Baylor Missions Fair plans to promote networking, service for students

Baylor Urban Missions gives students the opportunity to volunteer with various organizations around Waco. These opportunities included the Talitha Koum Team in 2016, where students worked alongside social work interns at the therapeutic nursery for at-risk children in the Waco community. Lariat File Art

By Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer

When the phrase “missionary work” comes to mind, some people may associate it with serving clean water to third world countries that are overseas. Baylor Urban Missions wants this narrative to go away and aims to change it with their two-day Missions Fair.

The fair kicks off Tuesday with a Dr Pepper Hour followed by a meet-and-eat offering pizza to the first 100 students, all of which is located in Barfield Drawing Room. On Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to noon outside of Waco Hall there will be tables filled with representatives from each organization while the chapel topic will surround mission work; if it rains the fair will be moved over to the Bobo Spiritual Life Center.

Ministry associate for Missions Education and Urban Missions Julia Wallace is looking forward to hosting these organizations on campus and hopes students connect with them for future opportunities.

“Our goal is to allow for a networking opportunity for students and organizations, so that the organizations can tell about their ministries and share opportunities for students to serve within their ministries,” Wallace said.

Assistant professor of church and community ministries Dr. Stephanie Boddie will be Wednesday’s chapel speaker and she wants her message for students to show the importance of giving themselves to loving others.

“I think the message I really want to get across to students is when you are giving yourself to loving God and loving your neighbor these opportunities are always around you to serve and to be a part of the transformation that reflects the kingdom of God,” Boddie said. “The kingdom of God is forming in us – our heart, mind, soul and body – something beautify.”

Some of the organizations that will be featured at the fair will be Go Now Missions that works with Texas Baptist, Passport Camps that works with children, NEXT worldwide that works with discipleship as well as several other organizations.

Rather than just pursuing a place to volunteer, Wallace hopes students can also network with the organizations.

“Even if they don’t end up working for them, just the exposure for students to find out more about what’s going on in the world and the ways they can get involved either working for them or supporting them financially or just praying for the organizations,” Wallace said.

Boddie is a Baltimore native who saw the impact of mission work from watching her grandfather growing up each weekend where she would join him in visiting nursing homes or selling candy after church to be connected with the community.

That simple seed planted something in her and sparked a passion that took her away from pursuing science despite her multiple degrees and toward social work and foster care. Boddie encourages students to use their gifts and be open to wherever God can take you.

“I would encourage students to really move beyond ordinary expectations of what life can be to discover their journey of possibilities with God,” Boddie said. “God is already doing something in their life that will not stop with their talents, their gifts and their family. Pay attention to whatever inspires you for it is in Spirit.”

Some students are hesitant about missions work, while others are too eager and that handicaps their work, but Wallace wants to let students know that they’ll be properly trained.

“I think a lot of times people have passion for missions but sometimes their passions led them to do things with well intentions but not doing them well,” Wallace said. “We’re equipping students with not only serve, but serve well.”

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