July 29, 2003
HANNIBAL — Hannibal-LaGrange College announces plans to build a training center for missions on its campus. The Carroll Missions Center, named for Kenneth and Rheyma Carroll of Monroe City, will become the focal point for all campus ministries, providing resources for student groups serving in local churches, on-campus Bible studies, and mission work around the world.
The Carrolls have been supporters of HLG for many years. Their daughter, Connie Benson of Hannibal, is the campaign chair for the fund-raising efforts of this facility. Benson worked in the admissions office in 1980 and graduated from HLG in 1994. She also served as an adjunct professor for five years, and has been on the board of trustees for the past six years.
"My parents have such a passion for missions," said Benson. "Although they have never been able to go out on the mission field overseas, they have been behind the scenes helping others through financial and prayer support. They look at their contributions as more than a brick and mortar investment, but as a big picture investment, to enable others now and years from now to have a place to train and go out and preach the gospel to the lost. As my dad always said, ‘Everything we own belongs to the Lord.’"
Several years ago the Carrolls began looking for a way to aid the college in its missions program. When they learned that the missions office was outgrowing its space (a one-room office in Memorial Hall), they decided to contribute to the building of a missions center.
"The Carroll Missions Center will enable HLG to continue to raise the level of mission training," said Tom Hufty, vice president for collegiate affairs. "Over the past several years HLG has increased its mission involvement domestically as well as internationally. Five years ago we had one mission trip during the school year, plus student involvement during the summer. We now have students doing missions work on fall break, Christmas break, spring break, and during the summer. Our goal is to have 100 percent of our resident students involved in missions or volunteer service on some level within five years. This year, we trained over 200 students and we’re seeing that number increase every year."
In order to raise the level in missions, HLG also has partnered with various mission organizations, including the Missouri Baptist Convention, the European Baptist Convention, Sports Crusaders, Awe Star Ministries, and Global Encounter. The school began offering students a missions minor several years ago, and in the summer of 2002, work was completed on the Hagerman House, a residence available to career missionaries on furlough.
"Because of the growth that we’ve seen, it is incumbent upon us to provide the necessary facilities to continue this growth," said Hufty. "Because every missionary who goes out needs to be trained, the Carroll Missions Center will serve as a training and resource center for those missions efforts in which HLG is involved."
The center will contain training classrooms, student and administrative offices, a conference room, work room, and prayer chapel. It will house all things ministry related, as well as a resource center. Training will also take place for community outreach, including such organizations as GateKeepers, which is an HLG mentoring program for at-risk students in local schools.
"Our goal is for Hannibal-LaGrange College to become the center of recruitment and training for students called to missions," said Woodrow Burt, HLG president.
While the primary use will be for training HLG students, Hufty said that in the future, he hopes they will be able to offer training to other entities.
"We want to provide missions training for area and regional churches," added Hufty. "A lot of churches in this area have a great heart for missions, but many lack training. In the future, we hope to be able to help church leaders guide their churches on missions."
The capital campaign for the Carroll Missions Center will run until June 19, 2004. The amount needed to cover all expenses, including the building and furniture, is $500,000. The school has already raised $225,000. Construction is set to begin in June 2004, and the pledge period will extend over 24 months. The missions center will be the first phase in a facility which will eventually include a new student center.
"It is a privilege for me to help with this campaign," said Benson. "It is exciting to see the Lord’s hand guiding us in each step of this project. We have been so blessed with donors for this project who have heard about the center and have a heart for missions."