Missions Emphasis Week is one of the busiest weeks on campus, bringing people from all over the world together. The event is also one of the most popular traditions since it began in 1999 with Dr. George Loutherback.
It has grown exponentially in recent years, bringing missionaries from around the world to come speak to classes, chapel and scattered gatherings throughout the week.
“We do missions emphasis week because we believe you can touch the world from here,” Director of Baptist Student Ministries Dr. Shawn Shannon said. “It helps raise awareness of global issues and opportunities and creates ways to make connections with those with specific people and agencies.”
A steering committee of 43 students have been planning this year’s MEW for nearly a year. A lot of organization goes into preparing for the week-long event.
The students split up into groups that work on different things that involve interviewing, hospitality, public relations, prayer, seminars and special events.
“We want to engage the whole campus. We are engaging students, but also, we have missionaries in up to 90 classes now, and they’re there to communicate with anyone in the classroom. We had a luncheon for faculty and staff. There were more than 120 people there,” Shannon said.
Of course, with all the thought that goes into getting missionaries to come speak, there is a lot of planning into what else is going on during the week.
There were different places on campus where students could go listen to the missionaries, but there were also more hands-on occasions. This included having coffee with international missionaries, a special speaker at Wednesday night Focus and a recently added activity, the global runway.
It was first done two years ago, and was held again because it was such a hit with students.
Music and fun filled Brindley as people walked up and down the stairs and across the stage to show off a different cultures traditional clothing.
Student involvement is a big part of what makes MEW happen every year.
Senior nursing major Allison Toy has chosen her last year to be a part of the week. She served on the faculty relations sub-committee.
“We have a list of missionaries and their bios and what they’ve done and we connect them with faculty members. A faculty might request a missionary who has a business background or a specific missionary, and we pair them up,” Toy said.
She also said that being involved in the committee instead of just participating in MEW has been a great experience because she gets to know the missionaries on a more personal level when interacting with them at breakfast and lunch throughout the week.
Senior nursing major Kia Torres was on the hospitality and logistics sub-committee. She compared her job to being at Disney World and helping out with the characters.
She said, “The general public gets to see the missionaries as Disney characters … they’re doing their thing …. We get to see them being goofy and talk about normal, not missionary, things. That’s the thing I love the most.”