It’s 9:58 pm and Simba is keeping me company once again.
I’m rewinding my mind, trying to find the beginning of this beautiful day as it seems like it was much longer than 15 hours ago.
Saturdays are big days here at Casa De Macarrao. This is the day each week when all the kids in the village are invited to come over and play and drink “juice” aka Kool-Aid. Today was particularly exciting because word had leaked out that the white visitors were going to be showing them how to play a game from America.
It was all hands on deck, Nunu, his right-hand man Latino, Amanda, Rebecca, all three Pack boys and myself. We were scurrying around finding barrel tops to use for bases, raking ash piles into the dirt so the ground was flat enough to play, assembling the tee, gathering the gloves and balls etc. As we got things squared away, Latino divided the kids into two teams. Ages ranged from 3 to about 14, both boys and girls. Oh…and there were 36 kids! I took one group and Decker took the other. They lined up and when it was their turn, we helped them put the glove on the correct hand and then gently tossed them two or three balls and had them throw it back, giving encouragement along the way. In real life when coaching, I say three things a LOT. “Beautiful!” (Bonito)…”Perfect!” (Pertecto)…and “Good!” (Bom). Needless to say, I was quick to learn these Portuguese translations right away so I could be myself. Latino and Nunu were kind enough to translate for me regarding how to play the game of baseball. They did a fantastic job. I brought me great joy to be teaching this game I love so much with my sons as my co-pilots. They all made me so proud today. Decker, Eli, Indiana and I ran through several plays as demonstration so the kids could get a sense for what it looked like to hit the ball and ultimately try and score while the other team was trying to get them out.
Next I placed the 18 kids on team one throughout the infield and outfield…there was no way a ball was getting through!
Rebecca’s idea to bring a hitting tee with us was absolutely brilliant. Looking back at the day, that tee made the difference between having tons of fun vs 36 kids trying and mostly failing at using a metal stick to hit a ball being thrown at them. Because of the tee, every single kid got to put the ball in play and run to at least first base. Very few plays were actually made so most kids even got a chance to move around the bases and score. We kept track of outs but didn’t switch sides until each player had a turn to bat. I wish I would have taken a video of the kids clapping. When the first run scored, I made a point of telling the kids on the scoring team to applaud their teammates as they cross home plate. I only needed to say it once and for the duration of the game, after each and every scored run, a hearty round of applause came from the bench of the scoring team. It was so much better than I anticipated. The noises on the field were laughs and giggles and the kids tried their very best and played hard, in fact some of them were quite good! I wish I could some how articulate what my heart was feeling this morning but I’m having a hard time finding words other than to say it was one of the most memorable and awesome experiences of my life. Just imagine, I’m out there with my beautiful wife and amazing boys…Indian Ocean and breathtaking landscape as the backdrop, playing my favorite game with these precious kids that God himself told me to come and visit…simply amazing.
When we were finished playing, all the kids gathered under a mango tree in the shade and I took a knee in front of them. Nunu invited me to share with them so I nervously thanked them for playing my favorite game with me. They grinned ear to sweaty ear, and then I simply told them that we had come all the way from America for mainly two reasons. One was to play baseball with our new friends and second was tell them that Jesus loves them very much. Finally I prayed a prayer of blessing on them and we were all dismissed to drink “juice” and relax. Rebecca and I and the boys were elated, it was just so much fun!
By this time, we were needing to get ready for our next adventure of the day…lunch with the ladies that picked up our baggage at the airport the other day, Amanda’s friends Laura and Lauren. They are staying in the guest house of some good friends of Amanda and Nunu, and this guest house happens to be a stunning home sitting about 100 feet off beach on the Inian Ocean. It was low tide, se we were able to walk out maybe 400 yards to a sandbar, the water was crystal clear and 80 degrees. Decker and I walked way out into the water and fished using telescopic rods and rooster-tails we brought from home, just in case an opportunity like this presented itself. I smoked a La Aurora De Cuba while I fished, it was a delicious Cuban-seed Nicaraguan.
Eli and Indiana plopped down in the wet white sand and marveled at it’s clay-like mold-ability and started building a world to escape into.
Rebecca posted up in a rope hammock with a view if the entire show.
Nunu and I eventually snuck away and got the coals going for a fire and then grilled chicken and sausage while solving the problems of the world.
We ate, and relaxed and talked & shared with our new friends. It was another day for the history books to be sure.
We headed home around dusk and sat out on the front porch with Amanda & Nunu, their good friends Mr. B and his wife Benti, their 2 yr old daughter Sonya, and the three dogs that are head-over-heels in love with their momma, Amanda. We chatted and Benti taught Rebecca and I how to say several things in her language, Emakhuwa.
All the Mozambicans we’ve met speak Emakhuwa, and and, or…Portuguese.
BY THE WAY, WHILE DRIVING DOWN THE STREET WE SAW A GUY WALKING HIS MONKEY…
Tomorrow promises to be my kind of Sunday. We’re gathering with other missionaries in the area for a celebration service followed by a pot luck…YES!
See you tomorrow,