Educating Men And Women For Worldwide Leadership And ServiceDec. 16, 2010
Over the summer, multiple teams of Baylor students headed out across the globe to put what they'd learned in class to work serving others. Director of Photography Robert Rogers visited several teams across Africa to document their work, from a group of accounting students in Uganda, to student-athletes, social work students and pre-med majors in Kenya, to biology researchers in Malawi. The following pages include his photos and journal entries from students on those trips.
I was filled with joy as I waved to the children coming to greet us, and their laughter flooded into the van as we drove down a bumpy dirt road. An elderly woman, who took her bundle off her head so she could shake our hands and thank us, brought a smile to my face. Then the overwhelming sadness and helplessness hit when we saw a child at the clinic that we could not help; we could only pray over him and his mother, wishing we could make everything better and do more than wipe away her tears. There's the peace you feel when you take a crying baby boy into your arms, the crying ceases and he looks up at you with deep brown eyes -- only to have the peace taken away abruptly as you are told his parents are dead and he's an orphan.
I want you to know these moments and experiences because they have changed me.
They have made me a better person and helped me to grow in my faith. They have brought me to the knowledge and comfort that God has been at every one of these moments. ... He is the Father to the fatherless and the ultimate Healer. He has comforted me, and I know that He is with all the people, young and old, that we have seen and met.
Sarah Lange, senior
This morning our sports ministry team of 28 members woke up at 5 and went to feed the children on the streets. ... Many of the children are so inspirational, as they wish to get on their feet and do things such as go back to school. It brings tears to my eyes to see what they have to go through. At times it was hard to watch as some children were "high" off of sniffing glue. ...
God is working wonders in their lives, though, as well as ours. A strong man in faith named Pastor Boniface was there to lead us through it all. He actually manages feeding the children during the week in the morning and brings them in to not just feed them but to talk about God. ... He even brings boys off the streets and into his own home to help get them started. ...
This entire week and a half that we have been here has been such a life-changing experience. Most people have the image of us coming to Africa to help and change people over here. If I have learned one thing, however, it is that the people here have changed me. Whether it be going to a school, orphanage, or even washing feet from chiggers, I have been extremely impacted. ... I thank God for helping our team make a difference here, but also for the positive change that is going on in my life as well.
Melissa Jones, senior
Speech communications major
We found ourselves stepping off the bus to a church overflowing with Compassion children who greeted us with a number of songs and dances. We returned the favor (though in a much less exuberant or flavorful manner), and proceeded to worship our one Lord and Savior together. I was marked by the moment where I sat down on the pew amidst a huddle of faces who were staring expectantly at the "mzungu" (white person) who was staring just as expectantly back at each of them. In that split-second I felt the awkwardness that comes right before the breaking of a barrier that previously blocked a God-intended oneness of His people.
After worship, my group was ushered into the home of one of the Compassion boys who lives with his mom. Though we saw her pride in her plant-selling business of which she made 1,000 Uganda shillings last week (less than a dollar), her heart for her son rang throughout the 10'-by-10' home as she told of the passing of three other sons as well as her husband. However, her grip on the faithfulness of her Lord and Provider rang even louder as she works using what God has given and gives back all the glory.
Finally, the Lord would not let me leave without being reminded of the simple joy that oozes from the smiles of children as we joined the kids in a carnival consisting of face and nail painting, jump ropes, sack races, bubbles, a Ugandan-dominated soccer match, and lots and lots of stickers.
Matt Larsen, junior
After last year's trip to Africa, we noticed the students at Uganda Christian University had a need for professionalism training. This year we addressed that need through sessions on dining etiquette, professional dress, presentations, interviewing, and CV/résumé writing. We were able to take t-shirts, business portfolios, thank you cards, pens, interviewing flash cards, CV books and ties to give to the students who attended our sessions. The turnout for our sessions was great; we reached over 150 students. We were so humbled by the reaction of the students to sessions. They attended the sessions entirely on their own, with no incentives. Their enthusiasm as they asked us questions showed us they really valued the material we shared with them.
It has been such a unique opportunity to see the full spectrum of a child's life in Africa -- from growing up in poverty, yearning to learn God's word, to being transformed by the grace of God into an educated young adult, confident in God's purpose for their life.
I have always wanted to come to Africa on a mission trip. When a friend of mine told me about a new trip being formed, Baylor Accounting Mission Trip, I was sold on the idea. ... This has been a unique opportunity to use my accounting and business knowledge to further God's kingdom.
Tori Sanchez, senior
Corpus Christi, Texas
Kathleen Simpson, BBA '10, MAC '10
Last year we were part of the first group to go on the Kenya medical mission trip, and it was an incredibly enriching experience. Both of us were anxious to see the difference that a year had made: the improvements of the patients we had seen, the now-complete water tank for which we had spent hours building the foundation, and of course the new friends we had made.
This year was everything we had hoped for and more. Planting seedlings allowed us to interact with individuals in the community and to see this beautiful country. On one particular occasion we were touched when an elder picked nuts and offered them to those of us who were planting; they were likely her meal for the day. Another new development was a clinical laboratory. We loved knowing the patients were being diagnosed correctly.
Kenya has helped us grow both individually and as a couple. We could not have possibly imagined the enthusiasm and love that met the announcement of our engagement on this trip, both from our fellow missionaries and from the local community. Kenya will always be part of our past and our future.
Andrew Waller, senior
University Scholar major
Christina Hughes, senior