Baylor Arts & Sciences

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Baylor Arts & Sciences

These are not your mother’s student films — at least not quite: A review of “Black Glasses”

May 8, 2014 · 1 Comment · Academics, Special events, Students

Art and Science Collide at the Baylor Film and Digital Media
15th Annual Black Glasses Film Festival

A review by Lisa Stepp and Kathy Tinius of Sandbox Productions, Inc.


Black Glasses 10011625_10152075628406027_6541945605218038840_o

There was a time when films made by new filmmakers included scantily clad girls, someone speaking French, and an ending no one understood except the director.

While the students in the Film and Digital Media division at Baylor University have certainly taken their craft to a new level, they still showed love and respect for the styles of the past on April 25, 2014, at Baylor’s 15th annual Black Glasses Film Festival — which was directed by Dr. Jim Kendrick, associate professor of communication.

Shotgun CrewMaverick Moore, absolutely true to his name, provided a blast from the past and a nod to Tarantino with his Best Picture and Audience Choice Award-winning film, “Shotgun.” Three girls, dressed like they are on their way to a Beatles concert, follow a path of revenge while speaking French, badly. A simple and universal theme, but Maverick and his team managed to execute flawlessly as he “broke all the rules” and made a film that was engaging and an absolute joy to watch. (In the photo above, winning director Maverick Moore poses with the crew of the film.)

But the fun didn’t stop there. Alec Weaver managed to remind us that going to the bathroom while wearing roller skates can be challenging in “A Wheel Predicament,” as Faith Korpi and Zachary Korpi showed us the joy of dance through their mesmerizing cinematography in “Patchwork Girlfriend.”

There was a unique mix in the festival of narratives, documentaries and music videos, providing a broad showcase of talent. Casey Floyd’s film “Molly,” a documentary about a young girl’s struggle against terminal disease while exhibiting a tenacious spirit, had the audience laughing, crying and embracing the memory of someone they had never met, yet felt they knew well.

Brianna Carbonara and Alec Weaver explored the possibilities that new technology can afford in “Companion Apps” and demonstrated Baylor’s commitment to providing comprehensive preparation for students moving in to the film industry.

This year, the students also participated in the 10 Below Short Film Contest. Alec Weaver won first place with his film “The Good Samaritan, But Mostly a Fish.” Second place was awarded to Philip Heinrich with his unique and insightful exploration of grace and forgiveness in “Samaritan.”

Overall, the students of the Baylor Film and Digital Media division (which is directed by Dr. Chris Hansen, associate professor of communication) brought their talent and love of filmmaking to new heights this year, and it looks as though there is no limit to their potential for success in the future.


Complete list of 2014 Black Glasses winners

Best Picture: “Shotgun” (directed by Maverick Moore)

Audience Award: “Shotgun” (directed by Maverick Moore)

Best Cinematography: Brent Bailey, “3:33″

Best Editing: Alec Weaver, “A Wheel Predicament”

Screenplay Awards:

1st Place: Lauren Sheldon, “Fat vs. Evil”

2nd Place: Aaron Carter, “The Great American Grovel”

3rd Place: Chad Hayes, “Crowley”


Comprehensive Black Glasses 2014 screening list

“Rest” (Cameron Bohls)
“Layne Lynch, ‘With or Without You’” (Jackie Fernandez, Brittney Devine, et al.)
“Companion Apps” (Brianna Carbonara and Alec Weaver)
“The Argument” (Aaron Carter)
“Molly” (Casey Floyd)
“Mobile DTV Project” (Casey Floyd, et al.)
“Samaritan” (Philip Heinrich)
“In Paradise” trailer (Philip Heinrich and Aaron Youngblood)
“Patchwork Girlfriend” (Faith Korpi and Zachary Korpi)
“Shotgun” (Maverick Moore)
“3:33″ (Steven Trebus)
“A Wheel Predicament” (Alec Weaver)
“Dead End” (Alec Weaver)
“The Good Samaritan, But Mostly a Fish” (Alec Weaver)
“Zombie Western, ‘If I Stay I’ll Never Leave’” (Aaron Youngblood)


Baylor Arts & Sciences magazine, Spring 2014

May 1, 2014 · No Comments · A&S magazine

The Spring 2014 issue of Baylor Arts & Sciences magazine is now available online!

