SANTO DOMINGO, D.R. – With day two of the Charleston Southern men’s basketball team’s mission trip to the Dominican Republic complete, sophomore forward Paul Gombwer provides a recap of the Bucs’ busy slate.
Gombwer discusses the group’s trip to a Dominican church service, as well as the unique “open-air” game experience CSU was exposed to in a three-point win over La Fe’s professional team.
For a photo gallery of the Bucs' action-packed Sunday, click here.
Day 2 CSU Mission Trip:
Today we woke up at about 7:00 am and got ready for breakfast. We ate breakfast in the Embassy Suites Dining Room again, and then went back to the room to get ready for church.
We attended a Hispanic Baptist Church and most of the service was delivered in Spanish. However, we did have a translator who interpreted the message for us. The main theme of the service was taken from John 14:6 which says "Jesus says, I am the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me." This message set the tone for our entire day by letting us know that just being religious will never take us to heaven. Also, attending church or being a church goer will never take us to heaven. The only way to get to heaven is through Jesus Christ and by knowing and doing his will.
After the service, we got to hang around with the kids from the church. Some of them were orphans and some of them were from the neighborhood. We gave out bracelets to the kids which had a verse on it that says "I have come to give you life." John 10:10. It was so amazing how each of the kids was so happy to have the bracelet. It was almost like you were handing out some free money and it was so amazing to see how they appreciate the smallest of things that others may not appreciate at all. Outside the church, after the service was over, a man selling ice cream was waiting on his motorcycle. The pastor asked, "Who wants to be a God Father to the kids?" I did not know exactly what he meant by his question and I asked him to explain to me what he meant. He said, "I need ten dollars to buy ice cream for the kids because some of them might not have eaten anything since the previous night." Then I looked into my wallet and I found $8.00 and I brought it out and gave it to him. Other team members wanted to contribute, but he said that would be enough. All of the kids were able to get an ice cream treat after church and we were very happy about that.
Following the church service, we drove back to the hotel, had a brief meeting with the coaches, and then ate lunch at the hotel. We left the hotel around 2:45 and went into the capitol city, Santa Domingo, for our first game. Our opponent was La Fe, a semi-pro team in the area. When we arrived at the open-air gym (which by the way was 150 degrees, no joke) there were about 200 people hanging out participating in a dominos tournament! I was very excited to see such a crowd of people, but after the dominos tournament, they all left! We played the game and the official game ending score had us up by 3.
After the game, we shook hands with our opponent and handed out t-shirts to each team member that says "CSU Loves the Dominican Republic." On the back of the shirt the bible verse from John 10:10 is written in Spanish. At this point, a representative from Score International came in and was able to share the Gospel with the team and spectators and pray with everybody.
We got back to the hotel about 45 minutes later and had another nice meal in the dining room. My favorite food still remains the rice!
My closing thoughts today are this: Last night my Facebook status read "I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be able to visit another country other than the US and my country Nigeria, for I now see that poverty is everywhere and I hope and pray that one day we will all live in a world where there will be no rich or poor. But everybody will be able to have something to take care of themselves and live independently."
Above all, I am having a life changing experience. I want to use this opportunity to thank everyone who made this trip possible for me and my teammates. We are enjoying this so much. We are being changed and so are others here.
Thanks again. Looking forward to Day 3.
Paul, for the CSU Men's Basketball Team