UMHB’s 18th annual Missions Emphasis Week provides opportunities for missionaries and students to connect over global awareness, relationships, opportunities and service through a week of events, seminars and special appearances.
Seek the City, this year’s theme, is based on Jeremiah 29:7, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you…” The multifaceted theme, illustrated by cross-cultural events and seminars, focuses on working in the best interest of one’s community.
MEW co-director Jamie Habermehl, senior education major, oversees the prayer subcommittee. “[Seek the City] applies to a lot of things. It could be here in Belton because that’s where we are, or when God calls you to another city or another country; pretty much wherever you are to spread the Gospel and seek the good of the city.”
Habermehl is currently focusing on benefiting the UMHB community, but anticipates to wherever the Lord may send her next. “I seek to do the best I can to serve [UMHB] and do whatever I can for the people here.”
Shawn Shannon, director of the Baptist Student Ministries, looks forward to the relationships fostered during MEW. “When I look up and I see a missionary talking to a student or I see missionaries from different agencies obviously brainstorming and the sparks are flying, I thank the Lord that our steering committee built a nest under the Lord’s leadership for that kind of stuff to land in.”
Missionaries visiting UMHB seek their areas of influence in the same way, like Keith McDougal, founder of Agape Impact Ministries. Him and his wife Naan seek to care for orphans in the Philippines, which has an orphan population of 1.8 million. “We’ve been in ministries where people say they won’t care for orphans, so we stepped out in faith and trust in Him.”
As McDougal’s second year at MEW, his goals are not to recruit students, but to educate them about the issue and about Agape Impact.
“Somebody has to take care of these kids, and there’s young men and woman here that have a heart to care for orphans. If God brings one of those to us, that’ll be a beautiful thing,” he said.
Habermehl looks forward to reconnecting with missionaries that she’s met at previous missions emphasis weeks, like Mike Kahil.
“[Kahil] does bible translating for regions and people that don’t have a bible in their language,” Habermehl said. “I’ve gotten to meet him over the past two years and we’ve gotten close.”
When asked about the importance of MEW, Habermehl spoke highly of the week.
“It shows students that missions is something they can do. I never thought of it before as something I would do, so I think its cool that students can hear the stories and also get opportunities to go themselves,” she said.
Shannon, encouraged by the growth during MEW, said, “It’s mostly about their relationship with the Lord and they end up being a closer apprentice of Jesus. Sometimes, it has to do with their relationship to His Kingdom and the things that He’s doing in the world, so I love that stuff. That has lasting fruit.”
Her first MEW three years ago connected her with GoNow missions.
“I actually went on a mission trip because of MEW…I went to Houston for about a month.”
Since then, Habermehl has been intimately involved with the planning of missions emphasis week each year.
MEW has been a UMHB tradition since 1999, beginning with the arrival of Dr. Loutherback on campus. Three of four big events throughout the week are brand new concepts, bringing in a large crowd of UMHB students.
“The only event thats the same as last year is the coffee house,” Habermehl mentioned.
The steering committee for MEW planned The Seek, a campus-wide scavenger hunt, a prayer walk and guys’ and girls’ nights Tuesday, and a prayer panel on Wednesday. There is also the worship event One, and an after party following Wednesday, and a coffeehouse Thursday.
“I’m most excited for the Seek and for the Tuesday night prayer event,” Habermehl said.
The coffee house, happening tonight on King street, provides opportunities for students to mingle with missionaries as they sip on free coffee.