Features include:

* “Capitol Bears,” a look at 14 Arts & Sciences alumni making a difference in Wasgington, D.C.;

* A profile of Baylor’s three “Model” diplomacy programs for students: the Model United Nations, Model Organization of American States and the Model Arab League;

* A look at Baylor’s popular new Arabic and Middle East Studies major, which prepares students for leadership roles in the Middle East;

* A tour of the treasures of in the Martin Museum of Art; and

* An essay by Dr. Bill Bellinger on how all Baylor students benefit from studying the Old Testament.

A&SCover2014Sp copy


Looking back with Dr. Robert Baird

April 23, 2014 · 1 Comment · Academics, Faculty

By Sara Katherine Johnson

Baird 1 20131122_rr_60973Dr. Robert M. Baird, professor of philosophy and Master Teacher, has been teaching on Baylor University’s philosophy faculty continuously since 1968. He is retiring this spring after a career spanning more than a half century and full of many academic, administrative and service milestones.

Writer Sara Katherine Johnson sat down recently with Dr. Baird to talk about his life at Baylor and his future plans.


One rainy day, on a front porch sat a father and his teenage son. The father, a civil engineer not known for his life lesson talks, gave his son a word of advice: “Whatever you do, just be sure you pursue a career that you enjoy every day getting up and doing.”

That lesson from his father has stayed with Dr. Robert Baird ever since.

“I have loved being in the classroom,” Baird said. “There are few things more exciting to me than standing in front of a group of students, engaged in conversation.”

When asked how to describe themselves, most people begin by listing concrete accomplishments, or possibly adjectives describing personal characteristics. Baird is retiring this spring after 47 years of teaching at Baylor, and he begins talking about himself by discussing his relationships with others.

Before he talked about his students, Baird began our conversation discussing his family. With a wide smile, he bragged on his children and grandchildren. But he said his key relationship is the one he enjoys with his wife of 54 years, Alice. In fact, he said without having met her he might not have ended up where he is now.

Baird began his undergraduate years at a small school in Arkansas, and never imagined he would become a philosophy professor. Instead, after being very involved in high school politics, he planned to study law in college and was considering seminary as well.

After his first year of college, an English professor pulled Baird aside and told him that the questions he was bringing up about literature were rooted in philosophy. Because the small school did not have a philosophy department, the teacher suggested he transfer to Baylor, which he did his sophomore year with philosophy as his new major.

During his senior year at Baylor, he met Alice Cheavens and fell in love. But Alice was not a senior, and Baird did not want to go to seminary and leave her behind. He needed a way to stay at Baylor.

Since he was minoring in history, Baird knew about some good fellowship programs offered in that subject, so he went ahead and applied for graduate study. The dean of Baylor’s graduate school happened to be a member of the philosophy department, and he called Baird in and asked him –– why not study philosophy?

Baylor offered him money to stay and pursue a master’s degree in philosophy, and Baird accepted.

After a year, Baird had his master’s degree and Alice had completed her undergraduate degree. Baylor just so happened to have a faculty vacancy, and they asked Baird to stay on for a year as an instructor of philosophy. He agreed, and soon found out that he truly enjoyed teaching.

“It was the year that turned my life around,” Baird said. “I remember being so anxious for the Christmas holiday to be over so I could get back in the classroom.”

Leaving Baylor after a year for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Baird was able to follow up on his desire to study religion. After earning a bachelor of divinity degree, he pursued plans to teach by earning a PhD in philosophy from Emory University.

After earning his doctorate, Baird spent a few years teaching in Nebraska at Wesleyan University. He never dreamed teaching again at Baylor would be a possibility, but an unexpected phone call about an opening brought him back to campus in the fall of 1968. He’s been happily teaching in Waco ever since.

Baird said that among other things, philosophy professors ask their students to consider the question, “How should we live?”

“The only difference between someone who teaches philosophy and someone who doesn’t is the opportunity to focus on that question in a lifelong way,” Baird said. Some of his favorite classes to teach have concerned the history of modern philosophy, or social and political aspects of philosophy.

Baird is one of a select few Baylor faculty members who have received the designation of Master Teacher.

