On a Mission

Austin Murdock

Austin Murdock

Austin Murdock knew coming into Wayland that he wanted to be a law enforcement officer. He also knew he had a passionate interest in missions work and wanted to explore those opportunities.

Thanks to donors like you, the Wayland experience was able to meet both of Austin’s desires by offering not only a major in justice administration but also a strong missions emphasis.

“I came up here for Big Weekend and fell in love with Wayland,” says Austin, who is a sophomore now. “At the time, I was preparing to go to Uganda for a mission trip. Dr. Rick Shaw had heard about it and talked to my dad. When I met him, he shook my hand and looked me in the eye and said, ‘I want to take you on adventures. I will take you all over the world.’

“That was a really big selling point for me. I loved the small feeling of the university but overall, missions is very big for me, and I was excited to hear about all the mission opportunities Wayland offers. That was probably one of the biggest reasons I came here.”

Seeing the world

The Wayland Mission Center is funded primarily through donors, including many churches, as well as a generous grant from the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Foundation in Midland. Several trips are offered each year to students, and Austin has taken advantage already.

“We traveled to Myanmar, India, last year for a business mission trip. We worked with a small company called Opportunities Now, which focuses on growing entrepreneurships in Myanmar, where it is very poor. This company seeks to help the people grow their own businesses, whether it be purified water, collecting trash or a restaurant. We came to partner with them, and it was the first time Wayland had ever been to Myanmar,” he says. “I’ve also been to South Padre Island for Beach Reach with Baptist Student Ministries. That was an exciting time as well.”

Sharing the spirit

Just in his second year, Austin has gotten involved as a small-group Bible study leader, works in admissions and is part of Wagonmasters, a student spirit group.
“We go to sporting events, and we cheer on our athletes, dress up like Pioneers with overalls and beards, come up with cheers and try to get the crowd all excited,” he explains.

Austin appreciates the helpful professors he’s had here at Wayland as well as the strong family atmosphere that he experienced early on with a health scare that made him miss some classes.

“I like to think of these people as my friends, and friends are the family that you get to choose,” Austin says. “It’s that kind of intimacy and dependability on each other, where we all seek to improve ourselves and everyone around us, that makes me think of this place as a family.”