Everyone of us has one thing in common. It's not that we love the Astros because contrary to popular belief, we do have readers outside of the Astros fan base. It's not that we agree on player evaluation, how to play baseball, or important stats because that's obviously not true.
It's that we all love the game of baseball. Why else are you here?
This post has nothing to do with the Astros. It has everything to do with using baseball as a tool to reach people across boarders.
Last summer I was able to reconnect with a friend of mine from college through the game of baseball and ministry.
My friend Zach invited me to help him coach a fall league baseball team of high schoolers in conjunction with a baseball ministry based out of Nashville called Full Count Ministries.
Since then Zach has started his own ministry based out of Alabama named Called and Commissioned Ministries. In the month of June, he will be taking his team to Honduras to play baseball with locals and to use that as a tool to minister.
Note: Big thanks to Ryan Dunsmore for the amazing logo.
I know that this board has a very broad spectrum of religions and beliefs. This is not just about ministry. But it's not just about baseball either. This won't reach everyone and I understand. I am not trying to force anything upon you.
Zach can explain much better than I because he's done this before and will be leading this excursion. I was originally supposed to go but will be unable to this year.
In 1941, George Frederick Will said, "Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona." If you have been around this game for any time, it’s hard not to fall completely and hopelessly in love. I have been involved with this game since the day I was born and for 28 years now it has almost singularly held my heart. As I grew from the young boy with plastic bat and wiffle ball that dreamed of playing for the Atlanta Braves, into the Little Leaguer with dreams of Williamsport, into the high schooler with sights on Omaha, I was totally fixated on the greatest game ever to be played. I moved to college ball where I was surrounded by people that looked different, talked different, and were completely opposite of me bound together by the same love. This passion for the game has taken me many places and introduced me to many people and regardless of age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or sex, we all share the bond that Baseball creates in each of those seduced by its perfection. Fast forward to 2014 and I was provided with the opportunity to travel to El Triunfo, Choluteca, Honduras where I would be able to give back to an extremely impoverished community through the game of baseball. As we arrived after a 4 hour bus ride through 100 plus degree temperatures with no air conditioning, we stepped of the bus at the "stadium" that we would play in the next 4 days. To myself, and the 15 plus high school kids we’d taken with us, it was mind boggling. "How can they play in these conditions?" one young man asked. "That guy doesn’t even have shoes on!" another announced. It was in this moment that my life would change forever. You see, here in this country we’ve been blessed so immensely that we forget how the other 99% of the world lives. As we walked off the bus with our Nikes, matching uniforms, and $300.00 gloves we began to see that the love for baseball extends to those who don’t even have proper equipment or fields to play the game. Over the next 5 days, this group of rag-tag, no uniform having, no cleat wearing, glove sharing, homeless guys split a 4 game set with us. The majority of us came home a lot lighter than we went, as gloves, cleats and uniforms were given away. Old Hickory bats partners with us and provides us with hundreds of free bats to take and use as well as to distribute and what has happened is an organized league is beginning to grow. Our little dirt-hole in El Triunfo is becoming the biggest baseball town in Honduras. I write all of this to give you an opportunity to help. Our mission is to take young men from local high school and colleges on these trips where they have the opportunity to see the reality of our blessings here in America. A lot of these young men are unable to pay for these trips on their own and need scholarship help. The other piece is providing us with funding for gloves, balls, bases, helmets, catchers gear, etc. to take and share with the village when we leave. This will be the fourth trip to Triunfo and the momentum there is gaining traction rapidly.
As with any large endeavor, they are trying to raise funds for equipment and for travel expenses. He has set up a scholarship fund for some of the players. The following is a PDF of the people trying to raise money for scholarships. I have personally coached two of these players and are great kids.
Would you consider helping us as we go to share with others, far less privileged, through the game that we all love? The scholarship need is $5,000.00 and we could use another $2,500.00 for equipment. You can give through the GoFundMe page at the bottom of this post or by sending a check to Called and Commissioned Ministries. PO Box 705, Athens AL 35612. The organization is a 501c3 and donations are tax deductible. I can be reached at 256-724-0695 or at Zach@calledandcommissioned.org.