Men's Hoops reflect on final day in DR before heading home
Monday, August 15, 2016
By Cam Miller
Men's Hoops reflect on final day in DR before heading home

We are headed home after an awesome week of fun in the Dominican Republic. Eight days ago we were sitting in the airport anxious and curious of what this trip had in store for us. We never thought it would have been this fun and this impactful on our lives. Who would have thought building a playground and putting up a fence in scorching hot weather with no AC would be fun, but I sure had a great time.

Our last 24 hours in the Dominican has been one of the coolest experiences I've had. As a way to enjoy time together as a group and celebrate the week, we left Friday morning to go to what we thought was a waterfall that we were going to swim in. What it really was, was seven waterfalls that we swam and climbed up, then turned around and slid and jumped down. It's tough to put into words how cool this adventure was. After being blown away by the waterfalls, we were off to the beach. I've never been to an all inclusive resort so the free unlimited food was enough to satisfy me, but on top of that was a beautiful peaceful ocean that we got to enjoy for our final day in the DR. What a great way to wrap up this trip.

If you have followed our journey through blogs and videos, you should have a good idea about the hard work we put in and the love we gave and received in return from the community of Falpo, so I would like to share my reflection on the trip as a whole, and what I will take back home with me, which is more than I could have ever imagined.

I will start with our growth as a team and the relationships we built with each other during this trip. Each night we met as a group and shared snap shots from the day, and shared what we were experiencing in our personal lives. These conversations were as real as it gets and something I've never experienced before. This was said multiple times by the group, but I feel like I learned more about each person on the team this week than I have my whole career at Lipscomb. I've been in situations before where I was in groups that talked about their faith journey and shared personal stuff, but never in my life have I felt so comfortable sharing my journey, and through conversations with the group, we all feel the same way. For many of us, including myself, this was the first time we have shared our "story". Typically, when you think of college basketball teams, you probably don't think of a group of guys sitting in a circle sharing their feelings. So the fact that we did this for this first time as part of a college basketball team is pretty special.

The way my mind is geared, I am always thinking practically and often miss out on what's really going on, on a spiritual level, in my life. I have struggled seeing God, and recognizing God in situations in my life where it should be clear to see him. I've always heard people saying how they see God working through something or someone, and in those moments it often doesn't even cross my mind that God is present. After experiencing this week in the DR, and building relationships with the community here, and with my teammates, I feel I can say with full confidence, without a doubt, that I was able to see God working in their  community, in my life, and in this team this week. I have been able to recognize his presence, which has reminded me to fully trust God with my life. There is not  a chance the connection that was made between our team and the community of Falpo was without God's presence. This experience has provided me with a memory that I can look back on in tough times in my life, to remember how important the love of God is, and how much of an impact it can make.

On Thursday evening, after we completed the playground and fence, it was time to say goodbye. I was torn up inside, knowing that I probably wouldn't get the chance to see these kids again. I had to take some time to myself to take it all in and regain control of my emotions so I could hug the people who taught me so much this week one final time. It was tough, but seeing the joy that the playground brought this community, and being able to see the impact it will have in their life was amazing. These kids will grow up on this playground, and behind each kid is a mother, brother, aunt, uncle, grandma,  that the Marte family is able to reach, and share the love of Jesus because of this playground. It was more than just building a playground, it was building a platform to share Gospel. What an amazing trip it as been. Again, I'm positive this community served me more than I served them. I hope to one day see my friends in the Dominican Republic again.

Thank you for being a part of this experience through your prayers and support.