News Archives: Baptist Student Ministry

HPU group serves in Slovakia

HPU group in Slovakia 2017 BROWNWOOD – July 20, 2017 – Nine Howard Payne University students traveled to Slovakia at the beginning of the summer for a short-term mission immersion experience. Travelers included students in Dr. Melody Maxwell’s International Missions Practicum course as well as students involved with HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry. The group was accompanied by Dr. Maxwell and Keith Platte, BSM director.

The HPU team led ministry activities among the Roma and Slovak people and learned from Shane and Dianne McNary, field personnel with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

“It was our privilege and joy to be able to interact with such a dynamic and talented group of young scholars,” wrote the McNarys in an e-mail newsletter following the trip.

Dr. Maxwell’s class prepared for the trip the semester prior by studying short-term missions along with the history and culture of the area and the Roma people.

“The Roma are a people group in Europe who are often marginalized and frequently live in poverty,” said Dr. Maxwell. “We were blessed with the opportunity to briefly serve among the Roma alongside the McNarys.”

Among other activities, the group taught English at a public school in Važec and hosted a Bible school for Roma children in partnership with Jekh Drom, a local non-profit. They also connected with Word for the World – Slovakia, a group of people translating the Bible into a local Roma dialect, and the Slovak Bible Society who has partnered with the group in publishing and distributing the Bibles.

“This trip specifically taught me about the importance of having cross-cultural knowledge and how that shapes our presentation of the Gospel,” said Zoe Emley, junior from Natalia. “This trip was one where I felt that I gained an overwhelming amount of great information about Slovak and Roma culture and the culture of short-term missions.”

Before departing from Europe, the team traveled to Poland where they visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Schindler Museum and the Polish Roma Association Museum.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that what we did as tourists directly related to who we had been working with while we were on mission,” said Kara Strange, May 2017 graduate from Fredericksburg. “Our tourism was not without a purpose.”

Tara Carroll, junior from McKinney, said the trip taught her that God speaks to everyone differently.

“God transcends human limitations and can transcend cultural differences as well,” she said. “The Gospel is multifaceted and can to speak to everyone in many ways. God has used the McNarys to do beautiful work in Slovakia and with the Roma people. We were able to come alongside this work with them for a short time. They will continue to do this Gospel work long after we are gone.”

In addition to Emley, Strange and Carroll, those on the trip included Daniel Harris, May 2017 graduate from Boerne; Kindell Hill, junior from Jarrell; Tom Kyle, May 2017 graduate from Salado; Anthony McCarson, May 2017 graduate from San Angelo; Erin McCleer, junior from San Angeolo; and Caitlin Vincent, junior from Brownwood.

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Cutline: A group from HPU completed a short-term mission immersion experience in Slovakia at the beginning of the summer. They are pictured at the High Tatra Mountains as they traveled from Slovakia to Poland. Left to right: Caitlin Vincent, Kara Strange, Kindell Hill, Keith Platte, Erin McCleer, Tom Kyle, Zoe Emley, Anthony McCarson, Tara Carroll, Daniel Harris and Dr. Melody Maxwell.

HPU students reflect on Beach Reach experiences

Beach Reach group 2017BROWNWOOD – April 6, 2017 – Students from Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry joined hundreds of other Christians in serving and ministering to beachgoers on South Padre Island during Spring Break. The annual event, known as Beach Reach, is designed as servant-leadership outreach.

Ten HPU students and three staff members took part in ensuring others stayed safe during the week by giving free van rides across the island and serving pancakes on the beach. They also prayed for the beachgoers and sought opportunities to speak with them about their relationships with Jesus Christ.

“Beach Reach was a great chance for us to go out and help stop a lot of drinking and driving,” said Paden Seidel, sophomore from Proctor. “Along the way we were also able to let many people know that someone cares about their well-being. As a whole, it was a great experience.”

Marissa Godbey, junior from Austin, attended Beach Reach during her freshman year as well.