“I just take teaching so seriously that to be called a Master Teacher is greatly appreciated,” he said. “I really appreciate the designation, though I don’t think of myself as a ‘master teacher.’ I think of myself as a student of good teaching — I try to always improve my teaching.”

In the classroom, Baird said he has tried to emulate one of Baylor’s legendary professors.

“The model professor for me was Ralph Lynn in the history department,” Baird said. “Ralph Lynn was such a marvelous teacher. When I took courses with him I couldn’t wait to get to class. I really was viscerally sad when the class was over — that’s how good he was. There were a lot of teachers at Baylor like that (when I was an undergraduate). I think that’s been one of Baylor’s strong suits.”

One favorite memory that Baird shares is when he received Baylor’s Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award in 2005. What made the experience special, he said, was not only the award itself, but also the accompanying public lecture he got to deliver to an overflow crowd, which addressed the question, “Is the choice to die ever morally permissible?”

“The reason (the lecture) is such a good memory for me is because it was so controversial, but Baylor provided a framework for me to argue. And my argument was yes, it is sometimes morally permissible to choose to die,” Baird said. “Baylor was providing me a framework for advancing an argument in defense of a point of view that most people around here wouldn’t agree with.”

Baird recalled that back in his undergraduate days, Baylor was much smaller than it is now, having only about 5,000 students. Now three times as large, Baylor’s campus has grown as well with new buildings that have cropped up. Baird said the University also emphasizes research more now than it did before, and enjoys a greater racial and religious diversity as well.

“The more diversity you have, the more stimulation there is to think new thoughts and consider new possibilities,” Baird said.

During his time at Baylor, Baird served 18 years as the chair of the philosophy department. He has done extensive research in contemporary moral problems, writing essays on the nature of the self and publishing many book chapters, encyclopedia articles, books and journal articles. Through it all, he maintains that relationships are the most valuable thing in life.

“It’s what gives life its richness, its excitement and its happiness,” Baird said.

Looking back over his time at Baylor, Baird is pleased with his decision to return to his alma mater.

“There’s been a great deal of emotional satisfaction in coming back to a place and trying to stimulate students to think in new and creative ways, in a way that Baylor teachers stimulated me to think when I was an undergraduate,” he said. “There’s been great emotional satisfaction in living out my life here. I don’t even begin to think of myself in the same category as the Ralph Lynns, Bob Reids and Ann Millers, but at least those are the ideals I strive for.”

While he is looking forward to his retirement, Baird plans to keep busy.

“I will never run out of books to read,” he said. “I will also be freer to spend time with my grandchildren in California and in Michigan. That will be a priority in Alice’s and my agenda — and enjoying the relationships I have with my dear friends.”

Photo courtesy of Baylor University Marketing & Communications


Model UN team does well at national meet in NYC

April 22, 2014 · No Comments · Students

By Rebecca J. Flavin, lecturer in political science and Model UN advisor

On April 12-18, 16 Baylor students traveled to New York City to participate in the National Model United Nations Conference, which brings together more than 5,000 university students from around the world to participate in two week-long simulations of the United Nations. The NMUN conference is unique among Model UN conferences in that more than half of the attendees are from universities outside the United States.

Our students represented the nation of Belize at the conference, and they researched and discussed issues such as chemical weapons, agriculture development and food security, green transportation, sustainable production of biofuels and violence against women.

At the conference, our students excelled and represented Baylor well. While the learning experience is always the most important part of these conferences and awards are not the emphasis of the conference or our team, I am delighted to announce that the entire team was recognized as a “Distinguished Delegation.” Only a small percentage of delegations receive any recognition as an Outstanding, Distinguished or Honorable Mention Delegation at this conference, so this is a noteworthy achievement.

In addition to the team recognition, two of the position papers submitted to the conference were named an “Outstanding Position Paper” –- those for General Assembly Second Committee and General Assembly Third Committee. The position paper is a short policy memo, no more the two pages long, that is researched and prepared in advance of the conference. These papers are completed as part of the course requirements for Political Science 3375 and the club requirements for Model United Nations.

Authors of the award-winning General Assembly Second Committee paper were S.K. Alagbada, Matt DeMond, Michael Saporito, Seti Tesefay and Ren Young.

