Each and every person has unique passions, strengths, and gifts. Through discipline-specific missions, Baylor Missions strives to incorporate a more holistic approach to missions that allows students to use (and discover) their unique gifts to serve Christ around the world—whether that is through orphan care, medical work, teaching, accounting, engineering, photojournalism, social work, or whatever it may be. Lori Spies, PhD, RN, NP-C, Assistant Professor, Missions Coordinator for Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing, and trip leader for the LHSON Zambia Nursing team, explained how she’s seen her nursing students discern specific areas of nursing they want to pursue through the discipline-specific aspect of Baylor Missions:
“Discipline-specific missions has had a powerful impact on the Baylor University LHSON students and the faculty that lead them. It is a complex and multifaceted process to learn to provide nursing care to diverse people who are often in extraordinarily vulnerable situations. Becoming a nurse involves the acquisition of complex skills, the syntheses of knowledge about differential diagnosis, diseases, and treatments and application that considers family dynamics often in low resource environments. Discipline-specific missions allows the multifaceted process of becoming a nurse or advance practice nurse to be transparently steeped in the love of Christ. As faculty, we see students becoming nurses and visibly making the connections between what they are taught and how that connects to their Christian faith. Students learn when they work cross culturally that you grieve with your patients and that prayer and God’s love are always relevant and not language-dependent. Students learn to render first aid and how it feels to viscerally react with the mother whose child is acutely and urgently ill.
To see the student not only embrace and intertwine their faith with their profession but to identify what their practice as a nurse will look like is inspiring. Discipline-specific missions has allowed me to see students [discover] what type of nurse they wanted to be and what type of nursing they wanted to do. Students have shared that being on the discipline mission has helped them realize they wanted to become a full-time missionary, a woman’s health nurse or realize they had a gift speaking to teenagers about difficult topics. It is wonderful to watch the students identify how Christ is present with them in all they do and to see them learn how they are called to be the Salt and Light in world.”
This is exactly what we hope to see happen on Baylor Missions trips! Students are exposed to areas of their field of study they may not have otherwise been exposed to, and it helps them discover new strengths and weaknesses, as well as new passions and goals for their vocations. Since these trips are Christ-centered, they help to close the gap between vocation and faith, and teach students that one does not have to come without the other. Through discipline-specific missions, students learn how their vocations can be, as Spies said, “transparently steeped in the love of Christ.” Through a discipline-specific missions model, students come ready to be useful with prior skills, yet ready to develop those skills even further while being transformed by their service and those they serve.
However, we also acknowledge that not everyone is called to orphan care, serving in medical clinics, or teaching English as a foreign language, areas of ministry that mission trips often target. While we recognize and support the incredible ministries that serve in these functions, and send teams to serve alongside these ministries, we also recognize that if your gifts and passions don’t line up with the areas that typical mission trips serve, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have anything to give. But you do! Baylor Missions wants to help you find your passion—no matter how obscure it may seem—and develop it in the field. For an idea of the diversity of trips Baylor Missions has sent out in the past, check out our website.
What makes you passionate? What kind of a trip would you love to see sent out by Baylor Missions?