HLG dedicates Carroll Missions Center
By Brandy Campbell
HLG Public Relations Staff Writer
November 9, 2004
Hannibal – Nov. 6 marked the beginning of a new era for Hannibal-LaGrange College. In 1989 the college suffered a devastating fire that destroyed a major building complex. Over the past 15 years HLG has sought to not only replace what was lost physically, but they have claimed God’s promise that He will bring forth beauty from ashes. The Carroll Missions Center, dedicated Nov. 6, is a testimony of that promise.
Fifteen years ago, HLG sent out an average of 20 student missionaries and raised around $2,000 for missions. In 2003-2004, over 300 HLG students served on various mission trips, and $250,000 went towards the school’s missions program. This rapid growth in missions caught the attention of Kenneth and Rheyma Carroll of Monroe City. Rheyma is a former trustee, and both she and her husband have generously supported HLG spiritually and financially. The Carrolls came forward with the idea of creating a center on campus where students could be trained for service in missions, whether as a career or a short-term venture. They envisioned a means through which HLG could provide opportunities for students who could put their faith in action beyond the boundaries of Hannibal.
“My appreciation for [the Carroll’s] contribution to the ongoing work of the Lord goes beyond my ability to express it in words,” said Woodrow Burt, HLG president, during the dedication ceremony. “The Carrolls live their faith, and they inspire others to do the same. Through their dedication and generosity, they have played a major role in creating a place for training students to use their knowledge for service to the Lord.”
Burt went on to thank a number of workers and volunteers who helped bring the Carroll Missions Center into fruition. Much of the early work on the center was completed by volunteer groups and organized by Al Groner, director of missions, Bethel Baptist Association. Groner was assisted by volunteers from the Salt River Baptist Association, the Dixon Baptist Association, South Side Baptist Church of Texas, and Bob and Voncile Mallory of Florida, along with other groups and individuals.
Although the building began with volunteers, the majority of the project was completed by Bleigh Construction Company of Hannibal. Nicole Lewis, an architect from Klingner and Associates, designed the center.
Many individuals donated their resources and talents to the Carroll Missions Center. Among those mentioned were: Francis Wells, who handcrafted a wooden prayer bench displayed in the Lillard Prayer Room; John Freiling, who made and donated a stained glass window for the prayer room; Joey and Robyn Hassen for the Kugel Ball fountain found in the center’s courtyard; Inez Martin, widow of former HLG President Gerald Martin, and her family, for their generous gift in memory of Dr. Martin; Dr. and Mrs. James Mann; the Ruby Ensor Brown family; Claude and Irene McFerron; and the family and friends of Brian Shelton, class of 1997. Still others have provided resources and are recognized throughout the building.
“To those who have donated resources to make this building possible, I offer our special, heartfelt thanks,” said Burt. “Without your foresight and generosity, this building would still be on the drawing board, not yet a reality. Through the Carroll Missions Center, you have become part of an endeavor that will touch the future and circle the globe through the students who are trained here to go out to spread the Gospel of Christ.”
Also instrumental in the creation of the Carroll Missions Center is Tom Hufty, vice president for collegiate affairs.
“[Tom Hufty] has done more to extend the reach of Hannibal-LaGrange College than anyone I know,” said Burt. “Tom heads up our missions endeavors and under his leadership HLG has made tremendous strides in providing opportunities for our students to touch lives the world over.”
In his remarks, Hufty said that he is privileged to “work with a President who has cast a vision to raise the level of missions at HLG.”
Hufty went on to explain how Acts 1:8 inspired the layout of the missions center, with its call for God’s people to “be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The Jerusalem room will be used for preparing mission efforts taking place locally. HLG students have ongoing relationships with Hannibal involving at least one project each month. Over 250 students participate in this area of missions each year.
The Judea/Samaria room is designated for planning mission efforts throughout the United States. Through various partnerships with domestic mission organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the North American Mission Board, HLG students have provided energy and leadership in mission efforts across the nation and in neighboring countries.
The Ends of the Earth room will be utilized to plan, promote, and prepare for international mission efforts. Through partnerships with the International Mission Board, Awe Star Ministries, Global Encounter Ministries, and the International Baptist Convention of Europe, Hannibal-LaGrange students have the opportunity to minister in several countries throughout the year.
“Because of the partnerships we have with organizations and with people just like you, it is possible for our students to walk through these doors and touch lives that you will never see,” said Hufty to those at the dedication. “I pray that the Lord will take this brick and mortar and use it to honor His name.”
The addition of missionaries-in-residence to HLG’s staff is evidence of those partnerships. Dudley and Janet Graves of Viterbo, Italy, are at Hannibal-LaGrange because of their work with HLG students in Europe. Dudley spoke at the dedication, saying “I want to commend you parents, and churches, for what you began in your homes and churches has been encouraged and deepened here. The gifts, prayers, and elbow-grease you have supplied have been well spent in something that will not pass away…the Word of God.”
Dana Whitt, a senior from Trenton, is this year’s student missions assistant. Whitt will work closely with Hufty, coordinating student mission efforts.
“Whatever your view of missions is, it starts right here,” said Whitt. “The building that stands behind me will hopefully become the focus of this campus, not because it’s something new but because of what it represents: a center where students can center their lives on what is important, learn how to reach the lost, and be equipped with the knowledge and encouragement we need to take outside these walls. It is my hope that students leave this place with a greater understanding of who Jesus is and a challenge to help fulfill the Great Commission. I believe the beauty that stands behind me is just the beginning of that.”