Around the State: Wayland baseball team lauded as Champions of Character

Service and mission projects are part of the reason the Wayland Baptist University baseball program was named the inaugural winner of the Sooner Athletic Conference's Champions of Character Team Award. (WBU Photo)

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
Members of the Wayland Pioneers baseball team have worked on construction projects in the Houston area after Hurricane Harvey. (WBU Photo)

The Wayland Baptist University baseball program was named the inaugural winner of the Sooner Athletic Conference’s Champions of Character Team Award. Champions of Character is the NAIA’s initiative to promote character-driven athletics by instilling five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership in student-athletes, coaches and fans. For the past two years, Head Coach Brad Bass, his staff and about 50 Pioneer baseball players have worked in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Each fall, most members of the baseball program have volunteered five days to travel eight hours from Plainview to the Houston area. In 2017, they helped with hurricane clean-up efforts, and then in 2018, they aided in the construction of residences. Bass and the team plan to make their third trip to the Houston area to lend assistance again this fall. In addition to those efforts, Pioneer baseball players have served as “Big Brothers” to local elementary students, traveling to school campuses once a week in order to provide a much-needed male role model. In past years, the baseball program participated in “Read First,” a project of the Hale County Literacy Council in which Wayland student-athletes took time to read books with local first-grade students. The Wayland baseball program also has offered free summer camps to needy kids in and around Plainview.

Four University of Mary Hardin-Baylor students and a staff sponsor completed a two-week mission trip among women in northern Africa, the first UMHB-sponsored trip to the region and the first new trip organized by the university’s director of global outreach, Tiffany Horton. Team sponsor Mary Catherine Carnes, resident director of Burt Hall, previously lived a short while in the region and had connections to some missionaries serving there. The exact location is not identified for security reasons. “We would have a lesson on baking bread or traditional dishes that they would make, and, in the process, we would get to know these women and turn the conversation to gospel things,” Carnes said. Students who participated in the mission trip are Laela Collier, Ilyanna Cuellar, Marisa Knight and Elizabeth McElroy.

The East Texas Baptist University Tiger Spirit Teams worked in the kitchen at Camp Buttobi in Japan. (ETBU Photo)

The East Texas Baptist University Tiger Spirit Teams and acrobatics and tumbling student-athletes traveled to Japan as part of the Tiger Athletic Mission Experience program. Lisa Seeley, director of global education and the ETBU Great Commission Center; Ryan Erwin, vice president for athletics; and coaches Farrah Dunaway and Kyla Arbuckle led the student group. The ETBU students partnered with the International Sports Federation in evangelism and ministry surrounding Camp Buttobi and the people of Yokohama, Japan. The trip to Japan marks ETBU’s 11th sports mission experience and the third trip with ISF. The ETBU students taught dances, cheers and stunts at Camp Buttobi, as well as serving in the kitchen. The Tiger Spirit Teams spent time with a children’s ministry during a worship service at Hongodai Church, sharing testimonies as well as their cheer, dance and acrobatic talents. During a community outreach activity at a shopping mall in Yokohama, students connected to the local community through music, games and dancing.

Adam Wright (left), president of Dallas Baptist University, is pictured with Tillie and Bob Burgin. (DBU Photo / Kirsten McKimmey)

Dallas Baptist University presented Bob Burgin—a missionary, educator, administrator and pastor—with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree at its summer commencement. Burgin and his wife, Tillie, served in Korea as missionaries appointed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Foreign Mission Board. After they returned from the mission field to Arlington, he worked as assistant principal and as principal at several public schools. He joined the DBU faculty in 1999 as associate dean, director of secondary education and assistant professor in the College of Education. He was recognized as an Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year in 2007-08 and was selected by his colleagues to serve for a term as president of the Faculty Council. He has worked alongside his wife for three decades in Mission Arlington. For more than 20 years, he has been pastor of the apartment-based congregation that is now Parkview Church in Arlington. Keynote speaker at DBU commencement was Ray Martinez, president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas. Martinez served three years on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and held leadership posts in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He was director of the Higher Education Committee in the Texas Senate, chancellor of WGU Texas, and he held several senior government relations positions at Rice University and Texas A&M. He completed a three-year term as a member of the board of trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and he currently is a candidate in the Doctor of Education degree program at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

The Light Up the Hills Regional Motorcycle Retreat is scheduled Sept. 13-14 at the Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden in Kerrville. Daylight hours will include plenty of time for motorcycle rides through the Texas Hill Country. Christian comic Elijah Tindall will entertain on Friday evening, and Kenneth “Doc” Dennis, senior pastor of the Full Armor Fellowship biker church in Decatur, will preach on Saturday evening. The Broken Chains Praise and Blues Revue Band will lead in worship music both nights. For more information, click here.

As Baylor University prepares for the renovation of the Tidwell Bible Building, the school will hold an open house from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31. The event will allow alumni and other friends of the school to visit and reminisce in Miller Chapel—the location of hundreds of Baylor weddings over the past six decades. During the Tidwell restoration, the current Miller Chapel space will be repurposed for faculty and administrative offices—currently spread throughout the building’s 57,000 square feet—while maintaining Miller Chapel’s high ceiling and stained glass windows. A new prayer chapel will provide a view of campus from the top floors of Tidwell that will be accessible by elevator for the first time in the building’s history. The restored Tidwell Building is expected to open in 2022. The Miller Chapel open house is scheduled prior to the Baylor Bears football season-opening game at 6 p.m. at McLane Stadium. The open house is free, and no RSVP or registration is required.

The inauguration ceremony of Cory Hines as the 20th president of Howard Payne University is scheduled at 2 p.m. on Sept. 18 in Mims Auditorium on the HPU campus. Other activities open to the public include the inaugural chapel Service at 10 a.m. on Sept. 18; the inaugural reception, following the inauguration; and the inaugural HPU Family Tailgate, scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sept. 21, preceding the HPU football game at Gordon Wood Stadium. For more details on inauguration activities, click here.

Buckner International helped 800 Rio Grande Valley children prepare for school by providing new backpacks, school supplies and shoes. The children are members of families involved with the Buckner Family Hope Center in Peñitas, where Diego Silva is director. The shoes are provided by the Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls humanitarian aid project.


Sign up for our weekly email newsletter.

We seek to inform, inspire and challenge you to live like Jesus. Click to learn more about Following Jesus.

If we achieved our goal—or didn’t—we’d love to hear from you. Send an email to Eric Black, our editor. Maximum length for publication is 250 words.

More from Baptist Standard

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email