From dorm Bible studies to chapel services to hands-on ministry programs, you'll find all kinds of faith-stretching experiences at college. But chances are, you'll also discover that your most powerful learning experiences happen in ways and places you never expected. That's exactly what these students discovered as they stepped out in faith and took on new and exciting challenges.
A Life-Changing Mission to Africa
Class of 2006
Kyna Baskin's church in San Antonio sends missionaries to Malawi, Africa, every summer. One year, while Kyna was still in high school, God spoke to her through the missionaries' presentation to her church. "I could feel God tugging on my heart," she remembers, "And I knew that some day I would go to Africa."
A couple of years passed, and those feelings had almost faded from memory. Almost. But they were rekindled when Dr. Bruce Wilkinsona popular speaker, and author of The Prayer of Jabez came to speak during a chapel service at Baylor.
Wilkinson was on campus to encourage students to join their peers from across the U.S. on a month-long missions trip to South Africa.
"I felt God calling me to go," Kyna says. "I talked about it with my parents, and at first they weren't really sure, but they trusted my judgment. They became my biggest supporters."
In South Africa, Kyna, five fellow Baylor students and 200 other team members received a week of training and then broke up into smaller groups. Her group of about 70 people traveled to the eastern coast and offered HIV/AIDS and abstinence education presentations to middle schools throughout the area. They were able to incorporate a gospel message on the last day of each presentation.
Although she was in South Africa to educate young teens, Kyna felt as though she was the one learning the most. "South African culture in general is completely different from typical American culture, and we were in one of the poorest areas in the nation," she says. "To see the way they lived, with no beds, no running water or bathrooms, with 20 people to a house, it really struck me. My group adopted a family down the street and we decided to help them plant a garden. One morning, we were able to worship with them, and it was one of the most amazing experiences."
As they worshiped together, Kyna realized something important about God's love. "I learned to love people for where they are and who they are, regardless of their clothing, lifestyle, or if they know Christ. I have to love them equally, because God does."
Since coming home, Kyna feels as though her relationships have changed a lot. "I've been able to share my new views with my closest friends, and I've been able to witness to non-Christian friends with a new sense of confidence," she says. "My attitude has changed a lot, and I now feel like I really want to go into social work, working with people very different from myself."
After completing her BA in social work, Kyna wants to pursue a master's degree in international social work. Her goal is to return to Africa and apply the skills she's developed at Baylor. "God has given me a heart for Africa," she says. "I want to meet African people where they are and help them get to where they want to be, showing them God's love through action."
Finding a Mission Field Near Home
Class of 2006
The summer before her freshman year in college, Sarah worked with the Southern Baptist Church'sInter-national Mission Board in Germany. Given that experience, she was certain she'd spend her four years at Hannibal-LaGrange pursuing international missions. So she was surprised when she felt God calling her to join the Jerusalem Project, a ministry dedicated to serving people in the Hannibal community.
Sarah was assigned to the Hannibal Art Council's Folklife Festival, helping the organizers serve water, work booths and pick up trash. Sarah assumed her work would be mostly physical labor. But it became a lesson in building relationships.