Four students preparing for missions endeavors

PLAINVIEW -- While their fellow Wayland Baptist University students are enjoying the Christmas break at home with family in preparation for another semester of study, four students will be preparing to leave for missions endeavors.             

Curtis Broome and Britany Lewis, who graduated from Wayland in the Dec. 10 commencement ceremony, and junior Tamara Haney are headed for semester-long mission trips, while senior Emily Robinson leaves for a 10-day mission trip to New Orleans.              

Robinson, an Alpine native who transferred to Wayland in the fall from Sul Ross State University, will leave Dec. 27 for the hurricane-ravaged region, where she’ll be part of a 15-person team working with cleanup, demolition or minor construction projects. A project of Go Now Missions of the Texas Baptist Student Ministries office, the trip brings students from many Texas universities together in a short-term service project to the New Orleans area. Robinson felt the opportunity was a good one.             

“My major is religion with an emphasis in missions and I plan on being a missionary after college,” she said. “Missions is something I have a passion for. I know that while I’m in college there are a lot of opportunities to serve and I want to take advantage of those now.             

The trip is nothing foreign for Robinson, who has served in summer missions roles in Canada and China and has traveled to Mexico several times. She also participated in a long weekend mission trip to Graford, Texas, with some Wayland classmates over Fall Break, helping to demolish a family’s home destroyed by fire. The New Orleans trip, she believes, will be a totally different experience, and one she’s been preparing for through much prayer and scripture reading.             

“I’m hoping that I can have the strength and the stamina and the attitude to keep the work up, keep a smile on our faces and work together as a team,” she said. “I just want to be an example of love to the people we come in contact with.”             

For Haney, a junior from Shallowater, pursuing a semester missions endeavor was a leap of faith and a whole new world. Though she had been on shorter trips in high school, long-term trips were never considered. She leaves Dec. 31 for a semester in Lake Tahoe, Calif., where she’ll be primarily doing children’s ministry through the First Baptist Church of Tahoe City.             

“Semester missions was not something I wanted to do,” she admitted. “When I saw the brochure listing the position, God really laid it on my heart to go and I signed up after much debating with Him.”             

An elementary education major who hopes to one day minister to children through teaching, Haney said she felt the opportunity was too good to pass up. The work involves helping with a before- and after-school daycare program and an all-day preschool run by the church. Weekends will involve Sunday afternoon church services and evangelism on the ski slopes at Lake Tahoe.             

Though she was sure the position was perfect for her, Haney admits the details were up in the air until about two weeks ago. Initially assigned to Lake Tahoe, the semester missionary currently there decided to stay on another semester, leaving no vacancy there for Haney. At the last minute, however, she opted to leave and Haney was able to plug back into the position.             

Preparing for the trip has involved reading a devotional book and spending much time in prayer.             

“I’ve been asking God to get me ready in any way he needs to, whether it’s changing things in my life or seeing people in new ways,” she said. “I just hope to touch people’s lives for Christ. So many of those kids may not come from a church, and I just want let them know that I love them but that God’s love for them is so much greater.”             

Lewis, an active participant in BSM during her time at Wayland, opted to pursue semester missions following graduation before jumping into a full-time teaching career, believing the trip would be a good transition into the work world.             

“I felt that I wasn’t ready to go straight into teaching, and I wanted a little more time before I jumped into teaching high school,” explained Lewis, who majored in speech at Wayland. “Missions has always been an interest of mine and has always been on my heart.”             

Departing Jan. 6, Lewis will spend her semester in Pullman, Wash., as a BSM intern at Washington State University, a role she thinks will be both challenging and fun.             

“The (BSM) program there is relatively small and they are still building contacts on campus,” she said. “I’m hoping to help build relationships and be myself and let God use me to reach the people at the college and the community as well.”

Broome drew the most exotic location of the group, with a semester missions stint overseas, beginning in January. A recent graduate with roots in Estes Park, Colo., Broome is excited to be able to blend several of his interests on the mission trip.

A music education major at Wayland who hopes to pursue graduate degrees and one day teach percussion at the college level, Broome will be working on a video project and studying music.             

“I’ve always been into music and traveling, and I’m into God, so if you put it all together, here I am,” said Broome, who has nearly worked his way through school teaching private lessons to junior high and high school percussionists.

The trip came together through a friend and fellow Wayland graduate. Broome has been on missions experiences before and spent a summer in Indonesia studying the gamelan music there. But his mind is open to the adventures ahead.

“For me, this is the most important thing in my life, studying while being able to learn and get to know people,” he said. “Our job is to do this film, but I think the biggest thing will be just waiting on what God will do there.”