Students preparing for return to Kenya

PLAINVIEW - Night classes are nothing new to college students. But few classes on the campus of Wayland Baptist University involve singing praise choruses in Swahili or studying African culture.

But for one group of Wayland students, the class is preparation for a mission project they'll be participating in May 2-21 to Kenya. The trip will involve 10 students, Wayland BSM director Donnie Brown, and his sister-in-law Holly Starcher of Amarillo, doing mission work in Maralal.

The trip is a continuation of a five-year partnership with the Kenya Baptist Theological College and Herb and Becky Cady, missionaries serving there. An academic partnership naturally lent itself to mission endeavors, with Wayland sending the first group of student missionaries in the summer of 2002.

This year, the group will be focusing on the Maralal area, which the previous mission group only visited briefly. That group spent four days witnessing hut to hut and saw 30 people come to know the Lord. Brown said six churches have started in the area since their 2002 visit.

On this trip, the team will be working with two high schools in the area, doing discipleship programs and playing soccer and basketball with the students. Students will also be sharing the gospel among the Samburu people using storytelling techniques they've learned. A few minor construction and renovation projects are also in the works for the missionaries.

The Wayland missions group will be working closely with missionaries Herb and Becky Cady, giving Becky more time for her literacy efforts with local mothers while the WBU group entertains the children. Dr. Vaughn Ross, professor of biological sciences and a former missionary to Kenya himself, will accompany the group again.

Brown is excited about getting to work among the Samburu on the coming trip, since the work they began two years ago will be continuing.

"The missionaries there say they're seeing incredible things happening," Brown said. "There's openness to the Gospel and people are giving their lives to God. We're anticipating seeing God do amazing things in the lives of our students and through our students."

Brown said this trip was deliberately planned to focus more on one area and one people group in Kenya.

"Two years ago, we really wanted to give students a variety of missions experiences, so we went to two orphanages and let them love on kids, we did a chapel at a local high school and played sports with them and did evangelism in Maralal," he explained. "This year, we're trying to concentrate more on this one area while still giving students a variety of experiences. We plan to come back again to the same area and continue to get a sense of what God is doing there."

The trip is organized through the Baptist Student Ministries arm of the Baptist General Convention of Texas as a Special Impact Team. The group will fly to Nairobi and spend a day at Brackenhurst Conference Center in preparation for the mission before making the eight-hour bus ride to Maralal.

Besides enrolling in and attending a special missions course to prepare them for the trip, students have also been responsible for raising both funds and prayer support for their journey. The trip is costing each person around $3,000.

One student from the 2002 trip, senior Kaci Risser of Matador, is returning to Kenya this year. She said the short time spent among the Samburu on her first trip was enough to interest her in returning to the African nation, and she jumped at the chance to go back.

"I really enjoyed being with the people there and learning about their lives and their culture," Risser said. "I wanted to go back and spend more time with them."

Brown feels the trip is a great way to expose students to foreign missions and said it fits perfectly into the BSM's mission statement.

"This really allows students to help others meet Christ. Students will grow in their relationship with God as well, and they'll see the world in a whole new way," Brown said. "It'll radically change their perspective."

For information on making a donation toward the Kenya mission trip, contact Brown at 291-3595.