Summer Intern Jesse Gearhart’s Reflection on his summer at the Boys’ Club

A Masterpiece by Jesse Gearhart

Well I never know how to start these “reflection” papers, so I guess this is how I will do it! Spending the summer in the Dominican Republic was more than most words in the English language allow, so I’ll do my best to reiterate it onto paper.

I worked in the Social Work Boy’s Club site with the ever famous Leo Escalante. Upon arriving for the first time, I felt slightly out of place. As un unathletic, awkward, loud, English speaking boy I couldn’t have been placed in a more alien world. The world was definitely at odds with me. Of course being the guy that I am, I charged head on. Realizing that I could not keep up with the sports or the Spanish, I began to do what I do best: be super crazy and weird. I’m not sure how the boys in the club took me at first. I imagine a slight sense of awe as I became completely oblivious to any social standard that the Stars and Stripes had taught me. Whether it was dancing on first base, or singing a song with random Spanish sentences as a complete thought, I began to embrace who I was with these boys. Through this, the boys began to accept me for who I was, and even pick me for their team.

Now, time to get a little serious. I came into the summer with deep emotional struggles with masculinity, wanting a girlfriend, and being more insecure than geek at a strongman competition (hey I said a “little” serious). Naturally, I felt because I was bad at sports that I didn’t feel like much a man, and at first, the Dominicans reassured me. In America, everything has to be “politically correct” with “participation trophies” and no “red pens” and “everyone’s a winner” attitudes. Much to my surprise, this didn’t apply here. In the Dominican, they tend to tell things like they are. I was repeatedly mocked and made fun of due to my lack of sports ability. It was very difficult at first, but as I foreshadowed earlier, things became great with the boys. God used the very things I struggled with to grow me and make me into a true man. I became an “acceptable” baseball player, and by Dominican standards, thats not bad at all! I came to love the boys dearly and to my best to speak through the language barrier.

God had provided many strong bonds with Leo and the boys. I’m truly grateful for Leo, Elizabeth, and the ministry they do in Jarabacoa. Working with Leo all summer was so much fun. Seeing Leo’s passion for the boy’s is unlike any. Leo can preach the pants off Mark Driscoll! Seeing him preach to the boys one on one and pour the Gospel into each of their lives. Many boys have come to “confesar a Jesus” as Leo would say! I’m truly blessed to have been a part of this ministry.

Time for some favorite moments!

5. Prayer walks in El Callejon. Spending time praying for the community and worshiping with the boys in club was an awesome way to let the Holy Spirit work. Truly could see hearts transformed and allowed me to show the boys my true talents!

4. Visiting the river. Loved doing this! Hiking to the river and having mango fights, can you ask for more? I had a great time getting out with the boys and doing something different, and not sweating for once!

3. Climbing Mogote. Took an hour and a half, but the view was incredible. Was a great time to hike with the boys and spend personal time with them. Plus hitting golf balls of the summit was such a blast!

2. Leading the site for a couple days. Leo had to leave unexpectedly and left me in charge. The Lord guided me and even led to preach to the boys! I did it all in spanish as well. It was a bit stressful, but got to come alive as a leader and brother amongst them.

1. Earning the boys’ respect. I don’t recall a specific moment in time when it happened, but at some point during the summer, the boys began to love me and really enjoy my company. I’ll never forget that in every town we worked, I would hear my name shouted from all corners from people I never even met sometimes!

At the end of it all, I want to give God the glory for all things. For it is only because of Christ that these things were done, and that I had the privilege of being His chosen instrument of bringing the Gospel to these boys in this specific way. Perhaps the most fitting way to end this paper is with one of my favorite songs, The Doxology:

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Praise Him all creatures here below

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Amen.”

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