Today was our last day of camp. The field was wet, but by 10 a.m., the hot Dominican sun had fired up, and the field was usable again! Our sessions today were awesome! During our testimony talk time, Cody Massey and Tyler Larson talked to the young boys. Cody started with the book of James and talked about being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. He explained how this concept sets athletes apart and and causes people to notice something different about those with this self control. Tyler told the boys about the importance of being a leader. Another awesome thing they did was simply ask the boys what they had learned about Jesus. The boys easily filled 10 minutes with answers! This is a huge praise, and it is so rewarding to know how much of what we taught was absorbed by the boys. Cody and Tyler both felt goosebumps and were overwhelmed with how excited the kids were to respond.
This morning, the women of our team met with Ophelia, the principal of a local school. We heard about the school's evolution, and Ophelia's passion and love for the school was evident. She was open to our help and knew she needed help, which was a huge blessing. The classes in the school are large and chaotic. We talked about bringing a small team of teachers back at the end of the year to focus on the younger grades. This was more of a vision part of our trip, planning how we can best serve them in the future.
Some of our men worked in Ina York's garage to create shelves to store the baseball equipment we brought here with us. The plan was for them to finish that night, but there was no power, so that job was delayed (this is a common occurrence in the Dominican Republic). The missions say it is off at least half of the day. This was another opportunity to be flexible.
We had our second baseball camp of the day that evening. At the end, coach Hawkins gave a small talk to the boys, encouraging them to keep growing in Christ. He compared his baseball rule book to the Bible, which guides him in how to live and serve. They were each given a baseball, and then camp was over.
Our team was excited about going into Santo Domingo to eat dinner that evening. We were supposed to go with Ina and her two summer interns, but Ina had to take a night off to sleep and give her body rest. Chickingunya exhausts you physically, and she had been battling a fever and swollen feet all week--what a trooper! As we drove into Santo Domingo, the interns pointed out landmarks and gave us helpful advice for what to order or not order at the restaurant. They showed us some sweatshops built into a hill where small children work illegal, long, hot hours. The Dominicans and the police know this exists, but everyone turns a blind eye. The people we saw in the village seemed rich in comparison to the houses in this area--small apartments stacked high on top of each other, crowded together, with no room to run. The waste is just dumped out the window, so the closer you live to the top, the better. This was a stark contrast to the ritzy tourist hotels and flashy restraunts and casinos we passed just down the road. Dominicans are definitely "night people," and we went out to eat during the prime time, 9 - 10 p.m. (and we thought we would be missing the dinner rush!) . We ate at Adrian's Tropical, a nice restaurant right on the water. Everyone was starving! The menu offered a huge variety, including cheeseburgers and steak. They also had some more exotic foods, like boiled green bananas and pigs' feet, but we stuck with the more familiar stuff. Our food finally came at 11:30 p.m. and was delicious! The restaurant had a staircase where you could walk down to the rocks and be splashed by the waves. The view was breathtaking. We came back around 12:30 a.m., exhausted with our bellies full.