PBA Baseball Goes the Distance in the Dominican Republic

JUAN DOLIO, Dominican Republic – 21 members of the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team had their world turned upside down last week, as they spent six days on a mission trip with SCORE International in the Dominican Republic. The week was filled with gospel presentations, baseball, visits to orphanages and underprivileged communities and sight seeing among other tourist activities.

Immediately upon theJunior Owen Grau with kids from the sugar cane village. team’s arrival, they were greeted with much of the same muggy weather that covers South Florida plus some nail-biting traffic, where it appeared that larger vehicles receive an unofficial right-of-way, regardless what side of the road you’re traveling on.

The PBA group used baseball as the primary means for delivering the Gospel message, as baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Latin American country. After the United States, the Dominican Republic has the second highest amount of players in Major League Baseball. Head Coach Rob Avila and several PBA players presented their personal testimonies to the opposing teams and their fans after each game, and followed with a presentation for salvation. Well over 100 Dominicans responded to the invitations after each of the four contests.

“This is the heart of our baseball program at PBA,” noted Avila. “To be able to use baseball as a platform to share with others the good news of Jesus Christ is a privilege, and it’s humbling to know who we are as sinners and that God still uses us to make an impact in other people’s lives.”

Coach Rob Avila shares the gospel with Dominican players and fans as a SCORE missionary translates.Throughout the course of their six-day stay, the Sailfish visited a handicap orphanage in downtown Santo Domingo and a girls orphanage in La Romana. The team also played with over 100 children from a sugar cane village.

“It was great to see the smiles on kids’ faces,” said sophomore shortstop Billy Falconio. “These kids that literally have nothing – not even a pair of shoes on their feet – had a blast with us, and we had just as much fun playing with them and showing Christ’s love to them through it.”

Palm Beach Atlantic sends athletic teams on mission trips every year with the hope that each team and its student-athletes have had the opportunity to go within a three-to-four year cycle.

SCORE International has established bases in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico since its inception in 1985. SCORE’s short term mission trips include sports missions teams, construction crews, dental/medical missions, church youth group trips, home school groups, senior class mission trips, prime-timers tours, and overseas couples retreats. More information about SCORE can be found at www.scoreinternational.org.

PBA players spent a morning with girls from an orphanage in La Romana.

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