Blog

Bigger than Baseball

Bigger than Baseball

Dominican Republic News, Teams, US News0 comments

An iridescent light shines through a semi-open ceiling of the oldest monastery in the Americas revealing a crystal blue sky, a single cloud and a rich green fern growing down from a shaded corner. The building has held in structure since the early 1500’s and when the wind whispers through, it is hard not to hear the tales of lost history and untold stories of great triumph and tribulation. Unaware at the time, but this first adventure in the Dominican Republic would symbolize the theme of events that would soon follow, and with it the hope of a nation.

Although one of the first developed nations in the Americas, landed by Christopher Columbus and colonized by his brother Bartholomew in 1493, there lacks a serious treasure that the brothers first brought with them so many years ago… the ability to dream. Entrapped by a highly corrupt government that controls a majority of the wealth, a weak at best education system, and an unimaginable destitution that leads to desperation, it is easy to see why escaping the cycle of poverty looks impossible. Many nights of the trip I laid in bed frustrated, feeling the tied hands of a nation. Overwhelmed by the realization and devastation of how a lack of education stunts the development of the brain and causes an inability to hope, to dream for change and a brighter future.

My journey with IYI and the Biola Journalism team took me through all facets of culture including; a Haitian Batey so poor the kitchen consists of a rustic black pot atop of burning sticks outside of a dilapidated shack. Boca Chica, one of the most popular beaches in all of Santo Domingo, turning extremely dark and provocatively revealing itself as one of the most well known areas for sex tourism. The girls prison, where it is not uncommon to be sitting next to a convicted murderer. A desperate need for education, where the average Dominican receives 2.6 hours of learning (if they go) a day. Finally, an understanding of the immersion in the slim and unreliable hope that leads to the business of baseball. In a world where we focus on sensationalized stories, I realized that in the DR there are 9 million untold with a need to be heard.

However, as more of the week began to reveal itself, I discovered that for every story of sadness and devastation spoken, there was another one just like it filled with hope and miracle. Among each stop, God so clearly revealed HimseIf and how He is working through IYI to impact youth and change a generation. Stories like how girls from the youth prison, with once hardened hearts, now wait eagerly for Josefina (an IYI Youth Worker) because they now have the opportunity to learn about God, the Bible, positive character building and how He is working to change it all and give them true hope. Paola, a director from a baseball league in Los Tres Brazos, overwhelmed by the unconditional love and support he has received from IYI, in which he remarks, “the only people who have ever given me help”. Paola not a Christian, but realizing something different about IYI, now brings in leadership to conduct a Bible Study for his camp of boys. Then exclaiming to his interviewers when asked about his faith, he smiles, looks at Keith (Executive Director of IYI) and says, “you never know” as if to admit the Lord is indeed working inside him. In that moment, I thought back to earlier in the week as I stood in the monastery where the light shined powerfully through the building, masking the darkness and revealing the true beauty that lay within. Of all the struggle I witnessed that week, I was reminded that no matter how devastating a situation, God is the God of the universe and is much bigger than any country, government or it’s problems. He conquered death, can powerfully bring light to even the darkest situations and His awesome beauty will be revealed. We must continue to love people as we are called, make disciples of the Nations and share the incredible hope that is even bigger then baseball to the Dominicans…a hope in the only one who can truly save. A powerful reminder to never limit the size of your God by limiting the size of your expectations or dreams.

– Jen Hollingsworth, International Youth Initiative Global Teams

Biola University Journalism Department will release this fall a book entitled “The Dominican Dream: A Passion for Baseball, a Love of Family and a Hope for the Future,” as a result of their studies with IYI in the Dominican Republic this past Spring.

Read More about Biola Journalism in the Dominican Republic

Videos of their Experience:

The People of the Dominican

Six Times

From Their Point of View

The Translators

DR Reflections

 

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

  • About