By Analiz G. Schremmer
Any student who has benefitted from a scholarship knows what an enormous difference it can make. When that scholarship funds a mission trip, the outcome can be eternal.
Luis Juarez was once the recipient of a Mary Hill Davis Offering scholarship. Today, he is currently Director of Missions and Ministries at Baptist University of the Americas (BUA) and is able to see the impact that the scholarship continues to have in the lives of students.
“This scholarship makes mission work possible for a lot of students,” Juarez said. “Without it, they wouldn’t be able to experience missions and receive funding for their education.”
Juarez completed his undergraduate work in BUA in 2011 and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
“My junior year, I was involved in mission work in the summer and received the scholarship,” he said. “It gave me the opportunity to gain experience working in a church and it made it possible for me to continue my studies. Working as a missionary opened my eyes to the need that there is and affirmed the plans that I had for my future. When we give students this opportunity, we open doors to the possibility that they can do this type of work in the future, as well.”
As the BUA mission director, Juarez sometimes gets to join students in their mission experience. He recently participated on a spring break trip to Arkansas and said he was moved by the impact it had on the students.
“We had a student from Nigeria, named Oluwatofumi Oeulate,” he said. “She said that she felt at home, even though she was surrounded by people who spoke English differently than she was accustomed to hearing it. It impacted her life because, regardless of the type of people she was ministering to, the opportunity to serve God goes beyond culture.”
He added that another student, Amin Calvo, said, “God’s work never comes back empty. When we get out of our comfort zone to live out God’s purpose in our lives, we never come back empty.”
Juarez also shared about three students from Columbia who went on the trip.
“They had never seen snow,” Juarez said. “It was unlike anything they had ever experienced. They were so cold. But they were among the most hardworking students that I’d ever seen. Their hearts were for Christ, and regardless of any encounter, they served wholeheartedly. I am very proud of all of our students, particularly those three.”
“The students’ lives were enriched by this experience,” Juarez said. “Their missions experience helped them realize that this is why they are here–to serve God and others.”
The Mary Hill Davis Offering scholarship is awarded to 12-13 BUA students who dedicate their summer to working an internship. The scholarship covers the cost of their mission experience and provides funds for their education.
“I would encourage every person who has the opportunity to contribute to the Mary Hill Davis Offering to do so because it shapes these students’ futures and could be a gateway to a potential calling in their lives,” Juarez said. “I know that is what it did for me.”
This year, the Mary Hill Davis Offering is highlighting four funding categories:
- Serve Ministries – Caring for the whole person is a demonstration of the gospel and often opens the door for more effective sharing of the gospel.
- Advance Missions Equipping – These ministries equip both clergy and laity to have a missional mindset and tools to lead their congregations to be more effective in reaching their communities as they share the gospel and serve others.
- Love the Least of These – These ministries seek to serve those who can be forgotten or overlooked.
- Tell Ministries – These ministries enable Texas Baptists to be a witness.
To make a donation to the Mary Hill Davis Offering, visit http://wmutx.org/mary-hill-davis.