BUA students help repair and renovate San Antonio church

Jonathan Amaya, a Baptist University of the Américas student from Chihuahua, Mexico, trims bushes at Ven A El Baptist Church in San Antonio. (BUA PHOTO)

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SAN ANTONIO—Before the end of the spring semester, 20 Baptist University of the Américas students took a Saturday break from their studies—and they spent it stripping paint and cleaning toilets at Ven A El Baptist Church in San Antonio.

bua louis juarez425Luis Juarez is director of missions and spiritual life at Baptist University of the Américas and Baptist Student Ministries director at BUA and Palo Alto Community College. (BUA PHOTO)“As usual for BUA, we had a highly diverse group involved,” said Luis Juarez, director of the school’s Baptist Student Ministry. “We had students from Texas and Arizona and North Carolina and Colorado, as well as from Moldova, El Savador and Mexico. We also had a faculty member, an administrator and an alumna roll up their sleeves and invest a little sweat equity in our community.”

Pastor Juan Garza expressed gratitude for the students’ ministry, noting it encouraged Ven A El members as they improved the facilities to serve the surrounding community. He asked the students to lead a worship service soon and invited Juarez to preach.

“I grew up in a small church needing the help like Ven A El. Therefore, I understand the great need small churches have in different areas of ministry,” saidAlejandra Gaitan, president of the Jimenez-De La Cruz Missions Society at BUA.

bua project sign425Baptist University of the Américas students Jorge Cedillo (left) from Houston and Jonathan Juarez-Hurtado from North Carolina join Craig Bird, assistant professor, in painting the frame of the sign at Ven A El Baptist Church in San Antonio. (BUA PHOTO)“I think it was wonderful to see students working together serving the local church. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, I would never give up the opportunity to help them.”

Juarez views the university’s BSM as “a community on mission.” He saw the one-day mission effort at Ven A El Baptist Church as consistent with the BSM’s mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ on college campuses. He launched the BSM at Baptist University of the Américas and Palo Alto Community College three years ago.

“I have enjoyed being part of the spiritual growth and development of students at BUA and Palo Alto College,” he said. “It’s important to create opportunities for students to serve and take part in every area of ministry.”

Three words—“grow,” “serve” and “connect”—characterize BUA’s commitment, he added.

“We want students to grow in their relationship with God and each other through weekly small groups, worship and fellowship meetings,” he said. “We are here to serve God, students and our community through community projects and monthly free lunch for all students. Also, we look to connect students to the local church or group home.”

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