Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wayland Students Prepare for Mission to the Balkans

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Leading Wayland Students on Mission to the Balkans

Wayland group prepares for mission in Macedonia
Release Date: April 18, 2008

PLAINVIEW – In preparation for a two-week mission trip to Macedonia and the region, a group of Wayland Baptist University students is collecting clothing and other items to be distributed in a village on their trip.
The group, headed by Dr. Rick Shaw, director of the WBU Missions Center and assistant professor of religion, will leave May 29 for the area, traveling first to Macedonia, then to Kosovo, then taking in some sights in Greece. Supplies will be delivered to Konjare e Mesme, an Albanian/Bosnian village in Macedonia. The group is collecting gently used children’s clothing and small toys as well as over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as ibuprofen, in sealed packages.
Many of the locations to be visited on the trip are places where Shaw and wife Martha served as missionaries, and the group will be working with many of the pastors and churches he planted while on the field. He is excited to take the next step in the missions journey – taking his own charges to meet those converts.
“It makes me feel kind of like Paul, you know,” he laughed. “My dream is to offer students cross-cultural missions experiences, for our religion majors as well as any students who would like to do that.”
The trip to Macedonia, Shaw said, will do just that as students are exposed first-hand to Muslim people in their own native settings. It’s an experience he said most Wayland students have never had.
“They have very little experience with Muslims, and even a little fear and anxiety about them,” he said. “They’ll come back changed people, for sure.”
That exposure is what interested Melanie Vasquez, a WBU sophomore from Hobbs, N.M., in the trip. A religion major with an interest in missions, Vasquez has participated in missions experiences inside and outside the U.S. But this trip will be different.
“What interested me is the Muslim people,” she said. “I see the need for people to reach out to the Muslim people. A lot of Christians are afraid of them and don’t want to approach them, but God loves all people and we need to reach them too.”
While overseas, the group of seven will be participating in several different activities. Junior Kevin Burrow will be preaching and leading a sports camp in the same Macedonian village; Vasquez, sophomore Khrystyne Eckerd and junior Amber Hamilton will be helping teach English as a Second Language in Macedonia and Kosovo and giving their testimonies at an all-Balkan women’s conference. Other young men, senior Micah Evans and sophomore Taylor Phillips, will be preaching and helping lead in several areas. The group will also be speaking, singing and doing drama in churches around the region, all in Macedonian.
“We’ve been meeting for two weeks for language lessons and Bible study in preparation for the trip, and they are doing very well,” Shaw said. “Some of them have had other languages and are picking it up very quickly.”
The training sessions will continue until the group leaves on May 29. They are set to return June 14. The group plans to take two large suitcases, with one for their personal items and another full of clothing and supplies for the Macedonians.
Shaw said besides hard work in Macedonia and Kosovo, he has planned some tourist attractions for the students, including visits to Thessalonica and Philippi in Greece, touring many of the sites covered in Paul’s missionary journeys in the Bible. The group will worship near the pool where Lydia was baptized, an experience Shaw said is almost surreal.
“These places really make the Bible real to people,” he said.
Shaw will also be leading a group of students, along with two groups from area churches, to Kenya in July. Groups from First Baptist Church Matador and FBC Plainview will join the trip at different intervals, with the charge of building an 8-foot stone security fence around one of the churches in a ghetto neighborhood. The church has constantly been vandalized. The group from Matador, which consists of several contractors, will begin the project and the group of Plainview will hopefully complete the fence. The groups and students will also be working with another church that houses and orphanage for children whose parents have died from aids.
Anyone wishing to donate items for the trip may contact Shaw at 291-1162 or give items to one of the participating students. Anything received that won’t fit on the trip will be donated to local benevolence organizations.

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New Mission Action Group "Apostolos" Formed at Wayland Baptist University

Apostolos student group focusing on local mission
Release Date: April 18, 2008
PLAINVIEW – Born from a request of the student body, the Department of Religion and the Mission Center at Wayland Baptist University has formed a new student group whose sole mission is mission. Apostolos, meaning “one who is sent out,” consists of students whose interest is to transform Wayland into a body of believers who truly work to meet the needs of the community.
The group will hold its first formal meeting at 6 p.m. on April 28 in the University Center Room 211 on the Wayland campus. This forum will include leaders within the community and they will discuss research that the group has compiled over the last few weeks.
Apostolos was formed under the auspices of one of the four main rolls of the Mission Center. According to Dr. Shaw one of the Mission Center directives is to focus on the needs of the community.
“There have been many attempts and ministries by special groups such as BSM, which does fabulous work, and different departments do a lot of great things, but our focus is the get Wayland as a whole body to minister to this community and this area,” Shaw said.
To that end, Apostolos has hit the ground running. The group chose 24 students to serve as leaders. Each of the 24 student leaders was asked to interview a community leader, including leaders within the Plainview Independent School District, law enforcement official, leaders with the literacy council, crisis pregnancy center, the serenity house, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, religious leaders from various denominations and more. Through the course of these interviews, the group was looking for the major area of need within the community. After reading through all the interviews and research, the group has determined that at-risk youth are the most pressing need facing our community. At the forum on April 28, the group will discuss ideas on how to minister to this target group.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Macedonian Mission, May 29 - June 14

I am in Silver City, New Mexico, at First Baptist Church, meeting with two of our Balkan Mission Volunteers, Duane Gray and David Enigren. We are preparing to do projects in Konjare e Mesme, Macedonia. We will be teaching English classes, doing village public health, building a library, and conducting a sports camp.

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