3 Years Later

I was scrolling down Twitter and saw a post from a friend of mine who I went to the Dominican Republic with 3 years ago with Athletes in Action. His post was brief about the effect that the month we were down in the DR had made a big impact on his life. After reading that I began to reflect on the experience as well.

It’s crazy that it’s been 3 years since I was down in the DR to begin with, like time has flown by man. That was the summer after my freshman year of college and my oh my things have changed since then. I often think about and pray for the DR, the country was beautiful in my eyes. Not just because of the glorious palm trees, beaches, and unique structures. The people we ran into and saw always seemed vibrant and filled with energy and joy. This could have been because we were Americans but they were always very welcoming to us wherever we went. I remember we were going around one of the barrios talking to some of the people and this lady (who had sick story about her cancer leaving her) went around the whole street gathering chairs for us to sit in so we could talk with her and be in her home. It just was so cool you know. We’d drive by corner stores and like everyone would be hanging out there playing dominoes and just chillin. On top of that we played at and saw some of the coolest baseball fields I’ve ever seen in my life. They may not have been in tip top shape but there was something about them that just gave them this wow factor.

I went on this trip because I was still trying to grind out for baseball and was thinking about transferring from BG to play ball at some small D3 schools. Also I wanted to learn more and understand my faith as a Christian more. I was still very young in my faith and did not know a whole lot about the Bible and how to live out my life as a Christian. In short, baseball wise I did alright, could have done better but am happy with how I did. Anyway, we went through a booklet that went through a bunch of awesome stuff about having sport as a way of worship, ways of growing, and responding in times of suffering. This stuff was so helpful for me, I’m a person who needs to just soak things in when they are being taught. During school I rarely would raise my hand (well I also just wanted to chill in class) because it is easier for me to just listen to things and take them in and think about it to myself. So like most of the time during our sessions and meetings I wouldn’t say much and just try to understand everything. I would talk to some of the guys and learn some things from them from their experiences and hear their opinions on things that we brought up. Being in a solid community like that was really helpful at that time with just growing and things of that nature. Leaving school the 1st time was hard because I didn’t have a community like that back home and I was so curious about learning more after learning a bunch my freshman year at BG so having those guys around was crucial that summer.

Beyond the discipleship sessions we had this was kind of the 1st time I really understood the importance of quiet time and quieting my mind and listening for the Lord. Since then like those are the times where I’ve grown the most when I let Jesus just come in and reveal things to me. We had so much time to go on our own and journal, pray, reflect, or whatever. I can remember a few times I would find my way up to the roof of the places we were staying at in La Romana and Santo Domingo and just look out over the land/buildings and I kept getting reminded of the joy of the Lord and how magnificent His creations are. Man being in nature and praying and just being silent in those areas is one of the coolest things.

To kind of wrap up here, this trip really helped build a strong foundation for my faith. It taught me so much not only about my faith but just about life. Seeing a country like the DR really put things in perspective of what is important in life. These people didn’t have much but you know what…they were some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen in my life and up here in the US of A people get all stressed out about their wifi bein messed up or Don’s (McDonald’s for everyone else besides Colton Flaherty) always having their ice cream machines not working. Simplicity is good enough man, if I’m blessed to have more than enough…sick I can give back more. Since this foundation in me has been so strong it has only helped me grow more and more by the day and I’ve just got this fire burning inside to see people’s lives changed by Jesus! Come on! Whenever I think of this trip it just reminds me of having a child’s like faith and the joy that comes with having a relationship with Jesus. The Dominican means a lot to me for those reasons and many more, I say this a lot but I really hope I can go back in the future and just do what ever I can to impact people’s lives down there and really anywhere…send me ha!

Romans 10:9-10

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

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Wild Blue Yonder

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Came across this sign driving around where I live and just really liked it. Made me just think of this desire to kind of go rogue for a bit and travel to places over the US and just see what adventure would come of it. I’ve had this desire to drive the east coast for awhile and I like spontaneous adventures so road tripping has always been something I’ve wanted to do. I love baseball and one of my favorite players is Daniel Norris of the Detroit Tigers, a friend of mine told me to check him out few years ago. He’s known for driving around in a 1970’s Volkswagen Van. Homie like surfs in the off-season, has good eye for photography, and is pretty much a G. There’s this video on Youtube where they did a little story about him and I was like shoot I need to road trip and do what pleases me. That sign I saw says “Road ends in water” in my head I’m like A. I love the water so I’m like the road is just beginning in the water. There is great opportunity to adventure in the water, whether that’s on a boat, board, kayak, or whatever. And like there is adventure beyond that road. The second thing I thought of is the thought that we are all on this metaphorical “road/path” of life. We have been told or have a vision of what our lives should resemble if we follow these paths. But like sometimes creating your own path may lead to going off the main route and you might discover things you haven’t before which could lead to some incredible stories, adventures, or opportunities.

In my life people around me have a picture of what I should be doing and have this idea of what things should look like. I’m just like nah I want to do my own thing and like see where things lead. I’m an introvert so I love being on my own and being in nature and just hearing the sounds that it makes brings so much joy to my heart. God created such a magnificent world it’s hard not to want to explore it and see what hidden gems are in the world you know. Like ahh this world is so beautiful man, staying in one place is cool but I want to see what else is out there you know. When I was in college it got boring at times so we would drive around all over northwest Ohio to find cool spots and we found some dope spots to hang out. So like I know if there are places there, there must be cool places all over the US and the world.

My parents like grew up here and are most likely going to stay here all their lives and I just can’t do that, whenever I bring up moving somewhere cool to them they are like yeah good luck with that. Come on man like there is too much in this world to not explore it! We only have a limited time on this Earth so why not go out and see as much of it as we can. Chase after the things that we want to see/do. I mean I started a bucket list a few years ago and have already started crossing some of those things off. I don’t want to look back and regret not doing things or seeing things. Money is so emphasized and unfortunately necessary today to do like anything. Since I just graduated I don’t have a lot and on top of that I have to pay student loans back. I’m constantly reminded about money by my parents and yeah I get it that I need to save to pay that back, pay bills, rent, and save for whatever else could be important. Not sure where I’m going with that but to conclude I just can’t do the typical 9-5 life that so many people do in this country. I want to see different places all over and be able to have cool stories, pictures, and life experiences that will bring me joy. Sometime I’d like to settle down and start a family and what not. But right now I’m not sure what the plans are still, just trying to figure it out and see what’s in the Lord’s plan yaaaa feel me.

Thought I’d share some of my bucket list

  • Visit every MLB ballpark
  • Go to Brazil
  • See volcano
  • Attend Bonnaroo or Firefly Music Festival
  • Long road trip with friends
  • Visit Machu Picchu
  • Go to World Cup game
  • Hike up a mountain
  • Surf in Hawaii
  • Live in Key West, FL for short time
  • Surf with wife (whenever that happens)
  • Meet Jimmy Buffett
  • Talk to celebrity about Jesus
  • Go back to Dominican Republic