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Hoops, softball and rocks part of mission day five

Friday, August 01, 2014

Lipscomb women's basketball redshirt-sophomore forward Alex Banks reports in on the fourth full day of the team's mission trip to the Dominican Republic. 

 

Today was another day spent working hard to finish the basketball court and loving on the people in the community. We started off the day with round two of pancakes (our team’s favorite Dominican breakfast) and some coffee then we headed off to the work site for another full day of work.

Upon arriving to the worksite we had many, many rocks that we had to clear from the dirt that we were packing in for the foundation of the court. The majority of our morning was spent shoveling rocks and moving them off of the court. No matter what we’re doing, it has been incredible to see the joy on everyone’s faces while working. The kids were showing us faster ways to carry the rocks from one point to another by filling up a bucket and putting a shovel through the handle so two people would be able to carry the heavy bucket. It is quite humbling thinking that we are going to teach the Dominican’s something and they continue teaching us.

After our morning shift, we all went back to our host family’s house for our daily “siesta” which consists of lunch, card games, and naps. Afterwards we headed back to the work site where the first thing we had to do was move over 100 bags of cement into a covered area because it was supposed to rain. Needless to say, everyone got a great workout in after carrying bag, after bag, after bag, after bag to the covering, The rest of the afternoon consisted of laying more rebar, putting up the goal, and playing our team’s new favorite hobby: softball.

Every day around 4 p.m. we have gotten to play pickup softball with the teenagers in the community while around 50 little kids are standing around the sides chanting names and enjoying every second. This has become a daily routine throughout the week for the big game of the “Dominicans vs. Americanos”. While we are all having the time of our lives attempting to catch and hit the ball, it’s clear that we are by no means cut out to be a softball team.

The great thing about it is that no one cares whether we’re good or not. All of the people in the community are playing solely for the fun of the game and to enjoy each other’s company while playing. Through the softball games is just one of the many ways that Christ has amazed me this week.

Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” After playing our game, Shannon O’Brien challenged us to share with the all of the people that came out to the game why we were here building a court and loving on the people in the community. As we gathered together, about 40 people total, in a circle, we were able to tell the community about our greater purpose in life in glorying Christ through sports and loving people through His love for us. At the end, we asked the crowd that had gathered if they believed in Christ and just about everyone raised their hand and started saying “Amen!”

Then, Luis (one of the guys we played softball against) asked for all of us to pray together. We all held hands while our translator translated a prayer by one of our new Dominican friends. In that moment, our purpose for coming here to the Dominican Republic truly sank in. We were sent here not merely to build a basketball court, but to share the love of Christ and to gather with the family of believers from the nations, and for that we are BLESSED.

In the evening we were able to go to the community basketball court and play a game of pickup against many of the teenagers in the area. We could tell by the looks on the guy’s faces that they did not think that women could play basketball since that is not normal within their culture. We surprised them quite a bit when they saw we could actually play. After the game we gathered together with all the guys and Emily Eubank shared with them while we were there and told them about our greater purpose in glorifying Christ with our athletic abilities. Once again we held hands and prayed and honored Christ with our ability to play basketball.

This mission trip has continued to open up each and every person’s eyes to something new every single day. Whether we are building the court, playing sports with the kids, or learning new Dominican dances, Christ’s love and goodness has been shining through every aspect of the week. This experience is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity for our team, and we could not be more thankful for the life lessons we have learned and will continue to learn, the memories, and the relationships we have made in the process.

 

-          Alex Banks

 

“Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

–Habakkuk 1:5