Family, Missions and Baseball
“To us, family means putting our arms around each other and being there.” (Barbara Bush)
Sharon and I had been planning all year to help lead over 150 Americans on a short term mission trip we all simply call the “November Baseball Outreach.” Depending on who is asked, this is either the 11th or 12th “Outreach” of this kind in the Dominican Republic. This is the first one I have missed. Each day, five different groups of men will go out to a different baseball field, conduct a free clinic for hundreds of young Dominican baseball players, share the love of Christ with them and leave many of them with hope and perhaps even their own baseball glove or bat. Catherine Marshall once said, “Hope must be in the future tense. Faith, to be faith, must be in the present tense.”
This trip is about much more than baseball. It’s all about sharing our faith, serving in sugar cane villages, fellowshipping with other believers on the busses and each evening in our hotel and supporting our missionaries there on the island. Sharon and I will miss being with our friends.
It was painful telling those who I invited to go with me that I won’t be traveling and serving with them on the trip…especially those who have never served on a short term mission trip prior to this one.
The truth of the matter is that Sharon and I felt compelled to stay back in the states to help one of our sons and his family as they go through a very difficult trial. Our daughter-in-law’s mother has Stage lV lung cancer. The three daughters, including our sweet daughter-in-law, Stacey, are spending as much time with their mother, Connie, as possible. We sensed that we could help with the three grandkids (eight, six and two). As Sharon and I were praying and discussing whether to go on the trip or stay, it came to me that in the Dominican Republic there will be several men who can cover for me, but Austin, Stacey and the kids need someone to cover for them.
My prayer is that this will be the most impactful November Baseball Outreach ever and that Sharon and I will be able to serve our daughter-in-law and her family in some small way this week. If the Holy Spirit brings Stacey’s family and the Outreach to you hearts, please pray for those in the D.R. and for the Sweeney family.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12