Students Travel Locally and Abroad on Mission Trips Over Spring Break
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Media contact: Tonya Lewis, (254) 710-4656
WACO, Texas (April 4, 2017) – This spring break, 11 teams of Baylor University students, faculty and staff traveled to different countries including the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Greece, Honduras and Peru to integrate their faith with service and learning on mission trips.
Greece Accounting (and more!)
Eighteen students, along with faculty and guests, took an inaugural interdisciplinary mission trip to Athens, Greece to work on addressing the complex challenge of the refugee crisis in Europe. Many around the world responded during the crisis, but for the refugee, the crisis has become a way of life with no end in sight.
Recognizing that this is a problem that requires a multidisciplinary approach, Baylor University brought together four schools from across campus. Two students from the journalism, public relations and new media department worked on a project that aims to change how the West views refugees: not as nameless people in need, but individuals striving to find a better life. Three students from Truett Seminary worked with the local church to increase its footprint in the city and better position it to respond to the evolving needs of refugees. Five students from the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work worked with the local church to conduct asset mapping, a process that could provide the refugees a roadmap to being freed from poverty. Eight students from the Hankamer School of Business worked to establish a business incubator to help refugees turn their ideas into businesses.
“My trip to Greece was eye-opening on many levels and was so unique compared to any other mission trip I have ever participated in,” said Morgan London, junior journalism major from Overton, Texas. ”Our group was thinking long-term rather than get as much done in a week as possible and never follow up. I created relationships not only with the locals there, but with my classmates and professors that have continued now that we are back on campus. I left Greece with the confirmation that God had led me to this trip for a reason and with hope that I will in some way impact the lives of those we worked with. We were lucky enough to plant a seed in Athens and I am eager to see how it grows for years to come.”
Guatemala Baylor and Beyond
Baylor Missions partnered with the Baylor & Beyond Living Learning Center(LLC) to send a team of 14 students and two Baylor faculty and staff to Antigua, Guatemala to serve alongside Orphan’s Heart International at Colonia Infantil, a malnutrition center in San Juan, to help meet the needs of children suffering from malnutrition. The team was most excited about working with the children and experiencing the transformation that will happen in the faculty, students and children involved in this experience.
Guatemala Honors Residential College (HRC)
The Honors Residential College sent 29 students to Antigua and San Juan, Guatemala to serve orphans, malnourished children and the elderly. At the same time, students were intentionally challenged by Baylor HRC faculty leaders to think about how the conditions of civil war, political violence, economic injustice and immigration affect those communities. This team’s growing research initiative on Central America is supported by a missions education grant from Baylor Missions.
“It was amazing to see God work so much within our team,” said Jordan Millhollin, junior biochemistry major from Centennial, Colo. “There were so many moments when people said they could tangibly feel God's love in the kids that we worked with and the jobs that we were able to do. Between seeing God so tangibly and seeing the servant hearts in so many of my peers, the trip was truly magnificent.”
Honduras AMSA (American Medical Student Association)
American Medical Student Association (AMSA) sent 20 students, two Baylor team leaders and a small team of guest doctors and nurses to serve in Copán, Honduras for the first time. Through a partnership with a local organization called Global CHE (www.globalche.org) this team was able to serve those located within the Mayan valley of Copán, where many locals are unable to receive necessary medical treatments and live their whole lives with problems such as parasites, diabetes and ulcers. The team helped set up temporary clinics that were used to bring free care to the locals.
Laredo, Texas Engineering and Social Work
Jennifer Dickey from the Garland School of Social Work and Brian Thomas from the School of Engineering and Computer Science collaborated on a multidisciplinary approach to student education and social service, informed by the Christian faith. The faculty team took 26 engineering and social work students to Laredo, Texas to assess and support the services already being provided to persons who are migrating from desperate situations in their countries.
Though differing in disciplinary background, this team has experience and contacts in Laredo and shares a common vision. They offered discipline-specific teaching and service activities during the day and utilized the evenings for cross-disciplinary collaboration among their students. Students had the opportunity to participate on interdisciplinary teams and provide their academic perspective to others, enhancing and diversifying the way they approach community challenges and solutions.
“The community we were working in is called Colonia Las Lomas,” said Michael Larson, senior mechanical engineering major from Foothill Ranch, Calif. “It is not technically a part of the county, so they do not have water lines, sewer lines or gas lines available to them. For water, they must pay to fill up 150 gallon tanks every few days. The water from the wells we drilled, while not drinkable, can offset their non-drinking needs like plumbing or irrigation. On the first day, we had a meeting with some community members where we found out the church had some other needs. In addition to drilling a new well at the local church, we finished (installed pump and tank) the well from the summer and built soccer goals and a chicken coop. I enjoyed working with our team, interacting with the community in Las Lomas and seeing how God is at work in Laredo.”
Other Spring Break Mission Trips
• Dominican Republic Alpha Epsilon Delta
• Dominican Republic MAPS (Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students)
• Guatemala Nutrition
• Peru Nursing
• Hunger in Texas
• Lubbock, Texas Story-Based Advocacy
by Kelsey Dehnel, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805
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