Freshmen receive Bibles given by alumni, friends, faculty and staff

PLAINVIEW — For the first time in his life, Sabbatian Balderas has a Bible.

“This is cool,” the freshman from Mission, Texas, said after Donnie Brown, Director of Spiritual Life, handed him the customized blue, leather-bound Bible with a personal note inside. “I’ve never really had one, so basically this is my first.”

“It’s really nice, and I like the texture of it,” he said after running his hand over the front cover. “I’m looking forward to reading it.”

Bibles were recently presented to 225 freshmen at Wayland’s Plainview campus with another 275 to be distributed to freshmen at the university’s external campuses. Each Bible is a gift from a former student, faculty or staff member, administrator, or friend of Wayland. This is the second year Wayland has raised funds to ensure each freshmen student starts their journey through higher education with a copy of the Scriptures.

“I think it’s really nice that they do this for us,” said McKinnley Edwards, a freshman from Amarillo. “I didn’t expect this.”

“It’s a wonderful thing that people are doing nice things like this for college students,” said Gracie Story, a freshman from Holdenville, Okla.

For some students, like Balderas, this is the first copy of God’s Word they have owned. For others, the New International Version Bible is an easy-to-read study tool like the digital textbooks that students use in their classes.

“I have a Bible, but it is a hard version to read and this one is easier. That’s why I am happy that I have a new Bible,” said Ethan Salazar, a freshman from El Paso.

Dr. James Wayland, a Plainview-area physician, saw the need for higher education rooted in Christian faith, so he donated money and land in 1908 to found what would become Wayland Baptist University. More than 115 years later, the tradition continues with the distribution of the Bibles, each representing someone who gave money to purchase a Bible and affirm the university’s commitment to delivering a distinctively Christian education.