BOLIVAR – Southwest Baptist University’s Center for Global Connections honored an SBU employee and an SBU alumnus with its annual Nations Award during the Global Connections Week Chapel service on Wednesday, Sept. 11.
The award recognizes an SBU employee and alumnus who have made a significant impact in the area of missions and student development.
Dwayne Walker, assistant professor of social work and director of the BSW degree program, was the employee recipient of the CGC Nations Award “for exceptional service in the forgotten corners of the world.”
“This is an honor given to an SBU employee who has demonstrated exceptional missions service and leadership among students and employees,” said Kelly Rehm, assistant director of the Center for Global Connections.
“Several years ago, Dwayne Walker – a new faculty member at the time – came to the Center for Global Connections and advocated for a mission trip to the people groups in Eastern Senegal. He made it clear that he was willing to help our missions effort in any way needed. At one point he said, ‘I’ll go wherever you need me.’ Isn’t that great?!
“He has several traits that are very apparent; exceptional attitude, youthful energy, motivation, and a contagious optimism. Above all, he has a desire for people to know the Lord.”
Walker has traveled to places like Senegal and Morocco, as well as South Dakota on mission with SBU, and has traveled to other locations with groups outside of SBU. He encouraged students to explore mission projects instead of waiting – like he did.
“One of the things about being a social worker is, a lot of time, you get to talk to people about mistakes that they’ve made,” Walker said.
He shared how he spent most of his life saying ‘no’ to missions.
“I was here 35 years ago as a student, and while we didn’t have the CGC then, we did have mission trips. My friends went on them and I had several opportunities to go and I said, ‘no’ because I had something else to do. That enabled me to say ‘no’ until I was 43 years old. When I finally said ‘yes’ and went on a mission trip, it really changed my life.
“Chances are, if you go out on a mission trip God’s going to empower you to do some things that you normally wouldn’t be able to do, and you are going to come back a different person.”
Megan Ast, a 2010 graduate in sociology with minors in social welfare and counseling, was the alumni recipient.
While a student at SBU, Ast participated in CGC mission projects to Cameroon and the Pyrenees, going on to become a CGC leader of the Pyrenees team to Spain.
Upon graduation, Ast worked in positions assisting children in foster care before her travels took her to Greece.
“She developed a passion for serving refugees on the island of Lesvos,” said Diana Gallamore, director of the CGC and travel stewardship. “Megan returned, left her job, and stepped out in faith to work with GoSendMe Global as the Refugee Response Director, a role that recruits teams to serve in Greece. She also serves as an advocate for refugee work in the United States.
“In addition, she partners with the SBU CGC Greece team, and serves as our host on the field.”
Ast said she was honored to receive the Nations Award from her alma mater.
“Missions was an important part of my time here and was very impactful,” Ast said. “When I was a student, I felt that the Lord was calling me to missions at some point in my life. So, getting the opportunity to go and serve on a team was very eye-opening just to see the nations and to see that people across the world are people and that they have similar personalities; kids, no matter their circumstances, are going to be kids.
“People are loving and caring, but they also need the Gospel. I was very fortunate to get the opportunity and I am very thankful that it’s impacted where I am now.”
The SBU Center for Global Connections held its semester Global Fest on Tuesday, Sept. 10 to highlight the upcoming 2019-2020 CGC mission projects and had record attendance.
More than 30 mission projects were presented, and participants in attendance were able to visit each booth to learn more about the specific mission, taste some cultural food, see pictures of past teams’ ministry, and receive information on how they can be involved in an SBU mission.
The night was filled with festivities such as international foods, henna, painting nails, and handout of free gifts. Each person who attended picked up a ‘passport’ and then visited each booth and was able to receive CLW points. Many participants signed up for an appointment with the team leader in the coming week for the purpose of considering a CGC mission.
All the SBU CGC projects 2019-2020 were represented at Global Fest. Those currently recruiting include: Polk County, Disaster Relief, Atlas, Philippines, Passion, Baja, South Dakota, Honduras, Colombia, Ukraine, Pyrenees, Cheyenne River, Greece, Ireland, Chamblee, Georgia, Colorado, Turkey and Poland.
To learn more about the Center for Global Connections, please contact the CGC office at (417) 328-1900.