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the Covenant experience narrative

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Men’s Basketball Serves in the Dominican Republic

basketball team on court

Over spring break, eight of us varsity basketball players, along with three managers, five of our dads, and Coach Brown, went to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip with Score International. Before going on this trip, we truly had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. During our meeting in the fall, Coach Brown just told us that we would be playing four basketball games there along with doing missionary work for the local community, and that it would count as our intercultural experience. We didn’t know until the day before we left for the trip that the teams we would be playing were semi-professional teams. We didn’t arrive in the Dominican until late Saturday night, so we still did not know what to expect.

Receiving Blessings

Sunday morning came, and all eighteen of us, plus our translator, loaded into a bus to go to a local church. This church service was very cool to experience, as these people were extremely welcoming and accommodating to us along with thanking us for coming to share the gospel with their local communities even though we had never met them before. Every night, we would all meet and discuss how the day went for all of us and if anything stood out about the day. It was funny because that night Gene Fitzgerald, our liaison, told us, “What you will find on these types of trips is that you will somehow come to these places to give yet somehow you feel as if you have gotten more back than what you could ever give to begin with.” I remember whenhe said this, myself along with some of the other guys didn’t believe him,  yet every night during these meetings when we would talk about who we blessed today versus who blessed us, somehow we would always be talking about people who blessed us more than people that we may have blessed.

Reaching the Community

While we were in the Dominican, two of the days we took groceries to two of the hundreds of sugarcane villages that were located near us. We did this because these communities are impoverished; most of them are Haitian refugees brought into the Dominican by these large sugarcane companies since they are able to pay them less since the immigrants do not pay taxes to the Dominican government. One day, we went to a different sugarcane village and played games with the elementary kids for hours. The other day, we went to an elementary school in the city to do a basketball clinic for the kids, yet it quickly just turned into us playing games with the kids as the whole school was let out for recess and the courts were quickly filled with close to 200 kids. Even though that day didn't go according to plan, it was still special because Walker was able to share how the Gospel has affected his life, along with our translator being able to share the gospel with a group of kids three to four times larger than what we originally planned.

Sharing Testimonies on the Court

As I mentioned at the beginning, the only thing we truly knew was happening on this trip was that we were playing four different semi-professional basketball teams in four days. These teams ranged from a U20 team up to a U25 team. The purpose of these games, as we were reminded of many times, was not exclusively to try and win, even though we wanted to, but the main goal was to carry ourselves in a manner so that after the game when someone from the team shared their testimony, there would be no reason that they could discredit our words. Not only did one of our team members share their testimony, but our translator shared a passage of the Bible and spoke to them directly about Jesus. Even though we don’t know of anyone who gave their life to Christ during this, we do know that we planted that seed that gives them an opportunity to learn more about him.

This article was originally published in The Bagpipe, Covenant’s student newspaper.

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