PBA Softball Competes and Ministers in the Dominican Republic
July 7, 2008
Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- An area that separates the Palm Beach Atlantic University athletic programs from some others around the country is the opportunity for student-athletes and coaches alike to travel with their teams to countries abroad while serving in a missions capacity. The Sailfish softball team was the latest squad to take part in this life-changing experience as they traveled for a week-long visit to the Dominican Republic.
The first trip of its kind in PBA softball history, 11 student-athletes were led by coaches Kimmy and Kyle Bloemers as the group left Miami, Florida for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Some have said that going on a mission’s trip to a foreign country can change your life and it can be safe to say that adding many members of the Sailfish softball team to that list would be a fair assessment.
“Kyle and I are so glad that we had the opportunity to take the girls on a mission’s trip to the Dominican Republic,” said Kimmy Bloemers.
“It was one of the best experiences of my life and we could all see God move in such miraculous ways. What an honor that He chose each of us to share His love to others. We are called to be Christ’s ambassadors and to further His kingdom. Many lives were changed and were brought closer to our Lord and Savior. Our God deserves all the glory and honor and praise. It will be awesome to see God’s work on PBA’s campus when we start school in August,” continued Bloemers.
Working through Score International and their well-known sports ministries, the team was able to experience a wide range of activities including spending most of their time working with children while also participating in a surprisingly high number of games.
While not expecting to hit the diamond as much as they did, PBA ended the week having played eight games including a number of double-headers in the Dominican Republic heat. Competing against the likes of the Dominican Junior National Team as well as other teams from around the country, the team was able to play the game while also sharing their faith and experiences with their opponents.
One other unlikely opponent came via the Cornerstone University softball team (Grand Rapids, Mich.) who was also traveling to the D.R. with Score.
Without her full squad of players, Bloemers was able to utilize some unlikely lineups and defensive positioning as the players were each given an opportunity to play all over the field.
While the chance to compete against international competition was certainly valuable, it was the work and time the team put in off the diamond which the each team member will most likely remember.
Spending time at sugar cane villages around the area as well as orphanages such as “Jackie’s House”, the team was able to gain a new perspective on the challenges these children face on a daily basis. In addition to spreading the word with others, the team was also able to grow closer as they shared in a Bible study during the evenings while spending time in worship and prayer as a team.
With the final day of the trip planned to be a free day for the team members after a week of work and competition, each of the group decided to return to the orphanage for a final time instead of relaxing at a resort.
With this type of opportunity awarded to every Sailfish athlete at least once during their four-year careers at PBA, it is certainly an amazing opportunity for each man or woman that decides to take part in such a trip.
PBA softball players accompanying Kimmy and Kyle Bloemers were: Ashley Jones, Rebecca Bolinger, Chelsea Gravini, Heather Laird, Abbey Shipman, Candace Horton, Jordan Laria, Caitlin Bouschet, Melissa Wallach, Sam Russo, and Cheryl Stephens.