Love, Serve, Care – Baseball goes to Puerto Rico

Love. Serve. Care—That is exactly what the Olivet baseball team did with their last few days of Christmas Break.

Twenty-seven players and four coaches boarded a plane on Jan. 5 and headed down to Arecibo, Puerto Rico for a short term mission trip, returning home in the early hours of the first day of classes, Jan. 10.

The main purpose of the mission trip was to encourage the churches on Arecibo. Over the course of the five-day trip, the team celebrated Three Kings Day, a Puerto Rican traditional holiday as a part of their month-long Christmas celebration, held a baseball clinic for local youth, and helped renovate a church parsonage.

When working on the parsonage, the Tigers worked on tasks like painting the exterior of the house, clearing some inside rooms, and power washing; all to help the property look cleaner and more appealing. Working on the parsonage was “impactful, and hopefully the house being there will help to display who our God is,” sophomore Ryan Mills said. “It kind of stands out as a symbol of what we came to do, and could definitely be something that is used as a tool to shows God’s glory.”

After the team held the baseball clinic, where they got to connect with some of the local youth, they shared the gospel which was translated into Spanish, and handed out Spanish Bibles along with ONU t-shirts. “My favorite part was getting to experience the Puerto Rican culture and getting to worship with other believers. Though we did not always have our language in common, we had Christ in common,” sophomore Matt Thomson said.

The team even got the opportunity to play an exhibition game against a young Puerto Rican prospect team, to which the Tigers won 6-2. “More important than the win or even the game was the chance to share the gospel and fellowship with some young baseball players,” Thomson said.

Over the course of the trip, the team was able to have many chances to worship and have fellowship with member of the Nazarene Church in Dominguito, Puerto Rico.  On Sunday, Jan. 8, the team split up into groups and attended various churches on the island.

“We were inspired by the passion the churches and people of Puerto Rico have for Jesus and came home more grateful for what we have,” head coach Todd Reid said. “We were also able to grow together as a team, meeting in small groups and focusing on the ideals of love, serve, and care.”

This was not the first time the ONU baseball team has gone on a mission trip.  Back in the fall of 2012, the team went down to Santiago, Dominican Republic for a mission trip.  “Our goal for each student who plays for ONU is to experience a mission trip with his teammates at least once in his four years,” Reid said in a previous interview. “Seeing another way of life and getting the chance to love, serve, and care is more important than the outcome of any game.”

— Shelby Small

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