Many ETBU Students Use Break As Opportunity To Serve Othersby Joe Holloway - News Messenger
MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER (3/7/13) - East Texas Baptist University will go on its spring break next week but, just because classes are out, doesn’t mean the students won’t be working hard.
Senior Mia Moore is just one of many ETBU students set to use her week-long respite from classes as an opportunity to serve others by going on a mission trip.
A member of the service sorority Delta Pi Theta, Moore said she and her sisters are headed to serve Mission Arlington.
"We went our freshman year to serve Mission Arlington,” she said. "And we’ve done several service events around campus and in the Marshall community over the past couple years, but this is the first big mission trip we’ve gone on since freshman year.”
Moore said she was looking forward to being able to minister to people who are in need of the services Mission Arlington serves and to people who, for one reason or another, are required to perform community service there for a certain period of time.
"Personally, I served there for half of past summer and part of Christmas break,” she said. "And just being able to help them gives me joy.
"It’s a lot of fun.”
Junior Nicole Grahm said she was going with Friendship Baptist Church to help out at the Christian Activities Center in East St. Louis, Ill.
"In the mornings we’ll be doing construction projects,” she said. "I think turning rooms into offices. In the afternoons we’ll be playing with kids, tutoring, ministering and just playing basketball.”
She added that she always finds something new she enjoys doing every time she goes on a mission trip.
"It’s something different every time,” she said. "But it makes you grateful every time.”
Grahm’s not the only one who’s gone on multiple mission trips in the past though. Freshman Zach Whitlow said he’s been to Guatemala, Belize, Bolivia and two parts of Africa, but that he’s looking forward to his first domestic mission trip when he joins the ETBU Great Commission Center’s trip to Appalachia in East Tennessee this spring break.
"I know there won’t be a language barrier,” he said. "So that will be good.”
Whitlow said he chose to go on the trip to Appalachia because it promised to be a more working and hands on ministry.
"We’ll be working with ‘Of One Accord Ministries,’” he said. "We’re going to be helping with a food pantry, visiting some shut-ins in town. Basically, we’ll be doing anything they need done.”
He added that he looks forward to every mission trip he goes on but asked for a lot of prayer with this one because he’ll be cooking one night.
"I want to do something nice,” he said. "I don’t want it to just be Hamburger Helper, but we’ll definitely need a lot of prayer for that night.”
Sophomore Whitney Justice, who plays for the ETBU soccer team in addition to being secretary of Baptist Student Ministries, said she’s going on the BSM’s "Beach Reach” trip to South Padre Island.
"Basically we’re going to go down and minister to college kids,” she said. "They go down there to party and pretty much stay intoxicated the whole time so we give them rides and hopefully cut down on the number of drunk driving accidents. And, while we’re in the car, we try to get to know them a little better and maybe steer the conversation Jesus way.
"Really it’s just a lot of loving on people.”
Justice said she went on the trip last year and really enjoyed it, but that she feels even more equipped to go this year.
"I feel like I’ve been taught a lot this last year,” she said. "I’m just looking forward to sharing what I’ve been taught with other people.”
She added that it was also simply nice to go to the beach.
"It’s already a pretty great trip,” she said. "That just makes it 10 times better.”
Great Commission Center Director Melody Maxwell, who is also going to Appalachia, said she’s excited to have so many students serving in so many locations over the break.
"It’s something that’s at the heart of what we do at ETBU,” she said. "Going to these places in Christ’s name.”
Personally, she said she was looking forward to the trip to East Tennessee herself.
"I’m very excited about it,” she said. "I’m excited about the opportunities we’ll have to serve alongside the ministry there and to learn from them and the folks we meet.
"But all of these trips are going to be great and all of the students will have great experiences serving others and we just ask for prayer that God will work in and through them as they go.”
(Used by permission www.marshallnewsmessenger.com)