Sometimes you don’t know how God is going to use certain decisions or experiences. A little over a month ago, one Saturday, instead of taking Isaiah to his normal program for baseball here in San Pedro, I took him to Boca Chica and he played with Jesus (Willie’s son) in his program in downtown Boca Chica.
That day I was helping to organize the kids into teams with another dad whose kid was there. Him and I started talking and it turns out he coaches for the Hiroshima Carp, the only Japanese Academy in the Dominican, which also happens to be directly next to my house in San Pedro.
Him and I got to talking about what I did, and he asked if I would be interested in doing some chaplaincy with the players and coaches with the Carp. That next week I visited one of there practices, where via a translator (who is also a coach) I was able to talk with the manager of the team about the ministry. The manager only speaks Japanese, and the coach Spanish and Japonese. I also sat down and had coffee with the administrator of the academy, a very kind young Japanese man who speaks Spanish to talk about how to get involved in ministry at the academy.
Now for the past month I have been able to serve as the chaplain at the academy. Every Thursday morning I am there and pre-practice we are walking through Scripture towards the Gospel.
The reason I included languages and cultures in this post is twofold. First, the language of baseball can supersede literal language. Every person in the conversation can be united via the game, whereas in most other contexts those relationships would not take place. Second, Japan is a place largely opposed to the Gospel. Via the game of baseball people are being united on a small island in the Caribbean around a game, with the possibility of eternal ramifications across the globe.
The final exciting piece of the puzzle is Will Thompson. Will and I met in the Dominican a few years ago, and Will and his wife Kimberly serve with FCA in Tokyo. I was also able to reconnect with Will in Thailand in February. I look forward to the day when one of these young Dominican kids in the academy comes to a real encounter with the living God, goes to Japan to play, gets connected with Will and we see people in Japan coming to faith! Pray with me towards this end!