Students preparing for summer mission work

Students at Wayland Baptist University are gearing up for summer mission trips that will carry them around the country and across the ocean.

In particular, 13 students are preparing for a three-week adventure in Kenya as a Special Impact Team through the Texas Baptist Student Ministries. Wayland BSM Director Donnie Brown will be accompanying the group along with Professor of Science Dr. Vaughn Ross and his wife Johnene, who formerly served as missionaries to Kenya.

The group leaves July 12 for the mission visit which will include work at Nyeri Baptist High School and several children's homes in Kenya, evangelistic efforts with South Asians living in Africa and work with missionaries to the Samburu tribe.

"We'll be working at the high school for four days, building a basketball court and doing basic maintenance projects like painting. We'll also be visiting three children's homes and doing day camps there," Brown said.

Though some of the trip involves service projects, Brown said evangelistic work will be woven throughout the visit to Kenya. The students will also get to do some fun side trips, visiting a Maasi tribe market and two game preserves while in Kenya.

"We will be teaming up with South Asian students to do cultural interaction activities, True Love Waits campaigns and cross-cultural discussions. We'll also be prayer-walking, witnessing and doing drama presentations," he explained. "Those three days are for building relationships so we'll have an opening to share Christ."

In preparation for the trip and the evangelistic efforts, Ross taught a class during the spring semester that covered all the basics of African culture and customs from clothing to gender roles as well as the geography of the land. Students also learned some Swahili and are able to sing several songs - including the traditional hymn "How Great Thou Art" - and give a short testimony in the African language. Practical packing tips and evangelistic strategies and current efforts were also explored during the classes. One Saturday, the Rosses even hosted the trip participants to a traditional Kenyan meal in their home, with students taking an active role in food preparation.

Brown said the team of students going is well-suited to the tasks they will be doing and he is encouraged by their commitment and willingness to serve.

"We've placed the students who are good at Bible stories to lead that at the day camps, and those gifted in recreation with be leading that. A few students are comfortable with preaching and will be doing that at some of the worship services we'll be leading," he said. "Of course, they can all swing a hammer and put paint on a wall."

In order to participate, the group had to raise their own trip funds. The group also collected new toys to take to the children's homes, and is working to raise an additional $500 to cover materials for the maintenance work at the Baptist high school. Anyone wishing to donate may contact Brown at 291-3595.

Those participating in the Kenya team include Geoffrey Brocato, Mike Smith, Kaci Risser, Dawn Blanton, Donna Gleason, Lindsay King, Francis Blair, Jodi Henderson, Crystal Morton, Krysta Williams, Adam Gibbs, Zack Greer and Penny Greer.

Besides the Kenya-bound group, many other Wayland students are heading off to parts unknown for summer missions. Five are traveling through Texas BSM and others are working through other missions groups or directly with churches or organizations.

Emily Stewart, a recent graduate, will be working in San Antonio helping lead day camps, Bible clubs and events in multi-housing communities through the Baptist association. Chris Currah, a junior, will be a counselor at Calvary's Camp Fraser, a residential camp for low-income children located near Washington, D.C. Sophomore LeAudra McKay will be serving with a traveling revival team to Oregon, Washington and northern Idaho. Junior Melissa O'Brien will be part of a youth evangelism team in Haldensleben, Germany. Hillary Matteson, another recent graduate, will be spending her summer and fall in Venezuela on medical missions.

Others serving include: Shanquia Adams, Steppers for Christ in Waxahachie; Adam Beck, intern, Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp in Stillwater, Okla.; Marianne Broome, youth and children's intern in Lyons, Colo.; J.R. Cano, youth pastor in Petersburg; Mikayla Beam, intern, Christian counseling center in Hunt; Shanna Buck and Kevin Schaub, British Columbia, Canada; Josh Caballero, youth intern in Floydada and Arlington; Jennifer Combs, Spain; Zack and Penny Greer, Newala, Tanzania, East Africa; Aaron Hailey, youth intern at Sky Ranch; Kayla Dobbins, Amanda Day, Matt Rusher, Marci Street and Colleen Trevithick, camp staff at Highland Lakes; Josh Gibson, youth director, First Christian Church in Plainview; Amy Grisham, Mexico; Justin Hancock, youth/music intern, Harvest Church in Watauga; Beth Henson, children's intern, Prestonwood Baptist Church; and Keila Kennedy, children's intern in Earth.

Also serving are Emily Lowrie, intern with the BGCT in Dallas; Becky Matthews, youth intern in Tulia; Ty Harrelson, Athletes in Action in Costa Rica and Mexico; Kaci Holcomb, camp staff at Sivells Bible Camp; Tabitha Martinez, Yucatan Peninsula; Crystal Morton, youth intern in Friona; Kelly Neie, Joe Whitten Prison Ministry; Nicole Phillips, camp staff at Glorieta, NM; Dustin Rauch, youth intern in Hereford; Amanda Schnieder, camp staff at Falls Creek in Oklahoma; Rebekah Pillion, counselor at Hope Camp; Amanda Ragland, East Asia; Emily Reid, Spain; Chris Reitzer, camp staff, Circle 6 Ranch in Stanton; Donella Richardson, camp staff, Plains Baptist Assembly in Floydada; Paul Rucker, youth intern in Highlands; Melissa Shackelford, staff at Yellowstone National Park; Doug Shelton, youth intern, Taylor Ranch church in Albuquerque, NM; John Topper and Russ Wilson, counselors at Camp Buckner; Monica Sloan, camp staff, Kanakuk Kamp in Branson, Mo.; Katie Tillery, Mexico; and Martha Ann Trull, evangelism in Taiwan.