Nov 16, 2011

More from Juan Dolio

We've wrapped up our last full day here at the Dominican Republic.  It's been a great day of ministry and encouragement.  The morning started with our devotional time at 7:30 AM.  We were led in worship by Jeremy Camp.  He was here last night to lead in the crusade we went to in San Pedro de Marcoris.  It was a refreshing time of worship by one of Christian music's most talented artists.

Our team went to do a clinic this morning at a Marine base in Santo Domingo.  We had about 150 kids that we sent through four stations.  Nathan and I moved from infield to work in the hitting clinic today with former major league player and collegiate All-American Chris Burke.  He's been on our squad all week.  It's been fun listening to him share his baseball stories and also about living his faith in the big leagues.  Steven Welcher spent time leading the pitching clinic today and had kids all over him all afternoon.  Our squad leader is Kevin Malone.  Kevin is the former General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and has spent many years on the West Coast.  I have enjoyed getting to know this brother in Christ and hear about the transformation that Christ has done in his heart in the last few years.  He is now working in ministry for the Dream Center in Los Angeles and has has a great joy in his heart.

After the clinic, we shared the gospel and I gave an invitation to the kids and adults there.  Many publically indicated that they had trusted Christ as Savior.  It was a good morning.  Then we returned to the hotel for lunch and the afternoon.  Steven went out to an orphanage while Nathan and I stayed at the hotel to rest.  I did some sermon work and Nathan swam in the pool.  Then we spent some time playing catch by the pool before dinner and the evening worship.

Our evening worship started with a special blessing of being led in music by a group of Dominican teenagers with a local ministry.  This ministry takes mostly teens who come in off the street to hear about the love of Christ and learn music and praise songs.  They rocked the house!  We heard some great testimonies and had another awesome message by Pastor Ken Whitten. 

Many of our team are leaving out early in the morning to fly home.  The rest of us are going to lead a final clinic at the Rawlings baseball complex outside Santo Domingo tomorrow morning before heading to the airport to fly home.  It's been a great week.  We have made some good friends here.  We have been touched by the opportunity to minister to the Dominican people.  God is doing some great things on this island.  However, as we drove to the crusade last night, I watched out the window at thousands of people who were walking the streets and lined up in bars.  Although we have touched many here for Christ, there are multitudes more here that live in spiritual darkness.  We have barely made a drop in the bucket of the spiritual needs that exist here.  Pray for SCORE International and for the other strong Christian ministries that are trying to reach this island for Christ.

Looking forward to getting back on U.S. soil!

Nov 15, 2011

Greetings from Juan Dolio and more...

As I type this, I am in a hotel lobby during day 2 of our Dominican Baseball Outreach.  I am here with my oldest son, Nathan, and one of our high school students, Steven Welcher, doing baseball clinics and ministry projects to the children of the Dominican Republic.  We are here with an organization called SCORE International which does this outreach each November.  This week is designed to give guys who love baseball, high school coaches, college coaches, major league scouts, and professional players a chance to do ministry together using the vehicle of baseball.  We do baseball clinics each day in the mornings.  We have about 7 squads that go out each day to a different town and do a clinic with anywhere between 150-300 kids.  We split them up into squads and teach fundamentals of infield, outfield, hitting, and pitching.  At the end, we gather everyone up and one of the players will share his testimony.  Then one of the team members will present the gospel and ask kids to surrender to Christ as Savior and Lord. 

Yesterday we did a clinic at the Air Force Base in Santo Domingo and then went to a village called Ramon Santana to hand out bags of groceries.  For about $10 each, we bought rice, beans, oil, salt, tuna, and spaghetti that will feed a family for about a week.  It was a funny sight seeing 22 white gringo's in the local supermarket buying groceries together. 

This morning we went to San Pedro de Marcoris to do a baseball clinic.  San Pedro has produced many professional baseball players like Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, and others.  Every kid in San Pedro believes that baseball is their ticket off the island and the way to provide for their family.  It was a fun day of clinics.  Our team has two former major leaguers - Andy Pettite and Chris Burke.  Pettite was swarmed afterwards for autographs and was gracious to sign hundreds. 

Keep praying for us while we are hear to show and speak the love of Christ to the children of this island.  SCORE has a great ministry and is doing many very effective things for the kingdom here.

On a separate note, I got word on Facebook yesterday that our two-man team that is in Guinea is having some inroads with the Kakabe people.  Evidently, many of the Kakabe religious leaders have engaged them with questions and they are open to hearing more about Jesus.  The Kakabe are a small unreached people group of about 4,000 people in a country of millions.  Their tribal identity has been swallowed up by the Fulbe in the region.  This is the second team from our church that has gone.  Prayers are being answered and we may see some Kakabe turn to Christ.  When they do, they face large amounts of persecution and possible isolation from their family.  We will have to send teams to continue to share the stories and to disciple any new believers.  Keep praying saints.

Glory to God!