Together with The Cercadillo Project, we travel to the Dominican Republic (DR) in order to further develop disciples of Jesus while also empowering the people of Cercadillo through education and providing baseball camps. Baseball is very popular in the DR, so hosting baseball camps for boys & young men is a great way to reach out to the community for Christ. In the Cercadillo village, the women and children are typically the only ones who attend church. Our goal for DR is to reach out to boys & young men in order to establish relationships with Christ and encourage them to attend church on a regular basis.
During the week of July 10 – 16, 2016, God gave 19 people the opportunity to travel to the village of Cercadillo in the Dominican Republic to share Jesus and baseball with 200 eager boys. Stepping off the bus and onto the rocky baseball field felt a little like returning home the first time since you've been away. The kids came running at the sight of our bus coming down the road and immediately greeted some of our returning team members with hugs. They were so excited to see those familiar faces and to get to know the new ones we had with us this year.
This was a big difference compared to the first year we traveled to this foreign country. The children were skeptical of who we were and why we were there. They didn’t like to ask questions or pay attention during Bible study and they liked to push the boundaries to see how far they could go before getting in trouble. This year, the kids were very engaged during Bible times and liked to ask questions. It warmed our hearts to know that the relationship we had built over the years with these kids was starting to pay off and they wanted to listen to us.
We began to see our prayers answered in finding children of this village to grow up and become godly leaders. Our oldest group of boys had 6 teenagers; by Day 3, we asked some of them to come back later that afternoon to help us lead the younger boys through drills. They were so excited for this opportunity! They came back with smiles on their faces and used what they learned during their camp time to teach these younger boys on the field.
We could see God working through us to touch the lives of the future men of the village of Cercadillo. We can’t wait to head back and be greeted by those smiling faces again, hear about how their lives have changed over the year we were apart, and continue to build relationships in the village. We continue to pray that God works in the hearts of those boys to become leaders.