Authors of the award-winning General Assembly Third Committee paper were Lola Akere, Taylor Marie Hanson, Caitlin Prud’homme, Kristin Roland and Marc Webb.

On behalf of our students, I want to thank everyone for their continued support of Baylor Model UN. These conferences offer our students a unique opportunity to take the knowledge and skills they acquire in the classroom and apply them to simulated experiences similar to those they will encounter in their postgraduate careers.



Top row (L to R): Ben Betner (senior, political science); Paul Schlaudraff (senior, Baylor Business Fellows/accounting); Tyler Kopas (Senior, Baylor Model United Nations head delegate, professional sales); Laura Beth Hooper (junior, Baylor Model United Nations assistant head delegate, international studies); Emily Brizzolara-Dove (junior, international studies); Rebekah Stryker (senior, political science); Tiffany Clark (MA in international relations); Sikiru Alagbada (senior, economics); Marc Webb (freshman, international studies); and Caleb Gunnels (junior, political science).

Bottom row (L to R): Ruth Anne Holiday (junior, international studies); Taylor Marie Hanson (senior, political science); Jessica Abbey (junior, journalism, public relations and new media); Mary Margaret Hambuchen (junior, journalism, public relations and new media); Renie Saenz (sophomore, history); and Ren Young (senior, political science).


Baylor journalism faculty interview first responders to create first-person account of the West tragedy

April 16, 2014 · No Comments · Faculty


A year after an immense explosion in West, Texas, left death and destruction in its wake, faculty members from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media in the Baylor College of Arts & Sciences are releasing a book they researched and wrote, describing both the tragedy and heroism of that day.

The Last Alarm: First Responders’ Stories of the West Explosion includes the first-person accounts of more than 40 first responders who served in the aftermath of a fertilizer plant explosion on April 17, 2013, that killed 15 people and injured more than 160 others.

Amber Adamson, a part-time lecturer in journalism, public relations and new media, is the book’s author, while senior journalism lecturer Sharon Bracken served as the book’s editor and publisher. Baylor graduate Stephanie MacVeigh (BA ’99) did the graphic design for the book, which features photos taken by photographers from the Baylor Lariat student newspaper.

A portion of the profits from The Last Alarm will go to a fund that assists first responder families who were hurt or killed in the line of duty.

We talked with author Amber Adamson to find out more about just what it took to create the finished book.


Where did the idea for this book come from? And what motivated you and your colleagues to tell this story?

Both my husband Alex, a member of the Waco Fire Department, and my brother Eric, from the Red Oak Fire Department, are career firefighters — so the idea of doing a book about this profession came naturally.

After the explosion I prayed that I might be able to help in some way, and I felt a strong calling that I should capture some of the stories of the first responders who were in West. The book tells the perspective of the fire and EMS personnel who responded in the minutes, hours and days after the explosion, doing fire suppression, triage, search and rescue and honoring the fallen.

Was it difficult to find first responders who would talk about what they experienced?

It was not difficult at all. In fact, I have pages of more contacts I never got the chance to interview. I ended up interviewing almost 50 first responders from two dozen departments — in McLennan County and at least a half dozen other counties beyond.

I started with firefighters I knew, and I always asked for the names and numbers of others who might be willing to talk to me. As the stories took shape I began to understand what perspectives I needed to have, and I reached out to those people. Almost no one told me no.

The amazing thing to me is that none of the first responders I talked to think that the work they do is extraordinary. They do it out of a sense of calling and duty — not for recognition.

Many were emotional as they recounted their stories, but almost all said they were honored to have been there to help. Events like this remind them of the dangers of their calling — but, if anything, it strengthens their resolve to serve.

What a great privilege it is for me to be entrusted with telling the stories of these first responders.

How did you, Sharon and Stephanie divide up the work required to get this book done?

I conducted the interviews and wrote the book. Sharon has been my content and concepts editor and encourager since day one. Stephanie brought an amazing eye for detail in proofreading and creative genius in layout and design of the book.

What do you hope this book will do for readers, and for the city of West?

It is my desire that the book will be a way of honoring the sacrifices of the 12 first responders who died on April 17, 2013.

