Also written by Marisol Escobar
As students hurry from class to class wearing the typical attire — purple and gold T-shirts with jeans — a man stands out in the crowd. He looks like a nontraditional student and isn’t dressed like an American, though he speaks English with ease.
He’s one of the many missionaries visiting the university during Missions Emphasis Week.
Junior Amanda Gigante, who serves on the MEW faculty relations committee said, “When I was a freshman, I was like, ‘I don’t understand this.’ Halfway
through the week, I finally realized what was going on.”
Student leaders encourage their fellow Crusaders to take advantage of the opportunity, as the world comes literally to their doorsteps. The event lasts
Oct. 26 though Oct. 30.
Junior Ashlee Driskell, a co-director of the steering committee, said, “It’s very rare that a campus has 40 missionaries from … Afghanistan, Africa, Egypt — all these random places come and hang out with us as college students. They give up a week of their lives to (visit) with us and get us excited about serving other people.”
Seminars and special events will occur on campus to raise awareness regarding missionary work around the world.
“This is the largest group of missionary guests and the broadest representation of agencies that we have ever had,” Director of Baptist Student Ministry Shawn Shannon said. “We long to increase awareness of the great need for the love of Christ and his Gospel and provide opportunities for people to meet those needs, both locally and globally.”
Guest speaker Mike Cahill served in Ghana and teaches linguistics. He is hoping to educate students about the mission work field.
“I’m most looking forward to having personal conversations with UMHB students interested in missions, and specifically those who might be interested in Bible translation and all the related activities,” he said.
Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and India are some of the countries missionary Stephen Burke has served in. He gave some advice to students who are considering foreign ministry.
“The most important thing about mission work is being in the center of God’s will. The missionary needs to ask ‘Is this where God is sending you?’ …. Because in the center of His will is where we find protection, provision and His presence. Where He is working is where we should also be.” he said.
Karen Hall, president and medical program director of Central Texas Orphan Mission Alliance, will also make an appearance at MEW. She works with adoption programs in Russia, Kazakhstan and Uganda. Hall has raised 19 children, and eight of them have gone into mission work.
She said, “I remember well the day that I know I gave my life to the Lord completely, everything without reservation. It was the day I told an adoption agency that I would take as many children as they would give me.”
The student leaders of the week-long event anticipate their preparation being well worth the work.
Senior Christian studies and biblical languages major Steven Hill serves as co-director with Driskell.
Hill said his favorite part of MEW is when his fellow committee members address the visiting missionaries.
He said, “This is a generation stepping up to replace you … It’s great to see the look in (the missionaries’) eyes when they hear us say we’re willing to replace (them) as workers in the field.”
Steering committee co-director and senior biblical studies major Audrey Chumchal got a small taste of MEW her freshman year at a tea in Burt lobby. She says the opportunities to build relationships during this week are once in a lifetime.
“It’s like bringing the world to Belton .… It’s a great chance to bond with people who are living out the Great Commission.”