BROWNWOOD – May 3, 2018 – As Jordan Pitman, Howard Payne University senior from Bangs, would attest, God cares deeply about the individual interests and desires of His children. In fact, Pitman, who will be among the graduates crossing the Commencement stage this Saturday, has already witnessed God planting passions in her heart and beginning to cultivate them for His purpose.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to chase storms,” she said. “My favorite movie is ‘Twister’ and I watch it all the time. I knew that I wanted to study meteorology to help people understand weather patterns and to help keep them safe.”
God further clarified Pitman’s future career path through a mission opportunity in high school. While a student in the youth group at First Baptist Church of Gonzales, Pitman had her first experience with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (Texas Baptists) BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery program. BOUNCE offers high school students the opportunity to assist communities in recovery efforts following natural disasters.
Pitman and others from her youth group traveled to Moore, Oklahoma, one year after a massive tornado ripped through the community, killing 24 people and leaving utter destruction in its wake.
“I was shocked to see how much help the community needed even after a year,” she said. “I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to come in and help after a real disaster like that.”
Though her plan from a young age had been to study weather patterns to forewarn individuals of impending storms, God used BOUNCE to show Pitman a new calling in life. Rather than chasing storms, she would be arriving in communities after disasters to serve people and help them rebuild their lives.
“It’s great that I don’t have to stray too far from a career that is related to meteorology,” she said. “It’s a blessing from God that He still uses my desires to fulfill His Kingdom work.”
Pitman, who had previously been applying to universities to study meteorology, changed her focus to ministry. Through prayer and research, God led her to HPU. She’s found HPU’s faculty and staff to be supportive spiritually as well as academically.
“I am able to tell my professors when my week has been rough and ask them for extra prayer,” she said. “I’ve also found the faculty and staff to be great resources as I continue my ministry work.”
In the summer of 2017, Pitman returned to BOUNCE as a member of the collegiate staff. She served as the communications/missions specialist as the team traveled to five relief locations in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. At each location, the collegiate staff of four individuals worked with a different group of high school students – around 600 in all – to provide relief and support to those in need.
“My job was to reach out to local media contacts to hopefully get them to cover the relief work we were doing in their communities,” she said. “I also promoted different future mission opportunities to the students at each location. I encourage other people to get involved, even if it’s not with BOUNCE. Through service to others, I was able to experience God in a new way by seeing how He is moving in people’s lives.”
At HPU, Pitman has continued to serve God by serving her classmates and her community. She is an active member of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry, serving as a ministry co-leader as well as on the BSM State Lead Team. She is president of the Ministerial Alliance, which seeks to prepare men and women preparing for ministry; is a member of the Pi Theta Chi sorority; a member of HPU’s Gamma Beta Phi scholastic honor and educational-service organization; and a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology students. She is also a member of Appointed, an organization that strives to encourage ministry-driven women. In addition to her work through BOUNCE, she has participated in mission opportunities through the BSM and Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions.
HPU designated Pitman as a 2017 Currie-Strickland Scholar in Christian Ethics and Theology and Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon Seminary named her one of the 2018 Young Maston Scholars, an honor given each year to two students from each partnering Texas Baptist university. Additionally, Pitman was named a 2018 recipient of HPU’s Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award, given to selected HPU students in acknowledgement of their character and commitment to service honoring Jesus Christ. She was also recognized as an Outstanding Christian Studies Student during HPU’s spring Academic Awards Convocation.
A cross-cultural studies major in HPU’s Christian studies accelerated degree program – through which students can earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in as few as five years – Pitman will return to the HPU campus in the fall to complete her Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry degree.
Dr. Gary Gramling, professor of Christian studies and director of HPU’s graduate programs in Christian studies, said, in his experience, it is unusual for a person so young to have such a defined sense of what God is calling her to be and do.
“Jordan’s love for missions, compassion for others, and thoughtful approach to service combine to make her a wonderful minister,” he said. “Since I have known her, Jordan has continually articulated a sense that God is calling her to help those in need, especially those who find themselves in need due to natural disasters or other emergency situations. Because of her gifts, experience, and genuine devotion to Christ, I believe God will use Jordan greatly in the days ahead.”
HPU’s Commencement will begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday at the Brownwood Coliseum. For more information and a livestream of the event, visit www.hputx.edu/commencement.
Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cutline: Howard Payne University senior Jordan Pitman pursues her passion through God’s calling on her life.