I hope that people will realize that the men and women who are first responders, either volunteer or career, regularly put themselves in harm’s way for their communities. But they don’t do it for accolades or pats on the back — they don’t want to be referred to as heroes. They do it because it’s a calling, it’s in their blood. They wouldn’t know what to do otherwise.


In doing her interviews for the book, Adamson worked with Baylor’s Institute for Oral History, which loaned her recording equipment. The interviews with first responders are now being transcribed and will be added to The Texas Collection at Baylor.

A video news story about the book’s publication can be viewed here.


Arts & Sciences students win Fulbright, Rotary scholarships for graduate study in England

April 14, 2014 · No Comments · Academics, Alumni, Students

Two Baylor Arts & Sciences students and a recent Baylor graduate have been chosen for prestigious international scholarships to study abroad.


Jonathan Keim

Jonathan Keim (above), a senior chemistry major from Salisbury, Md., was selected to receive a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the University of Nottingham in England. Keim will pursue a Master of Science degree in synthetic organic chemistry during the 2014-2015 academic year.

In addition, Ta-Wei Lin, a 2008 Baylor University Scholar graduate, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the Master of Science program in technology entrepreneurship at University College, London, for the 2014-15 academic year.


Jesus Sotelo

Jesus Sotelo, a senior biology major from Houston, has been named a Rotary Global Grant Scholar. He will pursue a master’s degree in public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, England during the 2014-2015 academic year.


Baylor’s Diadeloso 2014

April 10, 2014 · No Comments · Photo galleries

Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted students, faculty, staff and visitors today at Baylor University’s spring 2014 play day — Diadeloso.


Model UN team shines at Howard Payne conference

March 31, 2014 · 1 Comment · Academics, Students

By Rebecca J. Flavin, lecturer in political science and Model UN advisor

Model UN team Howard Payne 2014 copy 2

This past weekend, 11 Baylor students took part in a Model United Nations Security Council simulation at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas. The team represented Baylor very well and earned top awards.

At the conference, there were two Security Council simulations. The first was a Contemporary Security Council discussing nuclear non-proliferation and sanctions in Iran, with Baylor students representing the nations of Australia, China and South Korea.

The second Security Council simulation was a Historical Security Council discussing events surrounding international intervention in Vietnam in 1964, with Baylor students representing China and Norway.

While the learning experience is always the most important part of these conferences, it is an honor for our students to be recognized for their excellent performance. I am delighted to announce that Baylor students claimed the top awards in every division.

Special recognition goes to Rebekah Stryker and Ryan Gerlach (both seniors in political science), who represented the Republic of Korea and won Best Delegation and Best Policy Memo in the Contemporary Security Council.

Other special recognition goes to Caleb Gunnels (junior, political science) and Eric Vining (freshman, political science), who represented China and earned Best Delegation and Best Policy Memo awards in the Historical Security Council.

Meanwhile, Laura Beth Hooper (Baylor MUN assistant head delegate and a junior in international studies) served as co-chair for the Contemporary Simulation.

The 11 students who attended the conference represented Baylor well, and I’m proud of each of them. It’s especially noteworthy that for nine of the 11 students, this was their first collegiate Model United Nations conference. Two weeks from now, 16 Baylor students will travel to New York City for the National Model United Nations conference, where we will represent Belize.

On behalf of the students, I thank the University for its support of this program, which advances our common goals under the Pro Futuris vision by educating these students for informed engagement through transformational learning experiences.



Bottom row (L to R): Caroline Caywood (freshman, international studies), Abigail Wilson (junior, international studies), Jessica Abbey (junior, journalism), Seti Tesefay (junior, international studies) and Ryan Gerlach (senior, political science)

Top row (L to R): Laura Beth Hooper (Baylor MUN assistant head delegate and junior, international studies), Kate Farley (freshman, University Scholar), Lola Akere (sophomore, political science), Rebekah Stryker (senior, political science), Caleb Gunnels (junior, political science) and Eric Vining (freshman, political science)


Baylor students win prestigious Goldwater Scholarships

March 27, 2014 · No Comments · Academics, Students

Goldwater winners 2014 (lower-res)

Two Baylor University students have been selected to receive prestigious Goldwater Scholarships, while a third has received honorable mention recognition.

