Baylor Students On A Mission From Coast To Coast
- Golden Gate Bridge: (left to right) Lindsey Mouser, Baylor BSM director Clif Mouser's daughter, and Baylor students?Tanya Homan and Melissa Henrietta saw the San Francisco sights with Afghans?Baneen and Sultan.
- Brian and the gang: (right to left) Baylor students Brian Severski, Beth Chandler and Jennifer Machen enjoy a meal with Afghans Aman and Sultan.
- Cassie & Afghan moms: Cassandra King enjoyed getting to know the Afghan women?while she helped?them paint tea trays.
- Chandra in NY: (left to right) Sigma Phi Lambda members Jenny Morrell, Vicki Wright, Chandra Sternau, Cara Ditter and Dawn Strohmeyer prepare for ministry at Grand Central Station.
by Marianne May, student writer
For Baylor University students, the mid-March spring break was a week of rest from the unending barrage of papers, projects and presentations.
Rather than taking it easy, though, some students chose instead to travel beyond the comforts of home and participate in mission trips.
Among the different trips that Baylor students participated in were Sigma Phi Lambda's trip to New York City and the Baptist Student Ministries' trip the San Francisco Bay area.
"It was the first time we've taken Baylor students to San Francisco," said BSM director Clif Mouser. "It was a great week of starting and building relationships."
The Baylor Religious Hour Choir performed concerts, while the rest of the 54-member team split into two different groups to travel to Marin City and Fremont, two San Francisco suburbs.
The students in Marin City worked with a church to establish a ministry on a nearby college campus. In Fremont, the team ministered to a group of Afghan refugees.
More than 30,000 Afghan refugees have been relocated by the U.S. government to the Fremont area, Mouser said, and many are women and children whose husbands and fathers had been executed by the Taliban.
Partnering with Crossroads Church and local missionaries, the team toured San Francisco, playing with the children and building friendships with the youth and adults.
"I saw people from completely different cultures share authentic, meaningful and loving relationships," said Cassandra King, a senior from Orange. "There are so many barriers and differences between these two groups, but God brought us together to find common ground and to share life together."
Each evening, the church hosted programs for the church members, the Afghan mothers and the children. Several of the Afghan families showed their gratitude to the students and church members by preparing a traditional meal for them at the end of the week.
King had dinner with a mother and her seven children, all of whom were under the age of 18.
"It was amazing to experience their love and gratitude as they served us this meal," she said. "Because they are refugees, they have very little, but when they served us dinner, they gave so much. In fact, it was really more like a feast than a dinner!"
Brian Severeski, a Katy sophomore, said several students who went on the trip are now interested in making a career of mission work. He said some even plan to return to the Bay area.
"I have the opportunity to go back to San Francisco to work with the youth group and Afghan families for the summer; I'm praying about it to see if this is the right thing for me," said Tanya Homan, a Katy sophomore. "The people of Crossroads Church and the missionaries to the Afghans do God-filled, wonderful work."
Members of Sigma Phi Lambda also took the week away from school to serve, traveling to New York City to work with Mission NYC, an organization dedicated to bringing ministry groups into the city.
The seven sorority members and their sponsor, Baylor Family and Consumer Sciences professor Patricia Hassell, stayed in a youth hostel in Manhattan.
The students visited Ground Zero and several firehouses, praying with the firefighters. They worked with the Yorktown Common Food Pantry and partnered with God's Love We Deliver to distribute meals to homebound AIDS patients. The students also set up prayer tables in Union and Grand Central Station and visited a prayer meeting at the Brooklyn Tabernacle.
"It was amazing to be able to offer to the people of New York City a chance to lay their heavy burdens down before the feet of Jesus," said Chandra Sternau, a sophomore from The Woodlands and a Sigma Phi Lambda member. "With the fragrance of the Lord, we were a breath of fresh air to the people we met."
Students from both trips agreed that Baylor should continue to promote and sponsor spring break mission trips.
"It was a great opportunity to meet people from other places and to be reminded that not all environments are identical to Baylor," Sternau said.
"Baylor should definitely keep sending students out for missions," said Severski, who helped coordinate the San Francisco trip. "Sending students on missions, especially over spring break, gives those students the opportunity to follow God's call, and allows those students to experience sacrifice of time, money, and energy, among other things."
"To sacrifice of ourselves is a great way to show our love for God, for each other, and for God's children everywhere," he said.