Many Wayland students participating in summer missions

Release Date: June 5, 2009    

By Adam Henthorn, PR intern

PLAINVIEW – Each year, Wayland Baptist University supports some type of missions work or has a number of students who spend the summer participating in missions. This year is no different with more than fifty students going out to eight different countries worldwide. From England to Japan, from Mozambique to Canada, Wayland students will be sharing the love of Christ to people in foreign lands.

The England mission trip, scheduled for July, will be led by Donnie Brown, director of Baptist Student Ministries at Wayland. While England may not seem like one’s typical summer mission destination, Brown said Europe is often overlooked by many wishing to spread the gospel abroad. He assures that the need is the same as it is worldwide.

“England is a pretty unchristian nation as well. Only two to 10 percent are self-described ‘Christians.’ Matt Johnston (WBU senior) served as a missionary there before. Talking to him about his experience made me see there was a great need there,” Brown said.

The Wayland team will serve in two locations, Middlesborough and the seaside resort of Saltburn, located 12 miles away, for two weeks. They will be working with a pair of churches providing Bible school and soccer camps, as well as servant evangelism in the two communities. Some of the students will be working at a youth center for at-risk children. Brown said they plan to let their actions do the talking, relying on their deeds to witness just as much as their words.

“We want to share the love of Christ in a practical way and a relevant way to show Christianity is not just a dead religion,” Brown said.

“I think we’ll have a significant impact,” said senior Tim Barnes of Tulia, one of the eight students to take part in the trip. “We are going to plant seeds in people we run into. I think the Lord will work through us to reach others.”

In addition to having goals for the mission, Brown said he has goals for the missionaries.

 “For our students, myself included, I want their faith to be strengthened. I want them to come back to Wayland with the intention to share their faith with their friends. Above all I want everything we do to honor God,” Brown said.

While Brown and his team are serving in the eastern part of England, another Wayland student will be working more than 1,300 miles away in a very different culture. Melanie Vasquez, a senior from Hobbs, N.M., will be spending almost five months in central Europe around the Balkans, primarily in Macedonia. While there, she and several others will be participating in children’s camps in the capital, Skopje, as well as three outlying villages. There are also plans to help with hygiene and art classes; however, those plans have not been finalized.

“The biggest thing is to be flexible when you go,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez has been interested in missions for many years but didn’t see it as something in which to seek a degree until her mother convinced her to attend school.

“The reason I came to Wayland was because of the missions degree. I didn’t want to come to school,” she said. “Ever since I was a freshman, I just wanted to get up and go.”

In addition to her upcoming role in Skopje, Vasquez will also be working with students at a college elsewhere in Europe, undisclosed for safety reasons.

“I will be on campus building relationships and helping them with their English.”

Aside from Vasquez, two other Wayland students – Amber Hamilton and Devin DeLoe – will also be involved in Macedonian missions for the duration of the summer. They will also be joined by Kylie Middleton, a Wayland junior from Lubbock who will be serving in Macedonia with her church group.

Wayland students will also take part in mission projects in Australia, Canada, Kenya, Mozambique and Japan.