By Allen Palmeri
CHESTERFIELD – The theology that drives Albert Pujols is found in Matthew 25:35-36.
God the Father uses this portion of the Bible to teach, among other things, that saints will give water to the thirsty. In the Dominican Republic, the country where he was born and raised, Pujols attempts to do this while attending West County Community Church, Wildwood, which is a Cooperative Program-participating Missouri Baptist congregation.
Sometimes he fails. It is true that even great baseball players like the St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman and recently named National League Most Valuable Player (a hitter known as “The Machine”) have been known to fail seven times out of 10. Pujols fails a lot—but he also swings precisely.
He tries to succeed, year after year, by going to Batey Aleman—an impoverished section of the Dominican. He goes to help the thirsty.
“There’s a lot of disease down there, and a lot of death,” he said in a Nov. 11 interview with The Pathway here at The Crossing. “Part of that is because of water. They don’t have clean water.”
Now more than ever, Pujols and his faithful team of missionaries with the Pujols Family Foundation (PFF) are determined to obey Matthew 25:35-36. On a global scale, their mission field is nothing weighty—serving in the Dominican Republic is like lining a single to right field—but it is obedience.
“Two years ago, we watched a little girl die from having bad water,” said PFF CEO Todd Perry. “There was nothing we could do—couldn’t revive her. She was gone, and that was one of the things that really made an impact on us. We said we really need to do something.”
Pujols, 29, is a three-time MVP, a World Series champion, “El Hombre” in St. Louis, and a professional sports megastar who may earn up to $300 million in his next baseball contract. But even megastar multi-millionaires need ministry partners. In thinking about his goals for the Dominican, Pujols realized he needed some help. That is when Saint Louis University entered the picture.
Pujols announced during his Veterans Day interview with The Pathway that the partnership was secured. The foundation and the university’s School of Public Health are launching a joint initiative to provide access to safe and clean drinking water in the Dominican Republic. This offseason, on the next Pujols-led mission trip to the Caribbean nation, 750 water filters will be delivered to Batey Aleman.
In the context of explaining why he came to The Crossing to help promote a book, Advent Conspiracy, that advocates a new way of doing Christmas, Pujols talked about why he believes in the Matthew 25 ideal of “love all,” meaning the poor, the forgotten, the marginalized, and the sick.
“Isn’t that what God did for us?” he said. “He loved everybody. There were people that chose to do their own thing, which is always going to happen, but you know what? He loved everybody.
“I always tell myself, it doesn’t matter. You still need to share with those rich people. You still need to share with those poor people, because they are the same.”
Perry described what he sees Albert and his wife, Deidre, doing on mission. They wade right in among people who may be carrying parasites, lice, scabies, and HIV.
“Just love all, no matter the consequence,” Pujols said. “It’s in my heart. I look at myself like that. I put myself in that place—what Christ would do for me.”