ETBU Students Serve and Learn During Summer Break
By Mike Midkiff, ETBU Public Relations
MARSHALL, Texas (7/23/14) – The summer of 2014 has been a time of opportunity for many East Texas Baptist University students. The break of attending classes on campus has allowed students to either take a study abroad class or go to a distant destination to serve others. During the months of May through July, ETBU students could be found in Alaska, China, Ecuador, Israel, Italy as well as Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.
One of the largest contingents went to Israel during May spending 12 days. The 37 on the trip comprised of students, faculty, and members of the Marshall community. The ETBU students were enrolled in the study abroad course History, Religion, and Politics of Israel which was taught by ETBU Professor of Political Science Dr. Israel Nandamudi and former president Dr. Dub Oliver.
ETBU senior Cody Walker of Marshall shared with a reporter from the Marshall News Messenger upon returning home, “The trip was phenomenal. It really put things into reality with the Bible. When I read about Jesus and Peter, I was imagining Jesus walking on the nice sand, now I know he was walking on the rocks trying not to break his ankles.”
While the group was in Israel seeing the various Biblical sites in the Holy Land, Spanish and Nursing students spent May 13-29 in Quito and Tena, Ecuador with 21 on the travel manifest.
“The class I taught was Global Community Health,” said Assistant Professor of Nursing Connie Wyszynski. “The focus was on a comparative view of the health care system of the United States of America and Ecuador.”
The nursing students, with assistance from the Spanish students, also conducted health fairs in the amazon basin and mountain villages. The Spanish students led by Assistant Professor of Spanish Jose Alonzo received hands on experience as they practiced their language skills with native speakers in their native habitats.
Seven students accompanied Dr. George Day, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, to several cities in Italy, including Rome, Palermo, and Catania from May 12-23.
“The trip was part of a course about organized crime,” explained Dr. Day. “Italy and particularly Sicily was chosen because of the organized crime groups active in the country including the Sicilian Mafia, the Camorra, and ‘Ndrangheta.”
Nursing major Ashley Lindsey of Beford saw the trip to Italy as an opportunity of a life time. “My minor is criminal justice for a focus in forensic sciences but I chose to go to Italy because one, it is Italy,” exclaimed Lindsey. “Getting to study the criminal background of the mafia was so interesting to me.”
“I hope that my students got an appreciation for how entrenched the Mafia is in these countries and hopefully also learned the beauty of Italy,” shared Dr. Day.
ETBU strives to make international study experiences available to all students. Since the 1990s, students and faculty have been visiting China. This summer Dr. Jerry Summers, Dean of the School of Humanities, recently retired Professor of Psychology Dr. Jane Ogden, and Baptist Student Ministry Director Mark Yates accompanied the ETBU students to China with most of their time spent at Lanzhou University of Technology. LUT and ETBU have an exchange partnership that allows faculty and students from both schools to gain class or degree credits and experience each other’s campuses.
“Eleven students took the trip; 10 took courses for credit, either History of Modern China, or Politics of Modern China, or Humanities in China.” Dr. Summers said. “While we were campus we lived in a dormitory, dined in the commons or cafeteria, and got many opportunities every day to spend time with students, faculty, and staff.”
“The students who represented the BSM went as a cultural exchange group to Lanzhou University of Technology,” Yates said. “Our main avenue of ministry was to learn about Chinese culture and to share what is important to us about our culture. We had multiple opportunities to share our faith and to encourage believers.”
Sophomore Caleb Dorsey of Palestine found interesting at LUT the diversity of students. “During our down time we interacted with students on campus,” said Dorsey. “They almost had a student from every part of the world. It was interesting to hear all their stories and to get a painted image of their homeland in my head.”
“No matter who I encountered, Chinese, Uzbekistani, or Afghani students, they all welcomed me into their lives. When I graduate from ETBU and move to wherever I am called, I want to become part of a community and show the same hospitality that my new friends across the world have shown me,” added Dorsey.
One group of students received a break from the East Texas summer heat by traveling to Alaska June 12-23. A total of four students spent time being camp leaders at a camp called “T3, Training Teens Today” which is sponsored by the Alaska Baptist Convention. This is the eighth year that ETBU students went to Alaska to train students.
“T3 is a program of the Alaska Baptist Convention which trains youth to be evangelists, disciplers and leaders in their local churches in order to fill the youth leadership gap that exists in many Alaska churches,” said ETBU Great Commission Director Dr. Lisa Seeley, who accompanied the students to LaVerne Griffin Youth Recreation Camp outside of Wasilla, along with ETBU Director of Leadership Development Dr. Emily Prevost.
ETBU student leaders provided training to teens in evangelism, discipleship training, music and worship, technology, video and recreation.
“The goal of the program is to train the youth to step into leadership roles as they gain experience and opportunity,” said Dr. Seeley. “T3 students go on to become leaders in their churches, high schools, colleges, and adult ministries. Many of them are called into full time ministry.”
Also during the summer break the ETBU Rec Team was on the road. The Rec Team comprised of two units with 12 ETBU students on each team providing the recreational programs for youth summer camps being held at various encampments and universities in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. They also make available to campers information on how ETBU can fulfill their educational and vocational goals by attending ETBU to obtain a degree.
These opportunities for students to learn and minister away from campus are just part of the ETBU experience of “Embracing Faith, Engaging Minds, and Empowering Leaders.” East Texas Baptist University offers graduate programs in business, counseling, religion and education, as well as 40 undergraduate degree programs.
ETBU provides a Christ centered education that emphasizes the integration of faith and learnin