In the northeast corner of Haiti last summer, near the border of the Dominican Republic, Baylor Engineering students applied both hard work and brain-power to help meet needs by installing solar panels to a Mission Waco training center which serves the impoverished island nation.
That was just one scene of Baylor service, with similar acts of love and compassion taking place around the globe-including the city of Waco.
"When we do acts of kindness to the least of these," Brian Thomas, a Baylor Engineering Professor and leader of the Haiti trip, said, "we have done them to Christ Himself. This is a way that we can use the gifts that we've been given to worship in a unique way through designs of compassion."
"We're trying to provide opportunities for transformation to occur in students," Becky Kennedy, Associate Chaplain and Director of Missions for Baylor Missions, explained. "From the time they enter Baylor until the time they graduate, we want them to understand what it means to be missional, no matter where they live their life."
Preparing students for lives of Christian service is part of Baylor's mission statement. Baylor President Ken Starr has declared Baylor Missions a point of emphasis, and the University is dedicating a great amount of time and energy to grow resources that will allow even more students to take part in mission opportunities both far-flung and close-to-home.
"The most unique thing about Baylor Missions is the idea of discipline-specific trips," Holly Widick, Coordinator for Global Missions, said. "Baylor takes specific aspects from your major into ministry, and applies it in practical ways that help students see how they can live missionally through their vocation."
Baylor Missions provides these life-changing opportunities to students through two distinct programs: global missions, comprised of those worldwide missions trips and service projects, and urban missions, which partners with organizations that serve the Waco community.
For some students, a foreign mission trip may not be feasible to due to time or money-related concerns. Urban Missions affords students the opportunity to serve on a regular basis without traveling abroad.
"We have teams that go out every week in the Waco area, like on Tuesday afternoons or Saturdays, throughout the semester," Carole Meriweather, Coordinator for Urban Missions, said. "We have many students who are committed to serving every week at places like Mission Waco, Talitha Koum, Christian Womens Job Corps, World Hunger Relief and other places in the community."
Parents who wish to encourage their child to take part can learn more at the Baylor Missions parents' Frequently Asked Questions page, and direct their student to the student FAQ page. While deadlines have passed for May and June 2014 mission trips, there are some offered later in the summer, and urban opportunities abound throughout the year. Additionally, financial aid is available for students who are in need and for students who have been on mission trips before. Your child could benefit from a strengthened focus on missions in the Baylor University experience in the years ahead.
"Judge Starr and Alice have been champions for what we are doing in missions," Kennedy said. "They've both been on missions trips and they've encouraged others to invest in what we're doing. We want Baylor students to serve God and others for the rest of their lives, and Baylor Missions can put them on that trajectory."
Do you have questions about Baylor Missions, financial assistance, or available trips? Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org to get answers and learn more.