PLAINVIEW - A $15,000 gift from the First Baptist Church in Plainview will provide half the budget necessary for Wayland Baptist University to deliver its associate's degree program to Kenya Baptist Theological College in the coming year.
According to Dr. Travis Hart, pastor at FBC and a Wayland trustee, the gift came from the interest on a major gift left by the estate of Dr. Dorothy McCoy, a longtime Wayland professor and FBC member who had a heart for missions, at her death in 2001.
Hart said church members Don and Christa Smith, who teaches at Wayland as well, shared with the church's missions committee about the Kenya project after returning from a stint there to teach and minister. FBC member Dr. David Howle, who served as commencement speaker for the university's first graduation in Kenya in July 2003 and is Wayland's Virtual Campus coordinator, also shared of his experience with the project. Others in the church, such as religion division chair Dr. Fred Meeks, have been involved on other levels with the program.
With that information, Hart said the missions committee wanted to provide funding to continue the project. McCoy's gift seemed a perfect fit.
"During the later years of Dr. McCoy's life, she had shared with me that she would be leaving into the hands of our church some resources she wanted to be used specifically for missions," Hart said. "Having known her and visited with her in her home, her heart was so clear on that. By using this money, we are trying to be good stewards of the gift she left."
Hart said the church wanted to share in the vision of the Kenya theological school, which aims to educate its own national residents in order to better reach their continent for the Lord. He sees the KBTC vision of missions as in line with the church's own missions principals.
"It's my opinion that (a nation's) indigenous people often do a greater work than visiting missionaries can do," Hart said. "Maybe we ought to become more indigenous in America and allow endeavors such as Kenya to become efforts based there, such as providing this training will ensure."
Hart said the church hopes to be able to involve even more members in the Kenya effort in the future, perhaps by sending groups on mission trips to the African nation.
Wayland officials are grateful for the donation and hope other churches and individuals will share the vision and become partners in the Kenya effort. Support for Wayland's involvement in the project - which includes sending professors for short teaching assignments in Kenya in order to provide needed courses toward the associate's degree - will allow the university to upgrade services and resources at the KBTC in order to more effectively train individuals in ministry.