An Extraordinary Call to Serve
Before Ben and Ashley Mangrum ever knew George W. Truett Theological Seminary existed, they knew who they wanted to be: compassionate, hospitable ministers to their community. No small feat, when your community is, well, everywhere.
"We both wanted to serve people and serve the world," Ben said. "We felt that seminary would be the best venue to learn about how to do that."
For the married couple, both pursuing their master of divinity degrees at Baylor's Truett Seminary, a call to ministry doesn't necessarily mean a call to serve in a church. In fact, as they pursue further education, they willingly move outside the comfort of a classroom and step into unknown surroundings and unfamiliar cultures--all for the sake of service.
"When you learn to serve people in other nations and to love your neighbor there, it puts a new light to what it means to love and serve your neighbor wherever you are," Ashley reflected.
Indeed, as Ben and Ashley study theology together, and as Ben also pursues a master of arts degree in English, Baylor has extended the Mangrums' experience far beyond the walls of Truett Seminary. From Asia to Africa, Ben and Ashley have served alongside a variety of people and gained more insight into true ministry than they ever thought possible.
In India, while working with Sisters of Charity, an organization founded by Mother Teresa, Ashley recalled seeing women give their lives to serving people who could never repay them. From the forgotten disabled orphans to the "house of the dying," where they helped to make someone's last days more comfortable, these women displayed "such a picture of what selfless service looks like."
"These international experiences helped us understand ourselves and our own culture," Ben recalled. "Those aren't things you can quantify or put on paper, but they're crucial."
Now, Ben and Ashley bring those lessons to their roles as chaplains in Baylor's North Village Residential Community. Whether it is 2 a.m. or noon, the Mangrums are there for students, helping them fight complex issues or sort through difficult questions.
"The opportunity to be chaplains in a residence hall and invest in the lives of students has been essential," Ben said. "The friendships we've made with students have impacted what we think ministry looks like--teaching us what it means to truly befriend people and walk alongside them."
Ben and Ashley's journey at Baylor is forming them into true ministers, unlimited in compassion and unfettered in serving communities throughout the world.
It is a journey that would not have happened without scholarships.
"Scholarships make it possible for us to be here," Ben said. "We want donors to know that we see their contributions and their sacrifices as participation in who we are becoming and in what we do after we leave Baylor."
"I cannot imagine who we would be without, not only international experiences, but also the formation from time at Baylor," Ashley added. "If ever there was a place intent on forming future ministers--for work inside and outside the church--it's Baylor. It is a trustworthy place to invest."