“I was so excited to have another opportunity to share the Gospel at Beach Reach,” she said. “The atmosphere was a bit different than what I’d remembered and there were twice as many people. Although it was easier for me to talk confidently with people, the island was a lot crazier. The craziness only made me more ready to help keep everyone on the island safe and share the Gospel. I had many great conversations throughout the trip and I know God’s presence was felt on the island.”

The group planned and trained for five weeks in advance of the trip. The students were led by Zachary Sterling, 2016 HPU graduate who now serves as the BSM campus missionary intern.

“One of the goals in training for Beach Reach is to develop the habit of living ‘on mission’ regardless of where we are,” he said. “Christians don’t go on mission, we are on mission – whether at Howard Payne or South Padre or wherever we are. We should always take the time to engage others in conversations and genuinely care about what they have to say.”

In addition to Godbey, Seidel and Sterling, those on the trip included Keith Platte, BSM director; Kelly Eason, residence director for Veda Hodge Hall; Melodee Carrier, junior from Seguin; Zoe Emley, junior from Natalia; Sarah Fernandez, junior from Goliad; Dillon Hughes, senior from Plano; Abi Miller, junior from Belton; Aryn Morris, junior from Pipe Creek; Nate Rhodes, senior from Brownwood; and Emily Selman, junior from Red Oak.

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Cutline: HPU students and staff served and ministered to beachgoers on South Padre Island over Spring Break. They are pictured on campus before the trip.

HPU students raise funds for missions through Mustache Wheel of Doom

kelley-mustache-wheel-of-doom-for-webBROWNWOOD – December 7, 2016 – Several Howard Payne University men recently stepped up to the Baptist Student Ministry’s Mustache Wheel of Doom to learn the fate of their facial hair. The popular annual event raised more than $9,000 for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions.

Teams of students, along with their faculty and staff sponsors, grew their beards throughout the month of November while raising money for the organization which sends students from universities across Texas, including HPU, to mission fields around the world.

The two teams that raised the least amount of money spun the Mustache Wheel of Doom and shaved in whichever style the wheel determined. The choices included stripes, half-beards, “No-Tee Goatees” and more.

“Mustache Wheel of Doom is a fun event with a big impact on missions,” said Keith Platte, director of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry. “HPU students serve through Go Now Missions each year so we are excited to help support the organization.”

student-half-beard-for-webCutlines: Dr. Kevin Kelley, assistant professor of organizational psychology, reacts after spinning the Mustache Wheel of Doom.

Paden Seidel, freshman from Proctor, shows off his half-beard following the Mustache Wheel of Doom fundraiser.

HPU students assist with outreach to Houston’s marginalized

BROWNWOOD – November 1, 2016 – Students from Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry spent the university’s recent Fall Break in Houston learning about three of the city’s marginalized populations and assisting with outreach programs to those groups.

Led by Keith Platte, director of HPU’s BSM, the group connected with the Church at UH (University of Houston) to learn about the needs of refugees, human-trafficking victims and homeless in the city and how churches in the area are assisting those groups.

The first day they learned about refugees in Houston and how individuals and groups through the Baptist General Convention of Texas have assisted those communities to grow in faith and fellowship. Platte and the students then had the opportunity to play with children in an apartment complex where many Bhutanese and Burmese refugees live.

“Our students got to know some of the challenges that refugees face and how people can learn how best to help them,” said Platte.

The next day, the group learned about the city’s homeless population and human-trafficking victims.

“The first half of the day we cleaned donated shoes for a homeless ministry called Lord Of The Streets,” Platte said. “Then we went to the place where they meet and learned from the group’s director. We got to ask many questions about best practices in addressing help and care for homeless people, and we learned much about the homeless situation in Houston.”

Platte and the students then met with members of a group called Elijah Rising, which helps rescue and restore women who have come out of human-trafficking situations.

“We got to hear from their director, Cat, about the current climate in Houston on sex trafficking, reasons it is growing so quickly and why Elijah Rising is in need of advocates,” Platte said. “Our group also got to tour the Museum of Modern-Day Slavery, which in itself was a huge learning tool.”

The group then traveled through neighborhoods of Houston that have been verified as places which are trafficking women.

The group concluded Fall Break by participating in a worship service with Lord of the Streets during which the students served breakfast and shared in communion with the attendees.

