Monday, December 26, 2011

Varsity Catholic Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic

Tomorrow I will leave for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. In some ways it feels like it's been a long time coming and in other ways it feels like it really snuck up on me!

I signed up for the trip back in October and have been anticipating the trip to come ever since. I am going with FOCUS and more specifically the division of FOCUS that I work for, Varsity Catholic. Here is how the trip is described from the FOCUS Missions website:

The Varsity Catholic Mission Camp Experience

When the sport of Baseball was introduced to Dominicans in the mid 1860’s the game was embraced with a passion for which the Dominican culture is known. The passion for baseball still burns in the hearts of all Dominicans and as a result, there are actually more Dominican players in the minor and major American leagues than there are of all other players of Caribbean nationally combined.

Merging the Dominican’s passion for baseball with a passion for Christ and His Church, FOCUS Missions together with Varsity Catholic is hosting a Catholic Baseball Mission Camp in a rural Dominican town called Banica (which is situated on Dominican Republic’s Haitian border). In this impoverished community, we will run a baseball camp for local children with the aim of channeling their passion for the sport to a passion for the Catholic Faith. Our time in the Dominican Republic will climax with a New Year’s Day baseball tournament with local teams.

With the great success of our Baseball Mission Camp last year, we are excited to add a component for the women this year with the sport of volleyball. In most developing countries, involvement in athletics among the girls is infrequent and less supported. Our hope in adding a Volleyball Mission Camp this year is to provide a tremendous opportunity for the young women of Banica to reap the benefits of sport and to see the witness of faith in the athletes we bring.

This trip will allow collegiate (professional) athletes a chance to serve the poor in a radical way through mutual love of a sport. As we work to demonstrate the benefit of bringing Faith to these two games, all trip participants will get a great opportunity to coach local youth, experience daily prayer, enter into the celebration of the Mass, and take in some beauty of the tropical Dominican Republic.

And here is a video from the trip last year.

I'm glad the trip is right after Christmas day and after the season of Advent. As I was expectantly awaiting the birth of our Lord, I also have been waiting for an encounter with the Lord, which I'm sure will happen for all of us going on the trip this next week. 

It's very interesting yet beautiful how the season of Advent and the Christmas season plays out each year. On the calendar it is always the same, at least the duration, we always think we know what to expect; the liturgy, the presents, the parties, the Birth of Jesus Christ! Yet every year there is something different. This year very literally in the liturgy! Haha, but maybe it's how we prepare during the season of Advent or how we receive Jesus once He is born. I guess what I'm saying is I'm very excited to go and meet Jesus in the places and in the faces of the people that I will be serving with and in those that I will have the opportunity to serve.

Please pray for myself and the 25 other young adults from across the country as we celebrate the Christmas season by serving through sport in Banica, Dominican Republic.
God bless you and Merry Christmas.