Wednesday, July 03, 2013

What happened down there?? Day 5

The Rich and the Kingdom of God

17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ 20“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” 28Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” 

The highlight of the week for me was Wednesday.  By Wednesday some of the unfarmiliarity was gone and I had a bit of a routine going.  I figured out it made sense to take a lukewarm shower after a jump in the pool at the end of the day and not try to take one in the morning.  I learned two pairs of socks each day was a necessity; one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  I learned breakfast wasn't the best meal of the day but lunch was out of this world good so as long as I ate enough fruit in the morning and took a granola bar with me for a midmorning snack I would be fine.  I figured out it was important to get to the dining room as early as possible in the morning if I was going to enjoy a good couple cups of coffee.  I learned the coffee was well worth popping out of bed more quickly than I normally do at home.  The people on my team were more familiar and the COTN staff and ILB kids were familiar faces, although names were still escaping me much of the time.

I had also learned how frustrating it was that I don't speak Spanish.  In my journal that night one of the first things I wrote down was - "I'm learning Spanish before next time!"

That morning we went to a game between the ILB team and the boys from Los Robles.  Makalea, Joanna and I made signs for the boys with thier numbers on them.  Thankfully, someone had sent me down with some markers.  They came in very handy and I was thankful for the donation.  The boys made a big point of making fun of the signs I made.  I KNOW I'm not the best artist but sheesh - rough crowd.  I made Jonathan take a picture of me with his since he was giving me such a hard time about it.  He changed his tune then and told me how much he liked it. 

During the game we started putting together the batting cage we would finish before we left and we cheered the boys on.  I spent some time observing and watching the game because I like watching baseball and because I couldn't really talk to the boys who were next to me in the dugout.  I found it a little awkard to try to communicate with the boys.  I felt rude that I couldn't understand them or speak their language and there wasn't always a translator around so I just sort of hung out with the guys and they kept a watchful eye on me.

Just because there is a game going on doesn't mean there isn't time for some homework

Eventually Francis, one of the interpreters, came over to where I was standing with the boys.  They started talking animatedly to him and he got a big grin on his face and started laughing and talking just as animatedly back to them.  He eventually looked at me with a Chesire grin and told me the boys were telling him they wanted to talk to me but they were being shy because they thought I was beautiful.  He informed them I wasn't scary and that I would love to talk to them and then he interpreted for a while until they got over their shyness and I did as well.  The change that took place at that point was awesome.  Really, I had about 10 Spanish words.  The boys were better at English than I was at Spanish so a lot of our communication was done via handmotions and gestures but the boys opened up to me and we laughed and joked with each other for a good 45 minutes.  The game was about done so we were just spending some time together. 

This is my favorite picture from the entire trip.  Emily snapped it when I wasn't paying attention and I love that the boys and I are all cracking up even though I know we probably had no idea what each of us was saying.  This moment changed my life and I will be forever grateful that Emily captured it for me.

Eventually, other boys realized what fun we were all having and a crowd gathered.  I told them I wanted to take some pictures and this hilarity ensued.

The game ended with an ILB win although that stopped mattering to me the moment Francis opened the communication channel for me with the boys.

Post game prayer - awesome
That afternoon we went back to Los Robles and played a scrimage with the boys we had just watched play against ILB.  It's a group of boys ILB can't afford to transport into Barahona so they have a team, coached by a former ILB boy Tony, and they play when they aren't in school.  I'm not a very good baseball player but I had fun playing right field and in between innings I spent time with some of the Los Robles kids.  I taught Nicol "Here bata, bata! Swing bata!" The field was on the outskirts of the sugar cane field where the kids' parents would work during harvest time.  We at time had to dodge goats and chickens and definitely had to look out for garbage.  There aren't any official bases but it didn't really matter.  We still laughed and enjoyed some good competition.  We lost 5-7 and probably wouldn't have been even that "in" the game had it not been for our Dominican ringers - Willy and Yuedy.

They have some really talented kids on the team.  It would be great if eventually ILB can bring boys in from bateys like Los Robles that are just a little far out of town.

Some graduates of ILB with one of the co-founders Ben

That night the ILB boys came over to Casa Bethesda for dinner.  We talked as best we could with no interpreters and just continued to get to know one another.  The boys all dressed in nice clothes and at the end of dinner we led a worship song.  Then one of the boys, Danilo, asked if he and the boys could lead one too.  The sound of all of those young male voices praising God was something I won't forget.  I didn't see a single boy not joining in.  They were joyous and happy to be there.  Grateful and humbled my heart was stolen. 100%.

A quick game of basketball

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