Mario Labrador is in love with baseball. He’s been swinging a bat since the age of six. Last summer, Labrador traded his chance at the big leagues for a chance at Christian education. He’s now a communication major at Southwestern Adventist University.
“Baseball was my entire life,” says Labrador. “It was a really tough choice to come to Southwestern. But no matter what decision you make, if you make it through Christ it will all work out. It will all be OK with Christ.”
It all started with a torn hamstring. Labrador ran the 60-yard dash for his coaches and potential scouts, but a sharp pain stopped him short. The injury put him on the bench for two months. Eager to play, he waited patiently until he could go up to plate again.
When the time finally came, he took his place on the field. The sun was shining, Labrador relaxed into position, and he took a swing. The fastball came down the center of the strike zone, and a sharp pain struck at Labrador’s back.
This time it was a disc injury. It put him out the entire season. Though it was difficult not being able to play, Labrador looked to God for peace. He realized, “no matter the situation, no matter where I am sitting or standing, God can use me for His will if I am willing.”
Labrador finished the year sitting on the bench. He got to know God better, and people took notice. A younger player even commented on his positive attitude, despite the difficult situation. Labrador also started a Bible study with the guys from his team, and a few people from the dorm.
Next fall, Labrador would be ready to play again. Yet over the summer, he began to realize that his back injury might be God trying to tell him something, that God might have other plans for him than baseball. After lots of prayer, Labrador decided to attend Southwestern.
“This is my first time at an Adventist college,” says Labrador. “The atmosphere is different here than anywhere else I’ve been. You can tell that people are Christian. Sometimes I wish I could have ended baseball on a better note, but I know it was all for the best. God has better plans for me.”