Bottom of the 9th, #16 - From the Dominican Looking Back


Bottom of the 9th - From the Dominican Looking Back

 From the Dominican Looking Back

by Mitchel Weide

Junior; Outfielder / Pitcher; Valor Christian High School

     The following is an excerpt from my journal, written on the day we traveled back to the US after a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. A contingent of baseball players from Valor Christian High School joined GO Ministries and their service to the people of the Dominican Republic ...

     I’m on the plane right now, thinking about how excited I am to be going home, to see my family, I think even Uncle Todd will be there helping Dad. I was thinking of the approaching shoreline, and it reminded me of one of my favorite quotes. It says, “Your morals are like your shoreline. It is what guides you home. And trust me, you are always trying to get home.” From what I have seen and learned on this trip, I think my shoreline has changed!

     It is pretty incredible when I look back at what we did. The people we spent time with were so nice, even though most of them have nearly nothing. There is a crazy bustle to this country, our bus driver Narcisto kept us in one piece, but I don’t know how! Everywhere you go, you hear this island style music that is mostly a percussion that accompanies the lives of these people. 

     Our time was spent playing baseball, working on construction of a baseball field, feeding children, and playing with kids. There was one little guy who kept coming back to me. His name is Guifri (Gwee-free). He has little tufts of curly hair, a round face, and is very outgoing as long as you call him by name. The children all want to ride on our shoulders like a caballeros (like a horse). The last time I felt this kind of happy was when I played with my little cousin, James. These children here, who seem to have so little, really have it all. I learned something big from the kids here – they are as good for us as we are for them.

     There is a poem by Chief Tecumseh that I have always liked. I wrote it down in my in my journal because it has been on my mind today. 

  When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

     This is exactly what I learned on this trip. There is no point in getting upset about the quality of a baseball field, or about people not driving like you think they should, or the way someone treats you when they don’t even know you. The people of the Dominican Republic have a word that kind of gets lost in translation. That word is suavé. The direct translation is “smooth,” but the way they use it, I would translate it “way to roll with it!” For instance, when a player gets a bad hop and still makes the play, people say, “Suavé!” They noticed the great effort especially with the difficult circumstances. 

     I think we can apply this to our lives back in the states. Say you have hours of homework, you are tired from practice, you have a couple of tests the next day, and on top of that your dog gets sick – but you still get it all done. That’s suavé! In Dominican terms, you have to stay strong enough to say no to buying or dealing drugs, avoid being taken by sex traffickers, and live in a working trash dump known as “The Hole,” and still have the attitude to thank God every day for even the chance to be alive. Now that’s suavé!

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 

2 Corinthians 9:15

     This verse is not that different from Chief Tecumseh’s words. I saw people in the Dominican live this verse and this poetry, living thankfully in circumstances that were really, really tough. Yet, they lived joyfully. I went there on a mission trip to minister to them, but they ministered to me! 

     The captain just came on the radio and told us we are starting our descent into Miami. I guess I have found my shoreline. Without a doubt, I will miss the D.R., but I will be back. I promise myself that much.

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