An Impact of a Lifetime
Last February, my family traveled to Fonda Negro with Joshua 1:Nine. This was a second trip for our Bigs, Jacob (15) and Carter (14), and our Little Dylan’s (5), first trip. This was the first time we traveled with our friends Laura and Atticus, who were also on their second trip. Atticus, Jacob and Carter grew up together on the youth baseball fields in Minneapolis, MN, playing for The Millers. They are in high school now; at different schools; and on different athletic paths so this trip was likely the last time I saw the three of them play baseball together. Needless to say, they went out with a bang!
During our visit, “Several professional baseball players spent time with us throughout the week. They had returned home to see their families, touch base with the baseball program and be in their community before reporting to spring training. Despite their success, it is clear that in their hearts, they are Fondo Negro “kids”. This special community remains a part of them and draws them back no matter where life and career takes them…” shared Laura. It’s no small thing to watch Atticus, Jacob and Carter play amongst Dominican World Series talent. So if this was indeed the last time I watched the boys play baseball together, thank you Fondo Negro “kids” for taking time to play baseball with our kids.
Side note, Dylan plays tee-ball in Minneapolis. In Fondo Negro, baseball tees don’t exist because who needs a tee when you can throw a ball?! Dylan hit pitches thrown by Coach. Coach has a World Series Ring. It’s safe to say, Dylan’s baseball career is off to a great start. Minneapolis Millers – Here we come, again!
Like baseball, Fondo Negro draws you back but it’s not only about the baseball. That’s just a really cool perk! Laura summed it up well, “Fondo Negro has drawn us back too. My family has been there twice for Impact Trips, but Fondo Negro has impacted us as well. We practiced Spanish, volunteered, played baseball and had cultural exchanges among so many other things. No matter where life takes us, Fondo Negro will be in our hearts. We look forward to when we are drawn back yet again and can reconnect with this place and its warm people.” Like Laura and Atticus, my family is drawn to Fondo Negro. Maybe it’s the “chicken fried”? The mangos? The dominoes? The quick trip to a deserted beach? Chico’s sugarcane? For each person in my family, the impact hits a little different. Though I know for certain, the humans and their smiles, handshakes, and hugs are all felt the same. You don’t have to speak a bit of Spanish to know you are welcome in Fondo Negro.
This visit, our group totaled 14, which included one of Laura’s closest friends, Melissa and her son Michael. Melissa and I bonded while painting houses in the most impoverished part of the community. Turns out we are both moms of blended families. We chatted quite a bit about the parallel gifts and challenges our mom roles present. I saw Melissa’s strength and she saw the strength I hope people see. That was a very unexpected gift and another reason to say, thank you Fondo Negro. You never know who you will meet on an Impact Trip. And you never know who might say yes when you ask them to join you. My bestie Kristin, founded Joshua 1:Nine. She asked me to join her on a trip, I asked Laura, and Laura asked Melissa. Are you next?
The rest of our crew included Tim and his son, Zan. I will remember both of them for years to come as they were both incredibly patient with Dylan when his five year old quarter was running out. Tim always knew just what to say to distract him or Zan gave up his phone, which is no easy task when you are a teenager. Also, Zan hit his first homerun. Boom! Thank you Fondo Negro.
I can go on and on about an Impact Trip to Fondo Negro. I am the best version of myself when I am pulled away from the creature comforts of America and my privileged life. My family is its best version of itself when we are reliant on one another for a cold glass of water, granola bar, bug spray and sunscreen. We stop bickering and we love each other better. Tim and Zan summed this up well when chatting about how little the people of Fondo Negro rely on “…realiz[ing] that what they do have is faith, family, friends and baseball in the sunshine 300 days a year. So maybe they do have a lot after all, and we are the ones that could use more of what they have.”
CHANGE YOUR LIFE! TAKE AN IMPACT TRIP!
We are taking groups to spend a week with the kids in the DR! If this sounds like something you are interested in being part of let us know by clicking the link above, sending an email and we’ll get you more information!
As always, we are thankful for you, our supporters. We pray you are happy, healthy and know the peace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. He’s got all of us in his hand, here and abroad, and for that we are forever thankful. Thank you for your prayers and ongoing support!
With deepest gratitude from the guys.