Platte said students grew through their experiences as they saw how some of God’s followers are responding to the city’s needs.

“I believe our students came away with a much greater awareness of God’s heart for the people society has marginalized,” he said.

In addition to Platte, those on the trip included Jaclyn Bonner, senior from Lytle; Karli Conrad, junior from Katy; Taylor Davis, freshman from Alvin; Zoe Emley, sophomore from Natalia; Sarah Fernandez, sophomore from Goliad; Lauren Gravell, freshman from Fredericksburg; Dillon Hughes, senior from Plano; Jessica Meeks, sophomore from Bridgeport; and Bailey Patton, freshman from Grand Prairie. Zac Sterling, campus missionary, accompanied the group.

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HPU hosts another successful Jacket Journey new-student orientation

Jacket Journey 2016 Group

 

 

 

 

 

BROWNWOOD – August 25, 2016 – Howard Payne University hosted another successful Jacket Journey new-student orientation last week for incoming HPU freshmen and transfer students. Approximately 320 incoming freshmen and 50 transfer students participated.

During Jacket Journey, new students spent their first week in residence halls, learned about HPU traditions and campus life and met faculty, staff and upperclassmen leaders.

Chime In 2016 lineHPU hosted Chime In on Friday, August 21, during which the new students were officially welcomed to the university. The participants ceremoniously walked through the university’s Wilson Gate before arriving at HPU’s Old Main Tower to sing the alma mater for the first time together as a class. As graduating seniors, the students will in turn participate in Chime Out, symbolically leaving HPU through the Wilson Gate.

A variety of games, workshops and team-building events were also held. A church social was hosted by the university’s Baptist Student Ministry and local churches. Students also participated in Serving With A Right Motive (S.W.A.R.M.), a community-service event.

S.W.A.R.M. 2016Now is the time to apply for HPU’s spring or fall 2017 semester. The Heart of Texas Scholarship, paid over four years, is automatically awarded to students from the Heart of Texas area who meet unconditional admission requirements and enroll full-time in the fall and spring semesters. Qualifying students will have graduated from high schools or homeschools in Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, McCulloch, Mills and San Saba counties. For more information about this scholarship and other opportunities awaiting students at HPU, contact the Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or enroll@hputx.edu. More information may also be found online at www.hputx.edu.

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Approximately 320 freshmen and 50 transfer students participated in HPU’s Jacket Journey orientation this past week.

HPU freshmen and new transfer students walk through the Wilson Gate during Chime In, one of the many traditions for new students at the university.

HPU students participate in community-service events around Brownwood during S.W.A.R.M. this past weekend.

HPU students serve as Go Now missionaries

HPU Go Now Missionaries 2016BROWNWOOD – June 13, 2016 – Nine from Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry are serving as missionaries around the globe this summer and fall through Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions program.

Summer missionaries include Joseph Flanigan, junior cross-cultural studies major from Round Rock; Jessica Harris, senior management major from Brownwood; Kindell Hill, junior cross-cultural studies major from Jarrell; Anna Lauren Jeffers, senior Christian education major from Greenville; Adriana Mata, junior elementary education major from San Angelo; Kara Strange, senior business administration major from Fredericksburg; Katie O’Conner, sophomore liberal arts major from Granbury; and Angelica Ramirez, sophomore general studies major from Austin. Ruby Johnson of Alvarado, who graduated in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Music degree, will serve during the fall 2016 semester.

The students are serving in U.S. locations such as Washington, California, Arizona and Oklahoma, as well as in South Africa, Haiti, Germany and other international locales. Their roles vary from working with refugees to leading sports camps for children.

Keith Platte, director of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry, said HPU students’ participation with the Go Now Missions program has grown during his time at the university.

“We had nine who served during Christmas and nine during the summer and fall,” he said. “What a great blessing to see God stirring these students into action.”

For more information about HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry, visit www.hputx.edu/bsm.

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Cutline: Before traveling to various mission fields around the world, HPU’s student missionaries attended an orientation program at Dallas Baptist University. Pictured in the back row, from left to right, are Anna Lauren Jeffers, Adriana Mata, Joseph Flanigan and Jessica Harris. Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are Kindell Hill, Kara Stange, Ruby Johnson, Angelica Ramirez and Katie O’Conner.

