Each summer, Baylor Missions sends students across the nation and around the world to use their talents and skills to spread God’s message.
Over the past year, Baylor University sent 38 teams consisting of 403 students, 72 faculty and staff, and 18 guests to 15 countries, including the United States, on mission trips that aided in building community development, helped in hospitals, encouraged community education and constructed solar-powered battery charging stations, to name a few.
"The purpose of Baylor Missions is to shape Baylor's faithful engagement with Waco and the world by creating intentional opportunities to integrate faith, learning and service within a broad worldview," said Holly Tate, assistant director for missions. "In fulfillment of its mission, Baylor Missions seeks to educate students about vocation as mission, Christian responsibility and the practice of intentionality. We help students practice intentionality within the context of their mission experiences, apply the practice of Christian responsibility to their mission experiences and discuss the concept of vocation as calling."
Mission destinations are often long-term partners with Baylor and can be non-governmental organizations, churches, missions and development organizations, as well as other Christian universities, Tate said. Each year, Baylor looks to expand its missional reach by increasing its global partnerships to add new destinations and send more students abroad.
Baylor Missions has a goal of more than 700 students participating annually by 2018 "to serve others through their areas of academic interest and to discern their calling," Tate said. Eventually, the university is planning for a future when 1,000 students travel with Baylor Missions each year. The university is committed to raising $20 million in endowed funds for Baylor Missions to support this work and students who could otherwise not participate in these life-changing experiences.
Baylor's many discipline-specific mission trips offer opportunities for students to see how their majors and eventual professions can positively impact the lives of others.
"I never quite understood why God directed my path into the world of accounting when my heart told me I wanted to see my life clearly impact His kingdom through my career," said Jenna Fischer, an accounting graduate student who was part of Baylor's Uganda Accounting mission trip. "I am so blessed to say that God showed me that my calling to go into accounting allows Him to use me in parts of the world in need of basic business skills, decision-making tools and simply someone to partner with them on their journey through the joys and hardships of life."
In addition, the variety of domestic and international mission trips gives students a chance to experience cultures and lifestyles different from, and often surprisingly similar to, their own.
"My main takeaway after visiting the Rio Grande on this trip is that I should not let where someone was born and their nationality determine whether or not I love them," said Alexandra Holland, a senior majoring in social work who was part of the Laredo Social Work Human Trafficking mission trip. "Instead, God wants us to love everyone as He has loved us, regardless of nationality, culture, language, etc. I am more committed than ever to improving our immigration system."
To learn more about discipline-specific mission experiences visit baylor.edu/missions.