This spring break, Baylor Missions sent 14 teams comprised of more than 240 Baylor students, faculty, staff and alumni on trips to serve communities in the U.S. and seven different countries all over the world. The teams were formed to integrate students’ faith with service and learning, most of which had a discipline-specific focus to their community development projects. Follow #BearsOnMission and @BUmissions to see highlights of these and future trips.
Thank you to all of our faculty and staff who contributed to the planning and execution of trips, and a special thank you to those who took their valuable time and resources to lead students on these invaluable experiences.
San Jose, Costa RicaTwenty students from the School of Education, Hankamer School of Business and the Leadership LLC partnered with the Santa Elena School and Heredia Technical High School, just outside of the country’s capital, planning classroom activities, lessons and field trips for students and working with students at the University of Costa Rica. Dr. Randy Wood, professor, curriculum and instruction, and Dr. Trena Wilkerson, professor, curriculum and instruction, led the trip. “I love exposing students to new ideas, new people, new places and new activities that will change their idea of the world and how they can serve others in this challenging world in which we live,” Wood said.
Azua, Dominican RepublicA team of 12 students from the Alpha Epsilon Delta National Health Preprofessional Honor Society spent their spring break serving alongside Orphan’s Heart International, a global partner with a mission “to provide Christ-centered services to meet the physical, spiritual, emotional, and medical needs of children and families throughout the developing world.” Under the leadership of Dr. Vanessa Castleberry, lecturing faculty, general chemistry, and Jeffery Castleberry, part-time lecturer, mechanical engineering, students worked in teams to provide health education to the community and gained valuable exposure to the various levels of healthcare in the developing nation, shadowing physicians in a local clinic, a rural hospital and a city hospital.
La Romana, Dominican RepublicFor the fifth year, the Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) sent a team to partner with Good Samaritan Mission Council. Thirteen students served in pop-up medical clinics and shadowed local doctors, gaining experience in Christian-based compassionate healthcare. Dr. Erika Abel, senior lecturer and undergraduate program director, biology, and Dr. Mojgan Parizi-Robinson, lecturer, biology, led the trip.
Athens, GreeceA multidisciplinary team ventured to one of the oldest cities in the world, working together to address the many complex challenges of the refugee crisis in Europe. Journalism students worked on a project that aims to change how the Western world views refugees. Truett Seminary students worked with the local church to increase its footprint in the city and better position it to respond to the evolving needs of refugees. Students from the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work conducted asset mapping alongside the local church, and students from the Hankamer School of Business established a business incubator to help refugees turn their ideas into businesses. The trip was led by Dr. Jason MacGregor, associate professor of accounting and business law.
Quetzaltenango, GuatemalaThrough a strong partnership with Global Community Health Evangelism (Global CHE), 20 students from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) served in rural villages, where many are unable to receive necessary medical care. The team, led by Dr. Karenna Malavanti, lecturer, psychology and neuroscience, and Jeanne Carey, lab manager at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON), set up temporary clinics to provide free healthcare to locals.
Panajachel, GuatemalaA team of 11 from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, led by FCS professors Dr. Janelle Walterand Dr. Suzy Weems, spent the week sharing their love of healthy foods and offering nutrition education to assist with food preparation at Mission Guatemala, an organization that seeks to meet the basic needs and improve the quality of life of under-served and impoverished Guatemalan people through health, education, nutrition initiatives and missionary service.
Guatemala City, GuatemalaTwenty-seven students, faculty and staff from the Honors Residential College partnered with Potter’s House, an organization that aims to develop long-term relationships with poor individuals, families and communities by establishing community centers that focus on holistic development. Programs include family development, education, health and nutrition, micro-enterprise and community development. The students spent the semester enrolled in a course about faith and poverty in preparation for the trip. Dr. Todd Buras, associate professor and undergraduate program director of philosophy, and Alex Crist, director of Memorial and Alexander Hall, led the team.
Cap-Haïtien, HaitiFor the second year in a row, a team of 12 STEM students, including students focusing on humanitarian engineering and members of Engineers with a Mission, worked with Haitian nonprofit IDADEE to build a solar electricity system for a new rural hospital and to continue installing solar electricity in schools and orphanages, a project that began the previous year. The trip was led by Dr. Brian Thomas, senior lecturer and faculty master of Teal Residential College, electrical and computer engineering, and Dr. Doug Smith, associate professor and graduate program director, mechanical engineering. “I want my students to see and experience a career-influencing example of how to use their burgeoning engineering skills as a service to people and God,” Thomas said. “I want their understanding of vocation and service to crystalize as a result of the technical experience and the interpersonal interactions with Haitian locals, to feel what it is like to meet and befriend Christian brothers and sisters from a different culture, and to glimpse the depth and breadth of global poverty and formulate a personal and professional response to it.”
Pignon, HaitiA team of 16, led by Dr. Marty Harvill, senior lecturer in biology, and Dr. Jane Harvill, professor of statistical science, spent the week partnering with Promise for Haiti on a medical mission trip, working with hospital staff on a previously established inventory system, shadowing Haitian physicians during surgery and medical clinic rounds, visiting families enrolled in Promise for Haiti’s Health Partners program and assisting with child sponsorship information gathering.
Tecate, MexicoDr. Jill Klentzman, lecturer, mechanical engineering, and Jared Bickenbach, assistant director of emergency management and global preparedness, led a team of engineering students to Tecate, Mexico, where they partnered with Lazarian World Homes to build an eco-friendly house for residents of the community.
Civil Rights TourStudents enrolled in PPS 4v98: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spent spring break visiting sites associated with King’s civil rights leadership in the 1950s and 1960s, including Montgomery, Alabama, Selma, Alabama, Memphis, Tennessee, and Little Rock, Arkansas. Ramona Curtis, director for community engagement and initiatives, and Dr. James SoRelle, professor of history, led the trip.
Hunger in Texas (Harvey Relief and Hunger Advocacy)Grace Norman and Jared Gould of the Texas Hunger Initiative road-tripped with eight students to the gulf coast to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts and to seek to understand the impact Harvey had on communities. Students met with schools, nonprofits and state-level stakeholders instrumental in coordinating the response effort.
Make Bear Creek Beautiful ProjectA team of 38 traveled to Houston’s Bear Creek neighborhood, devastated by Hurricane Harvey, to partner with community members and relief teams in the area who were already working to identify needs and share hope. Holly Tate, assistant director for missions, and Bob Oei, assistant director for worship, technology and communications for spiritual life, led the students as they worked on 12 houses and partnered with Bear Creek Homeowners Association to landscape the neighborhood and increase resident morale.
McAllen, TexasFifteen nursing students, led by Dr. Kathryn Osteen, clinical associate professor, LHSON, Ashanta Lewis, temporary full-time lecturer, LHSON, and Dr. Sahr Mbriwa, chaplain and coordinator of student ministries, LHSON, worked with Texas Baptist R iver Ministry to serve in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Respite Center, a safe place for countless refugees to rest, eat a warm meal, shower and receive medicine and other supplies.