Mustaches for Missions: HPU fundraising tradition garners donations and laughs

BROWNWOOD – December 11, 2015 – Members of Last Beard Standing, the Moostaches and The Fan{tache}tics all stepped up to the Mustache Wheel of Doom at Howard Payne University Monday evening to learn the fate of their facial hair. The Baptist Student Ministry’s annual fundraising event brought in $5,331 for student missions.

Each November, participating male students, faculty and staff members refrain from shaving for the month while selling t-shirts and collecting donations for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions. The teams that raise the least amount of money spin the Mustache Wheel of Doom and shave in whichever style the wheel determines. The choices include stripes, half-beards, “no-tee goatees” and more. The participants keep their entertaining new facial-hair stylings throughout the remainder of Finals Week.

The Mustache Wheel of Doom is held each year in conjunction with HPU’s Pancake Supper. Faculty and staff serve pancakes and other breakfast foods to students as they eagerly await to see the results.

“I am extremely honored to serve with a team of students who make missions fundraising a priority,” said Keith Platte, director of HPU’s BSM. “They helped to raise money for our usual goal of $4,000, but exceeded it by more than $1,300. I could not ask for a greater group of students and supporters to help us send students on missions to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

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Photo cutline: HPU junior Evan Fleming, left, and Keith Platte, BSM director, await the results of Fleming’s Mustache Wheel of Doom spin. Photo by Rachel Ellington, HPU senior.

HPU students serve God and experience Spanish culture on Costa Rica trip

By Chandler Condra, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – July 15, 2015 – Thirteen Howard Payne University students, faculty and staff members visited the country of Costa Rica following the end of the spring 2015 semester. The international experience was led by Carla Hawkins, then assistant professor of Spanish, and Keith Platte, director of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry.

hpu group at irazu volcano for webThe expedition was HPU’s first hybrid trip combining students from Spanish class with mission volunteers of the BSM. However, all students participated in each of the activities during the 11-day trip.

The students and supervisors made their first stop at Hogar De Vida, an orphanage, where they witnessed to others by serving and repainting parts of the facility.

“We spent the first three days serving at this orphanage in Atenas,” said Platte. “The workers there rely on volunteers like us to help maintain or repair the facility. We also helped lead devotionals.”

The group then spent three days in Cahuita along the eastern coast experiencing the Caribbean culture, three days in the central mountainous region of Costa Rica at Paraíso and three days in San Jose, Costa Rica’s largest city.

Activities included guided tours of the mountain ranges, coffee plantations, art and history museums, churches, marketplaces and more. The goal was to give students an immersive experience in the Spanish-American and Caribbean cultures in a range of locations.

“The country has so much culture and a rich history,” said Platte. “We visited their oldest still-attended church, which is even older than the United States.”

A common greeting in the country is “pura vida,” or “pure life.” It epitomizes the cultural experience of the HPU group, according to the students.

“I love that they all say ‘pura vida’ because it shows that they aren’t worried about other things and that they love the life they live,” said Adrienne Sanchez, junior Spanish major from Ozona.

The diversity of the culture, geography and opportunity for service made Costa Rica a prime choice for HPU’s first hybrid trip. The students studied the country before arriving to better appreciate the experience.

“From the relaxing lifestyle of the coast, to the beautiful views from the volcanoes, to the ever-busy life of the markets in the cities, Costa Rica has it all,” said Ashley Chapman, senior Spanish and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Ennis.

Additional students on the trip included Kyndal Broome, senior management major from San Angelo; Anthony Bryant, criminal justice major and May 2015 graduate from Copperas Cove; Tara Carroll, sophomore Spanish major from McKinney; Yessenia Cazares, senior psychology major from El Paso; Camryn Lopez, senior Spanish major from Wallis; Cody Perrin, junior history and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Eastland; Trystin Teale, freshman liberal arts major from Midland; Hannah Williamson, junior Spanish major from Fort Worth; and Mikayla Warren, senior cross-cultural studies major from Salado.

