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Missionaries: BU helped to pave way

Oct. 12, 2000

Baylor played role in evangelical paths

By BETH BOND

Reporter

Several missionaries participating in Missions Emphasis Week credit Baylor for shaping their careers.

For them, this is a homecoming, as well as a chance to build toward the future of missions by returning to their alma mater 'to make this campus aware of ways that God is at work around the world and to help students and faculty both know how they can be involved in that,' said Baptist Student Ministries associate director, Rae Wright.

'I've come to appreciate Baylor,' said Dr. Kirk Person, a missionary to Thailand. 'Going through the [Baylor in Thailand] program, I knew that was where I wanted to be, where I was supposed to be.'

He and his wife, Susie Person, both Baylor graduates, said they knew early on that they were being led to mission work, but they said the specifics of their ministry were revealed gradually.

'I took a linguistics class at Baylor, but dropped it after a week,' said Kirk Person, a 1987 graduate who earned his master's and doctorate degrees in history. He now works as a linguist and has developed an alphabet for a small Thai tribe called the Bisu.

Thanks to the Persons, there are now books written in Bisu recording the Bisu folklore and preserving their culture, which has 'raised their self-esteem, knowing that their language has value,' Mr. Person said. By meeting their needs, the Persons gained the Bisu's respect and are hoping to translate the Bible into Bisu soon.

'The Bisu aren't Christians,' Mr. Person said. 'They don't want to be Christians. But they've given us permission to translate scripture. We'll translate it, teach them how to read and then let the Bible speak for itself.'

Bruce Muskrat, who graduated in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in music, also cites his years at Baylor as a pivotal time in accepting his call to ministry. He and his wife, Nancy, now serve in music ministry in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and they use music as a means of evangelism.

As Columbus Avenue Baptist Church's organist during his college years, Muskrat developed relationships with ministers of music whose 'influence helped form a lot of my concepts of what church music ministry is.'

Their work in Buenos Aires includes discipleship training, church planting and teaching Argentine seminary students how to lead worship. The Muskrats also work in outreach ministries.

'As musicians we have a unique role in music evangelism,' Nancy Muskrat said. 'We are able to contact people who don't normally go to church.'

Not all of the missionaries taking part in Missions Emphasis Week work in foreign missions. Brenda Sanders is a 1981 Baylor graduate now working as Student Missions Consultant for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. She is responsible for dispatching Texas college students to missions programs.

'God created me to be a creative person,' Sanders said. 'My major was an outlet for that. It helps in thinking creatively for the [public relations] part of my job with displays, Web sites and T-shirts.' At Baylor, Sanders majored in fine arts in communication design, which equipped her for her unique career as a 'mobilizer.'