Baylor University Students Serve for the Summer
- Baylor students in Washington D.C. meeting about the hunger and food deficit issues in America.
- Baylor students meeting groups of children participating in "Shoot 4 Life"
- Allison Russell with children in the village of Kyerekrom, Ghana.
- Baylor and Albanian college students gather for a group picture in front of the Mediterranean
- Baylor engineering team with their newly-installed solar panels on top of a community training center.
- Baylor students in the back row, learning a dance from the boys of Casa Girasoles.
- Baylor student athletes playing with the community in Ndola, Zambia at a sports camp.
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Media contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275
WACO, Texas (August 1, 2014) – Throughout the summer months, Baylor University students, staff and faculty members dispersed around the globe through discipline-specific mission trips to serve, work and reach those whom many don’t get the privilege to meet.
These trips are coordinated by Baylor Global Missions, which creates tangible opportunities for students to understand how they can use the knowledge and skills they gain here at Baylor to love people around the world, throughout the United States and in the Waco community.
Global Missions collaborates with faculty and staff from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds along with global partners to implement spiritually rich and challenging experiences for our students. The intent is for students who participate in these journeys not only enjoy the experience but also discover a sense of vocation and calling as they see first-hand how they can use their discipline to serve.
In May, 11 groups were sent to El Salvador, Ghana, Haiti, Uganda and beyond, where their work ranged from addressing healthcare concerns, providing electricity to local communities, performing in various musical concerts and church services, running sports camps in local schools, empowering and supporting teachers, and multiple other trip-specific projects.
The Ghana leadership team, comprised of 15 students and two Baylor staff members, focused on health care at Kwame Nkrumah University Hospital – observing in the hospital, doing rotations with doctors, and observing surgeries. Students also had an opportunity to teach wellness education to children, helping them learn the basics of hygiene.
Allison Russell, a junior pre-biology major from Tulsa, Okla. wrote in her blog about how the trip affected her.
“These people have completely changed my life,” Russell said. “My outlook on things and my perception of poverty is altered. I truly am amazed at the faith these people have. Their ability to make it by with very few possessions creates a stronger bond with God. They are so faithful and thankful.”
Another Ghana team was sent to partner with All Nations Charity Home orphanage in Kumasi, Ghana, where they participated in the “Shoot 4 Life” basketball ministry alongside Vincent Asamoah, Baylor graduate and founder of Shoot 4 Life Ministries.
Andrew Bowles, a senior religion and speech communication major from Waco, reflected on what he learned while in Ghana through his blog.
“As I return to The States, it has taken a conscious effort to realize that Jesus’ personality emanates from all kinds of things, and not simply people, but also through creation and experiences as well,” Bowles said. “As I continue to process my time in Ghana, it is my prayer that it is through the eyes of one who experiences the fullness of Christ, and not the mortal aspects of what I think my time in Ghana should have looked like, but rather how Christ shaped my time there.”
In Haiti, a team of 12 students and two faculty members traveled to Ferrier to partner with Mission Waco in community development, using their engineering skills to assemble and install a solar photovoltaic system to provide electricity to a community training center.
Several other trips were sent out in May, including a social work team in Washington D.C. There, students concentrated on the issue of hunger in America. By partnering with organizations like DC Central Kitchen, Maryland Breakfast in the Classroom and the United States Department of Agriculture, the students were able to get some first-hand knowledge of the topic.
In the month of June, two teams were sent to Peru and Zambia.
In Peru, seven students and Baylor staff member, Jordy Dickey, traveled to Kawai, Peru, to partner with Latin America Mission (LAM) in assisting with maintenance of Casa Girasoles – a home for abandoned boys.
Dickey, assistant director of the Student Union Building, said that the team’s time there was both rewarding and unforgettable. The time they spent at Casa Girasoles she considered the most memorable of the trip.
“We spent four days running a VBS program and really got to build deep relationships with the youth,” Dickey said. “I really consider it an honor and a privilege when someone tells you their story and I was fortunate enough to known the story of Antonio. I’ll never forget sitting with him, looking through my Bible and talking about our favorite verses that motivate us or comfort us in the hard times.”
In Zambia, a team of four MBA students and four faculty members partnered with Northrise University, where they taught a two-week intensive business course for Northrise students.
In July, two teams were sent to El Salvador and Greece.
The outdoor and recreation team in Athens, Greece, engaged in cross-cultural immersion, personal interaction and interpersonal development through one-on-one mentoring experiences with local Albanian youth.
Jeff Walter, assistant director for campus recreation who was one of the Baylor staff members on the trip, shared some insight into the student experience.
“We partner our 10 Baylor students with 10 Albanian immigrants – who are also college students – in Athens as they ‘do life’ with each other for two weeks,” Walter said. “It’s a crash course in cross-cultural awareness, team building, outdoor recreation and seeing the sights around Athens, together.”
In El Salvador, 20 students traveled to San Salvador to partner with Universidad Evangelica de El Salvador University. They observed and served in the university hospital and local medical brigades.
The final team sent out for the summer is the Vietnam nursing team. Louise Herrington School of Nursing senior lecturers Vivian Gamblian and Jane Price and Dean Shelley Conroy, E.D.D., are currently in Vietnam leading eight students and volunteers to work alongside Vietnamese nurses, nurse faculty and nursing students.
Gamblian said this is her sixth trip to Vietnam, and she and her team are ready and excited to start working alongside their medical partners.
“We will be providing seminars here at Nam Dinh University regarding the use of pedagogy, and we will also be helping them to develop high technology laboratories for their university,” Gamblian said.
The second location the team will be working in is the National Pediatric Hospital in Hanoi. It is a 1,000-bed hospital that serves all of the sick children of Vietnam. Gamblian and the nursing team will be teaching staff there the use of high fidelity simulation so they are able to teach their nurses and doctors regarding the care of sick infants and children.
In all, 300 faculty, staff, students, alumni and university guests participated in 16 discipline-specific mission teams in 10 countries. The stories, according to many blog posts and videos made in the duration of the trips, are those of thankfulness and reverence.
Blogs and videos from summer trips can be seen on the Baylor spiritual life page .
by Rebecca Flannery, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805
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Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.