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Photo cutline: A group from HPU is pictured at the top of the Irazú Volcano at a national park in Costa Rica. Back row, left to right: Keith Platte, Anthony Bryant, Cody Perrin and Trystin Teale. Middle row, left to right: Camryn Lopez, Mikayla Warren, Hannah Williamson, Adrienne Sanchez, Kyndal Broome, Yessenia Cazares and Tara Carroll. Front row, left to right: Ashley Chapman and Gustavo Abarca, the group’s tour guide. Not pictured is Carla Hawkins.

Several HPU students to spend Spring Break serving others

Beach Reach group 2015 for webBy Rachel Ellington, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – March 6, 2015 – At Howard Payne University, the Great Commission – Jesus’ command to his followers in Matthew 28 to “go and make disciples of all nations” – is a closely held belief. As a result, several departments and organizations, including HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry, send students to a variety of locations each year to spread the love and Gospel of Christ. This tradition will be continued during HPU’s Spring Break, March 9-13, as the BSM takes 19 students to minister to vacationers at South Padre Island.

The students will work alongside ministry teams from churches and other universities in a collective project known as Beach Reach. The purpose of the ministry is not just to evangelize to the beachgoers but to adopt the servant-like attitude modeled by Jesus Christ.

Beach Reach volunteers from across the nation will serve those vacationing at South Padre Island by giving free, safe van rides throughout the island, preparing and serving pancake breakfasts on the beach and lending a helping hand to those in need.

This year marks Beach Reach’s 35th anniversary.

“This is a great opportunity for college students to witness to their peers and share the Gospel,” said Kim Garner, HPU’s Beach Reach coordinator. Garner is a 2014 HPU graduate serving as the BSM intern. “The BSM requests prayers for both the volunteers and the beachgoers.”

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Photo cutline: Nineteen HPU students left for South Padre Island Friday afternoon to minister to beachgoers during Spring Break. They are led by Kim Garner (front row, third from left), BSM intern and Beach Reach coordinator.

Mustache fun funds mission trips for HPU students

MWOD 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – December 19, 2014 – Howard Payne University recently ended the fall 2014 semester with the annual “Mustache Wheel of Doom” fundraiser sponsored by the Baptist Student Ministry. The popular event raised $2,933 for missions and left several HPU men with interesting facial hair throughout final exams week.

Teams of students, along with their faculty and staff sponsors, grew their beards throughout the month of November while collecting money for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions. Go Now sends students from universities across Texas, including HPU, to mission fields around the world.

The teams that raised the least amount of money spun the “Mustache Wheel of Doom” and shaved in whichever style the wheel determined. This year’s choices included stripes, half-beards, “No-Tee Goatees” and more.

“I love this time of year and all the fun that the Mustache Wheel brings,” said Keith Platte, HPU’s BSM director. “Plus, it is all for a good cause. It is great to see so many students who will do something silly or crazy for the sake of raising money to help others serve on mission trips. This is a pretty selfless act, especially when you see the kinds of beards some of the guys have to wear during finals week.”

Three HPU students will take part in Go Now experiences this year. Ruby Johnson, a senior from Alvarado, and Xavier McFalls, a junior from Amarillo, will both serve in the mission field during Christmas break. Rebekah Steadman, a December graduate from Fort Worth, will serve overseas during the spring semester.

Samuel Marich-Edwan, a senior from Arlington and Mustache Wheel of Doom participant, said he always enjoys the atmosphere the event creates.

“It is a great way to raise funds to help a wonderful cause, but it is also an incredibly fun and exciting event as well,” he said.

Platte said the BSM and the Mustache Wheel of Doom are both part of a bigger plan to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ around the world.

“I am glad that we can do that by growing beards and raising money, but we are always looking for ways that we can share the love and joy of Jesus,” he said.

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Photo cutline: Emily Selman, a sophomore from Red Oak, shaves stripes into the beard of Scott Turner, a junior from Georgetown, as part of HPU’s Mustache Wheel of Doom fundraiser event. Photo by Jaclyn Bonner, HPU sophomore.