By Abby Witt, Sports Writer

Christmas break is a time to unwind, spend with family and prepared to start another semester of school. The Asbury University Baseball team had a slightly different break compared to their classmates.

The baseball players and coaches loaded up to for a week long mission trip in the Dominican Republic, before returning for the spring semester. According to student assistant coach Taylor Valentine, the trip was a long time in the making, “In preparation for our trip, it was set up last fall by Coach Cervantes, but it’s taken an entire just to finalize it. Returning in August, everything was starting to settle in a little more and once we had all the paperwork finished we were ready to go,” said Valentine.

The adjustment to a new culture posted some struggles for the team. “While we were there, we drank out of these plastic bags that you had to bite into and because of some children actually putting their hands in our drinks we had some guys get sick for a few days from it,” said Valentine. But Valentine noticed the biggest difference was the pace of culture. Going from America where we are always on a tight schedule and in the Dominican Republic when they show up, that’s when it starts.

While the team visited the Dominican Republic, they were introduced to many new people, places and a new culture. While visiting The Josiah’s House (an orphanage for boys) and The Emmanuel House, lives were touched in an amazing way. “When we went to the Josiah’s house our third day, our players walked out with tears in their eyes. It was great to see how an hour and 15 minutes of playing with kids touched so many hearts,” said Valentine.

Senior Andrew Marquez also noticed how this trip was beneficial to his teammates. “I noticed our guys were much more willing to help others. While we were there everyone on our team had much more of a servant’s heart,” said Marquez.

This is not the first time our Asbury’s baseball team has traveled to the Dominican Republic. “Going down my first time as a player and now this time as a coach, I’ve seen a significant change in our guy’s hearts. Even though it took a bit for our guys to get acclimated, having our entire team together was a chance for us to grow together. Everyone’s hearts were opening up, and God was touching each and every one of our lives,” said Valentine.

Taylor talked about his personal experience in the Dominican Republic, “Personally, I couldn’t pick a favorite part. You get down there, and you don’t really know what to expect because you don’t know who you’ll run into. Going to the schools and seeing their education system was very neat. Spending time with our team was awesome, just actually being there together and going through this entire experience was great.”