Baylor winners of 2014 Goldwater Scholarships include:

*Ian Boys, a senior University Scholar major from Allen who is concentrating in biology (shown at left in the above photo). Boys plans to earn a PhD in molecular biology, and hopes to one day conduct research in virology or immunology and teach at the university level.

*Rebecca Holden, a senior chemistry major from Allen (at center above). Holden plans to earn a PhD in chemistry. She hopes to eventually conduct research into proteins and protein misfolding diseases at a research institution and teach at the graduate level.

Boys and Holden are among 283 undergraduates from 47 states to be named 2014 Goldwater Scholars.

Baylor and five other universities in the Big 12 Conference had students win Goldwater scholarships this year, and Baylor tied with Oklahoma, Iowa State and West Virginia for the most scholarships with two each. No other Texas Big 12 schools had scholarship winners this year.

In addition, a third Baylor Arts & Sciences student, Thomas Gibson, a senior mathematics and Russian double major from Houston (at right above), has received 2014 Goldwater Scholarship honorable mention recognition. Gibson plans to earn a PhD in mathematics. He also has a goal of conducting research in numerical analysis and differential equations, and plans to study mathematical structures in physics.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater. Its purpose is “to provide a continuing sourrce of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields.”

Dr. Jeffrey S. Olafsen, associate professor of physics and Baylor’s Goldwater representative, said the 2014 results are somewhat atypical.

“Having two Goldwater scholars and an honorable mention is better than our recent average, which is typically one winner every other year,” Olafsen said. “Baylor has now produced 14 winners over the past 24 years.”

Olafsen partially attributes this year’s better-than-usual showing to an especially large and strong pool of applicants.

“I’ve been doing a lot more advertising of the opportunity, particularly in the College of Arts & Sciences, but also across the entire campus,” he said. “We’ve seen a rise in the number and quality of the students applying.”


New chair sees an exciting future for Baylor’s Family and Consumer Sciences department

March 26, 2014 · No Comments · Academics, Faculty

By Sara Katherine Johnson

Rinn Cloud

More than anything, Dr. Rinn Cloud wants people to know that she feels called to her new role as the chair of Baylor’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“I feel that the Lord has given me some gifts in this area,” Cloud said. “That can sound kind of like ‘Oh I’m so good at this,’ but truth of the matter is it means I am very accountable to Him.”

This is Dr. Cloud’s fourth year at Baylor. A professor of family and consumer sciences, she holds The Mary Gibbs Jones Endowed Chair in Textile Science.

Cloud began her career as an undergraduate student at Louisiana State University studying apparel design. From there she went on to Purdue University to earn a master’s degree in clothing and textiles, with an emphasis on the social as well as psychological implications of clothing. She then attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to get a PhD degree in textile science.

After completing her education, Cloud joined the faculty at her alma mater, LSU, where she taught for 10 years. She later taught at Virginia Tech and Florida State before coming to Baylor in 2010.

Cloud’s research specialty is in functional clothing — specifically protective clothing. Functional clothing can include military uniforms, sports apparel, surgical gowns and even pajamas designed for women experiencing hot flashes.

Despite her new administrative duties, Cloud will be able to devote 25 percent of her time to research and maintain a teaching schedule. She is familiar with this balancing act, since 11 of the 15 years she spent at Florida State she served as department chair.

“As a leader in the unit, I believe in being very open and transparent and communicative,” Cloud said. “I also am a person that very much embraces change and innovation.”

Cloud said one of her least favorite things to hear is “we’ve always done things that way.” She clarified she doesn’t believe in change just for the sake of change.

“I believe in this society, and in this world, if you’re not changing you’re dying on the vine,” she said. “You’ve got to be out there at the forefront of what’s going on in your field. You have to be aware of the latest and newest technologies.” And Cloud praises her faculty for being at the forefront of embracing new technology and even social media.

Cloud looks forward to contributing to the Pro Futuris strategic goals of Baylor. The aspirations she has for the FCS department include increasing visibility of programs as well as increasing research, graduate programs and lab spaces. She also puts growing the department’s prominence in health initiatives and becoming a major player in global mission work on the list.