November Baseball is a yearly SCORE event that reaches out to the people in the Dominican Republic with the message of Christ’s salvation through the international language of sports – specifically, in this case, baseball. Baseball is a beloved sport in the Dominican Republic and using baseball clinics for young men is such a beautiful and effective way to minister there. Men with various backgrounds in baseball come from all over the USA to lead baseball clinics during this week of ministry. However, the SCORE staff has another goal during November Baseball week as well: the mission within the mission. November Baseball teams go to serve in the DR, but the SCORE staff also wants to reach the people serving on the trip with Jesus’ love and truth. We never know where people are in their walk with Christ, and God can do amazing things in team members’ hearts while on this annual trip, too. November Baseball has largely been known as a men’s trip; however, throughout the past couple years, several women have also gone on these trips. They have the opportunity to help the guys with the baseball clinics or to do other types of ministry. This year, around 15 to 20 women went on the trip. And this story is about one of them.
Virginia sat in her church pew, flipping through the bulletin. She stopped on the section that talked about an opportunity to go on the November Baseball trip. Brian Donohew, one of SCORE’s missionaries and a member of her church, had shared about it earlier in church. Virginia loves baseball, and she loves God. She felt pulled to go on the trip, even though she had never done anything like it before. So she invited her friend Donna to come with her and then talked to Brian about signing up.
As the days to leave approached, Virginia’s enthusiasm started to wane. She didn’t know what it would look like or how far it would push her out of her comfort zone. The unknown can be pretty scary. Little did she know what all God would do on this trip.
Once Virginia was on the ground in the Dominican Republic, her fears started to dissipate. The first ministry activity the ladies did as a group was putting together food bags. It was easy, fast, and not scary at all! Later that afternoon, the ladies went to Josiah’s House, a children’s home that SCORE is partnered with. Virginia met several young ladies at Josiah’s House and instantly loved them. As she was spending time with the kids there, Virginia told one of the girls, “Jesus loves you.” And the young lady replied, “Yes, He is a very good man. He is my salvation.” It was Virginia’s first time reaching out to someone about Jesus, and the young lady’s response was amazing and so sincere that it really touched Virginia. And that was just the beginning.
The November Baseball team had worship meetings each morning and evening. The sermons profoundly impacted Virginia. Throughout the week, the testimonies of the missionaries spoke deeply to her as well, especially Janelle Kenol’s testimony. The sacrifice, passion, and love of the missionaries opened Virginia’s eyes. By Wednesday night, God had broken down a lot of the walls in her heart that had prevented her from being vulnerable and admitting she didn’t feel Jesus in her heart. Another lady on the trip, Jessica, followed God’s prompting and sat down with Virginia Thursday morning. She asked Virginia about her relationship with Christ.
Previous to this trip, Virginia had done all the things. She had gone to church, read the Bible, and prayed. But she didn’t realize until then that the relationship wasn’t there. So she asked Jesus into her heart to transform her. She asked Him to have a relationship with her.
Virginia has returned home from her trip with a relationship with Christ and a full purpose in life. She said, “I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to do [November Baseball]. This trip was so amazing, and Donna signed us up for next year!” And that’s the mission within the mission, to see the hearts of those who serve transformed for Jesus, and then to send them out to share that transformation with others!
Written by Joelle Person