They know their names. The kids look for them now when we show up. Leaving them on Friday will be difficult.
Tomorrow is going to be an extra special day. We have a few surprises coming that I’ll share tomorrow night.
Thanks to all of you who are praying for us. One of the big things you worry about, especially with a group this size, is the health of everyone. So far everyone is in really good shape. Please pray that continues to be the case so we can focus on serving these people.
- If you would like to make a contribution to our trip, please visit www.lipscomb.edu/gift and designate your donation to Dominican Republic-Baseball.