By Lindsay Starr Platt, The Belton Journal
Classes at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor may have just started this week, but that does not mean it is too early to get the students ready to sign up and help with the campus ministries and community outreach programs. On Tuesday night at the Baptist Student Ministries building, the back yard was set up with booths as they hosted their annual “Aloha Party” and welcomed freshman and new students to come out and see how they can help their new community and minister to others.
“We set this up every year on the first Tuesday. It is meant for the freshman and first year students and gives them a chance to get information and sign up for the student led Baptist Student Ministries and off campus ministries,” Laura Finch, associate director of Baptist Student Ministries, said.
More than 30 booths were set up with information, and sign up sheets were available for students to put themselves down for helping and volunteering. Ministries available to help with ranged from drama, hunger relief and hospital outreach.
“It is nice to see new faces as the freshman come out and join. These freshman will be our future leaders in the years to come,” commented Elizabeth Sandoval, co-president of Baptist Student Ministries.
Hope for the Hungry is a local organization that partners with students from UHMB to help minister in the community, and they had several interested freshmen at the Aloha Party. At least once a week, Hope for the Hungry and students visit children from low-income and government housing neighborhoods in Belton. The students play games and read bible stories with them.
“This is my fourth year involved and my third year as a leader with the Ministry Leadership Council,” said, Jake Raabe, president, Ministry Leadership Council. “I really love the Aloha Party. It gets together all kinds of people with all kinds of skill sets and interests. We have ministries such as medical, poverty awareness, hunger relief and pro-life, and it connects them with what they are interested in and skilled at. It’s a great way to match them up with what they are interested in.”
Hospital Ministry is a popular ministry with nursing students, but it is open to any student. When helping with Hospital Ministry, students go to Scott and White Hospital and talk to family members in the waiting rooms of various departments and ask how they can help them.
“This is the first of the school year, and students are thinking about what they want to be included in their lives this year. New students are exploring what they want to do and if they have it in their heart to grow or to serve. This is a good place to bring forth that desire to grow and to serve,” remarked, Dr. Shawn Shannon, director of Baptist Student Ministry. “The Ministry Leadership Council is able to connect the students to ministry opportunities.”