BROWNWOOD – February 16, 2018 – Jaclyn Bonner, a May 2017 Howard Payne University graduate, was back on campus recently to talk with students about her mission work in Uganda. Bonner delivered a presentation on the Ugandan culture to students in a sociology class taught by Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program.
Bonner spent more than three months in Kampala, Uganda, last fall, serving as a missionary through the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions program. She worked with Refuge & Hope International, a faith-based organization that serves refugees who have fled to the area. The primary focus of the organization is to share the love of Christ with refugees and help equip them through English as a Second Language (ESL), General Equivalency Diploma (GED) and entrepreneurship courses. Bonner, who majored in communication studies and minored in sociology at HPU, was able to utilize what she learned in the classroom while assisting with marketing and communications, ESL teaching and tutoring.
“I believe it is important to have a missional mentality wherever I live,” she said. “However, this opportunity was particularly unique because it perfectly incorporated my calling, passion and skills. As a Christian, I am called to share Christ and make disciples. As an individual, my passion is helping marginalized people. As a recent communication studies graduate, I was able to use my skills to help make the operation run efficiently and equip refugees to succeed.”
Bonner explained to the HPU students that Uganda’s culture is much broader than she could adequately explain in the time allotted during class.
“We’re just looking at a part of a mosaic,” she said as she showed them photos of rural villages and cosmopolitan cities.
Bonner first became involved with missions through HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry and served in Brownwood, in New York City and with service projects like Beach Reach on South Padre Island.
“Each of these mission experiences were impactful and formative for me,” she said. “I learned more about spiritual discipline and the character of God. My exposure to local, state and national missions helped prepare me to serve internationally.”
While an HPU student, Bonner also had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in London and travel internationally with HPU’s Model United Nations team.
“These experiences exposed me to world events and issues, such as the refugee and migration crisis, that I have come to care about greatly,” she said. “Additionally, HPU’s Christian worldview has exposed me to ministry opportunities and encouraged me to pursue missions for this season of my life.”
Cutline: Jaclyn Bonner (center), a 2017 HPU graduate, recently served as a missionary to Uganda. She is pictured with graduates of an educational program sponsored by Refuge & Hope International.