- June 25, 2008
PLAINVIEW—A half-dozen Wayland Baptist University students traveled to the Balkans hoping to teach lessons about God’s love to the people there. In the process, they learned lessons to last a lifetime.
Rick Shaw, director of Wayland Baptist University’s Mission Center, traveled with six Wayland students— Melanie Vasquez, Taylor Phillips, Khrystyne Eckerd, Micah Evans, Amber Hamilton and Kevin Burrow—to the Balkans recently, where the missions volunteers prayed, sang, taught and shared their faith with the people of Macedonia and Kosovo.
Their journey began in Konjare e Mesme near Skopje, the capital city, where Shaw and his wife, Martha, spent many years as missionaries. While there, the Wayland group not only preached and shared their Christian testimonies, but also helped teach English as a Second Language classes, build the local library, deal with public health issues and run a sports camp for children.
Hamilton particularly touched the hearts of locals with hymns played on her flute, Shaw noted.
“Empowered by the pressure to perform, she delicately meandered through hymns, spirituals and praise choruses, bringing applause and tears,” Shaw said in an e-mail.
Hamilton also preached her first sermon at a church in Rahovec, and she was pleased with how the congregation responded.
“Overall, I was surprised at the hospitality of the Balkan people and their openness in loving others,” Hamilton said. “Many people in the United States are reserved with their love, being very skeptical of new people, not showing their love for others. In the Balkans, however, we were welcomed with open arms.
“So many times we, shelter ourselves from one another and are afraid to get too close to others. As Christians, we are to be transparent. We could learn a few things from these people.”
Eckerd echoed Hamilton’s sentiment.
“I left these people a different person,” she said. “God used them to change me. They showed me the true meaning of loving others.”