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ONU Baseball served the people of Arecibo, P.R. on a mission trip from January 5-9
ONU Baseball served the people of Arecibo, P.R. on a mission trip from January 5-9
Champions of Character - Tue, Jan. 17, 2017

ARECIBO, P.R. - The Olivet Nazarene University baseball team cut short its Christmas break for a mission trip to the island of Puerto Rico, January 5–9, 2017. The Tigers — 27 players and four coaches — carried on the mission of "Love, Serve & Care." They shared their passion for God and baseball with the churches and people of the town of Arecibo.

LOVE.

The Tigers enjoyed a warm welcome by members of the Puerto Rican Nazarene churches, who housed, fed and traveled with the team. First on the agenda was the opportunity to celebrate the Christmas tradition of Three Kings Day. Team members joined in the parade through the neighborhoods of Arecibo. They walked the streets with three men dressed as kings on horseback, greeting the community in Spanish and passing out blessings, candy and gospel tracks.

The team learned much about the Puerto Rican culture, the food and the typical struggles of the Puerto Rican people. "Arriving during the Christmas season, we were able to share in their worship and celebration of Christ's birth and the Magi coming to Bethlehem," says Head Coach Todd Reid. "Despite the language barrier, we were able to connect with them as brothers and sisters in Christ."

SERVE.

Next, the Tigers shared the gospel through their passion for baseball. They held a day clinic for the youth of the local community. After the clinic, they shared the gospel, translated into Spanish, and passed out Spanish Bibles and ONU T-shirts.

The next day, the team put their hands and feet to work in a service project to improve a home owned by one of the churches. This church-owned parsonage had been abandoned and become an eyesore in the community, causing the neighborhood to be upset with the church. The team's job was to prep surfaces and apply fresh paint.

CARE.

After day one of the parsonage project, team members decided to forego their beach day so they could finish the work they had started. On day two, they completed the painting of the entire outside of the building. They also learned more about how to put others before themselves.

Later that day, the team had an opportunity to play in a baseball game against a Puerto Rican prospect team. The Tigers performed well in a friendly but completive scrimmage, coming out on top.

On the last day, the team bonded during an adventure through a rainforest, culminating with a visit to a spectacular waterfall. Seeing God's beautiful creation all around was a great capstone to a memorable trip.

This was the second mission trip for the Tigers, who visited Santiago, Dominican Republic, in the fall of 2012. "Our goal for each student who plays for ONU is to experience a mission trip with his teammates at least once in his four years. Seeing another way of life and getting the chance to Love, Serve and Care is more important than the outcome of any game," says Reid.