Baylor Missions Spotlight: Holly Tate

Baylor Missions is a big family and as you become part of the family we want you to know who everyone is! We’ll start by introducing you to Holly Tate, who is awesome and the Baylor Missions Guru. Dig in and hear all about her heart for people and the world!

What do you do for Baylor Missions?

Assistant Director for Global Missions—Student Engagement . I’m responsible for recruitment for global missions–everything from building websites and applications to organizing interest meetings and meeting with students to help them discover opportunities to serve. I oversee Baylor Missions & Baylor Spiritual Life’s public relations, social media, and storytelling initiatives (I’ve got a great team of designers, bloggers, and instagrammers that help share the story of missions online and in print!). I am also working to create more online trainings and learning content that will help students and faculty leaders to prepare holistically and culturally for their missions experiences.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I’ve hiked the Pacaya Volcano TWICE on Baylor Missions trips in Guatemala. At the top we roasted marshmallows and I smuggled little lava rocks in my backpack to bring home to my friends as souvenirs☺

What brought you to working in missions?

I moved to Waco from Alabama to go to Baylor for grad school in Higher Education Student Affairs (HESA). I worked as a graduate apprentice in the office of Spiritual Life for two years. During that time, I was part graphic designer/social media coordinator, part event coordinator for everything from retreats to cross-cultural dinners. It was at that time that I got to go on my first mission trip to Ghana and see how my skills in PR and graphic design could be used in an international context to help one of our global partners create a brand for his new NGO. This was definitely a BIG defining moment in my life and made me more excited than ever to use my skills and talents to serve in unique ways. A year later, I was asked by Baylor Missions to help lead a mission trip to London the day after I graduated from Baylor. I had such an amazing time learning from our faculty, students and our global partners—it was a great way to what I thought was the end of my Baylor experience. A couple months later, I got a call from Baylor Missions offering me the opportunity to come back for a temporary appointment as the Coordinator for Missions for the fall semester—7 years later…I’m still here ☺

What is your favorite thing about working with Baylor Missions?

Anyone who knows me would probably think it’s traveling! In the 9 years I’ve been serving with Baylor Missions I’ve had the honor of traveling with faculty, staff and students to 14+ countries! While working for Baylor Missions has really helped increase the number of stamps in my passport and help me perfect the art of packing light, it’s my travel companions and global friends that make my job the coolest ☺ I get to be a part of creating intentional opportunities for Baylor students and faculty use their gifts, talents, and creativity to address global challenges in collaboration with community partners who know and love their neighbors so well. Getting to see and share the stories of what is happening around the world brings me great joy and reignites my hope in the world.

Any advice for students who are interested in Baylor Missions?

  1. Check out last week’s Baylor Missions blog about “Important Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Mission trip” . Going on a mission trip is a BIG decision: big money, big time, big energy, and big challenge! Don’t take your decision making lightly—find an experience that will enhance the skills & talents you have been given to work alongside partners who you can learn from and grow with.
  2. On a more practical note: Get a passport today! Even if you don’t think you’ll be going on a trip for another year or two, it’s exhilarating to know that at a drop of a hat you could go just about anywhere in the world with just a little booklet of blank pages. It’s good for 10 years, so it’s really only like investing $11 a year for the opportunity to be a global citizen ☺

What is special about the way Baylor does missions? 

I love the guiding principles of what makes Baylor Missions so intentional & impactful. I mean it would be cool for an organization to do just one of these five, but Baylor does them all! I know that students who participate in Baylor Missions are going to have the opportunity to serve in a way that benefits both the community and their own personal/professional development.

Discipline-Specific Missions: We focus primarily on a discipline-specific approach to missions as it helps our students understand how they can use their specific strengths & passions in service of Christ & the world.

Global Partners: We work in relationship with global partners, those individuals or organizations in country that help lead the way to meet the needs of their community.

Long-Term Commitment: We will commit 3-5 years of sending Baylor teams to a specific location and to address a particular issue specific to that community (i.e. an engineering team that builds solar energy projects in Haiti or an education team that focuses on literacy skills in a primary school in Ghana).

Reciprocity: It is our goal to create a life experience where mutual transformation occurs. It is our intent to learn from other cultures & share with them our knowledge, resources & care.

Reflection/Integration: We believe it is our responsibility to insure that all students have an outlet for reflection on their experience. It is our hope that through this reflection process, we are helping our students integrate this experience into their daily lives.

What is some of your favorite media that has influenced the way you do missions?  

I think some of the best missions learning material I’ve encountered was probably satirical—maybe it’s just my sense of humor OR the need to see topics turned upside down to see the value and/or absurdity of something that I may have never thought deeply about before. This has been especially helpful in thinking about how we interact with people on mission trips and how we as westerners may view poverty in unhealthy ways. I appreciate that satire gives people a space to ask questions of social norms and allow you to start conversations with friends about bigger topics by dissecting what you that was impactful about the medium. Here are some of my favorites…

“6-Day Visit To Rural African Village Completely Changes Woman’s Facebook Profile Picture”

“Honest Mission Trip Leader”

“Let’s Save Africa Gone Wrong”

“White People in Latin America”

“ New ‘Doctors Without Licenses’ Program Provides Incompetent Medical Care To Refugees”

“First world problems read by third world people” 

At the same time, we can’t stop at just watching funny videos and articles—it should be a catalyst for us to look into the real issues at hand and how we can prevent the actions and perceptions from being reality. Resources like those found at (from the authors of “When Helping Hurts”) and Ted Talks like Mia Birdsongs “The story we tell about poverty isn’t true” have helped me to have a better understanding of poverty alleviation and how to be a good neighbor in Waco and around the World.

Get to know Holly by visiting her at the Bobo!


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