Living examples of faith and business

Dr. Seuss wrote a book on the wisdom of traveling. He told the truth of life’s ups and downs for millions of 8-year-olds to read, but disregarding age, its accuracy still applies.

He says going anywhere is possible which describes UMHB’s 2008 Missions Emphasis Week theme—“Oh, The Places We Go!”

The event started Oct. 20 and will conclude Oct. 24 at the chapel service.

“It is a great opportunity to meet missionaries from around the world,” campus missionary Erica Valenta said. “We have 35 missionaries coming who altogether have served in 35 different countries.”

The spin-off of the Seuss rhyme stresses missions are anywhere and now. The week sets students up with opportunities to show up and talk.

MEW will host a variety of things showcasing all the different experiences of the missionaries.

“Dialogue with missionaries; they’re incredible people, but real people none the less,” junior co-director Dennis Greeson said. “They are here to meet with you. Go to the different events and seminars, grab a missionary for lunch or dinner, take advantage of the opportunity to simply learn and have your worldview expanded.”

The missionaries brought more than a speech. They offer their lives as an example of what being a missionary looks like.

Dr. Jim King, dean of the College of Business, uses many missionaries with business backgrounds in his class to show students tangible proof that missions and work do interweave.

He said, “Faculty members can talk about the integration of faith and business to accomplish kingdom purposes. And some of us have practical experience in what is normally called Business as Mission.  But when students have real business people like Dwight Nordstrom telling the students how they run real businesses and accomplish kingdom purposes, it carries a lot of weight in the eyes of students.”

As a teacher, King recognizes the importance of exposing students to information that could potentially encourage them to combine their skill and work desires with a kingdom view.

“It is especially important that faculty do everything possible to help students understand how they can utilize the gifts and talents that God has provided them to make a difference in their professional fields,” he said. “This is true for all majors without exception.  I believe that MEW provides the most convenient vehicle through which faculty can bring in experienced individuals in many, many majors to help the faculty give credibility to what they are trying to show students about the integration of their faith into their chosen fields.”

King said of the many things to do, he finds the Missions Fair and seminars to be most helpful.
“I strongly encourage students to seek out as many opportunities as possible to hear speakers from their chosen fields and make every attempt to visit the booths set up by the missionaries. The missionaries are here for the students.  Make the most of this opportunity to find out as much as possible about integrating your faith in your chosen field,” he said.

Veteran steering committee member senior Travis Brown says MEW exists to provide information to students on how to get involved in worldwide missions.

He said, “For an entire week, the world is able to come to them. They have the capability to make connections and get involved then and there with missionaries and missions organizations.”

Brown promotes contributing to missions even if going is not an option.

“The week can equip students to actively participate in missions all over the world, either by praying, giving or going.”

Missionaries will attend about 65 classes and lead 13 seminars, but students can do more than just talk.

They can attend the progressive dinner on Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. in Shelton Theater and actively work with missions Thursday in the quad from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Missionaries can also be seen at both chapel services, Wednesday night Focus and in dorms.

Senior steering committee member Deborah Baker said in the past she did not take advantage of the many opportunities the events have for students to get connected to people living around the world.

“MEW is a blessing that most schools don’t have,” she said. “Being able to devote a week to missions is a beautiful thing, and I feel it is such a great opportunity that if people don’t take part in it they are wasting it.”

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