Pujols, wife, guests on Focus on the Family
Missouri Baptist couple discuss faith, foundation
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Albert and Dee Dee Pujols appeared on the Focus on the Family radio program Aug. 15-16 to share their testimonies and to talk about Down Syndrome. Dee Dee spoke openly about her rocky path that led to the Savior, which included getting pregnant out of wedlock at the age of 20, and how God used her daughter, Isabella, to get her attention. Isabella was born with Down Syndrome.
“I had just moved back to Kansas City,” she said on the broadcast. “I had just found out I was pregnant and I knew I was never going to have anything to do with him [the biological father] again, so I was by myself and it brought me to my knees. A person has to be on their knees before they can go ‘Okay God, I’m ready to surrender’ and that was my moment.”
Dee Dee met Albert, then a young budding baseball player who lived in the Kansas City area, shortly thereafter and invited him to church. She shared the Gospel with him and he became a Christian a couple of weeks after he started attending church. She didn’t tell Albert at first about Isabella, but when she did, he was totally accepting of Isabella.
“I was just a teenager—19 years old,” Albert said about his subsequent marriage to Dee Dee and his relationship with the girl he now considers his daughter, “But God works [things] out [in] different ways and I started learning how to become a parent. I look at her right now—she has Down Syndrome, but I look at her just like a normal kid.”
Down Syndrome is a genetic condition caused by extra genetic material (genes) from the 21st chromosome. The extra genes cause some degree of mental retardation, or cognitive disability and other developmental delays.
The Pujols’ know the difficulties associated with Down Syndrome, and with all of Albert’s on-field success as the All-Star first baseman of the St. Louis Cardinals, they are in the financial position to help others. So, they started the Pujols Family Foundation (www.pujolsfamilyfoundation.org) which focuses on “faith, family, and others.”
“Our main focus as of right now,” Dee Dee said, “is families who have any kind of connection with Down Syndrome, and also, in the Dominican Republic [where Albert was born], we’re trying to work with the orphans. Right now we have an orphanage that we are working with that has about 120 kids and their mission was to expand…it’s a beautiful facility, but it’s just packed…so we were just able to give the Down Syndrome Association of St. Louis and the orphanage in the Dominican Republic both a check for $50,000.”
The Pujols’ family, which now includes three children, is active in their church, West County Community Church in Wildwood, pastored by Phil Hunter. And Albert, who has been mentored extensively by Pastor Hunter, told the Focus on the Family audience how important it is for him to be involved in a good church.
“It has been a blessing because I have people [to whom I’m] accountable. They call me every day and pray for me…and it doesn’t matter how much money I have, without the Lord, I’m nothing.”