Friday, October 27, 2017

Prayerful Planning: Spring Break Mission Trips

For 30 years, LETU has offered students the opportunity to be part of spring break mission trips. These students sacrifice their spring break vacations for the opportunity to serve others and show the love of Christ wherever they serve.

Ten spring break mission trips are being planned for March 9-18, 2018 by LeTourneau Student Ministries (LSM). These teams need some of us, as faculty and staff members, to go with them as sponsors. They need all of us to pray for their ministry. 

During that week, they build relationships, use their skills to help others, grow spiritually, have fun and support the missionaries they work alongside. They get out of their comfort zone. Some will fix airplanes. Some will chop wood. Some will use their engineering skills to build and repair things. Some will work with special needs children. Some will sort books. Some will provide safe transportation to intoxicated college students on the beach. All will make an impact for Christ.

The 2018 Spring Break mission trip destinations are all over the map, including Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, and Colorado. 

The Beach Reach trip to South Padre Island, Texas, provides safety for college students who flock to the beach to spend the spring break week partying and drinking alcohol. Our students provide van rides to intoxicated college students and minister to them through prayer, conversation and free pancakes. Relationships are built. Many have been led to salvation.

The Master's Mission trip to the mountains in North Carolina provides LETU students opportunity do manual labor--from chopping wood, clearing brush, renovating cabins and more--as they build relationships with long-term missionaries who are there being trained for the mission field.  The trip is one that gives students the opportunity to consider whether God is calling them into the mission field.

The MMS Aviation trip to Ohio is one that enables aviation maintenance students the opportunity to fix airplanes and minister to those who are ministering to others. Our students participate in the ministry, working alongside families that work there.

The JAARS trip to North Carolina will enable our aviation students to help repair and maintain missionary aircraft for missionaries who go to the ends of the world to spread the Gospel of Christ. Last year's students worked on aircraft wings, doing sheet metal and composite work.
The OM Ships International trip to Florence, South Carolina, will give our students opportunity to receive, sort, pack and send out books and other literature in their warehouse to enable that ministry to send Christian, educational and children's literature to 150 countries through their largest floating book fair in the world, the Logos Hope. LETU students will interact with a host of missionaries from across the world as they provide behind-the-scenes support to help that organization open doors to the gospel.

The Reach Global Crisis Response trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, will help people whose lives were disrupted by Hurricane Harvey earlier this year. Manual labor like clearing debris, rebuilding homes and painting are practical ways our students can share Christ's love with families there.

The Tri-Grace Ministries trip to Utah provides our students opportunity share the gospel with college students through a coffee-shop ministry and through work with a polygamist outreach ministry.

The Son Set Solutions trip to Indiana enables our students to work with full-time missionary engineers at HCJB to provide hands-on engineering and computer science solutions to people in the mission field through working on radio broadcasting equipment or a host of other products, like smartphone apps, designed specifically for Christian missionaries to spread the gospel. 

The Camp Blessing trip to Brenham, Texas, pairs LETU students with special needs kids for one-on-one mentoring for the week as they have a Christian camp experience with activities like swimming, horseback riding, archery, canoeing, and zip-line-all adapted for their special needs.
The LightSys Technology Services trip to Colorado enables our students to provide IT and technical skills alongside their 10 full-time workers to serve missionaries through technical support. In the one-week code-a-thon, students will complete as much of a project as they can, which could include creating code to create apps for the mission field.

Please pray about whether you should be involved as a faculty or staff sponsor on one of these trips, and be praying for our students to seek how God can use them for His glory.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

New Partnerships Around the Globe

LETU President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford is joined by members of the LETU Office of Global Initiatives, standing from left, Alan Clipperton, Suma Jayakar, Rebecca Haesecke and Tracy Ketrow. 

This week, I was delighted to sign documents to formalize new partnerships with two women's colleges in India: Stella Maris College and Women's Christian College. Both colleges identify as Christian and are located in Chennai, which is home to about five million people in the state of Tamilnadu.

LETU International Recruitment Specialist Suma Jayakar in our Office of Global Initiatives recently traveled to her homeland of India where she spoke with leaders at these two colleges about the benefits of partnership with LETU. Her efforts, under the direction of our Assistant Vice President for Global Initiatives Alan Clipperton, have resulted in these new partnerships.

The partnerships will provide opportunities for student and faculty exchanges, as well as an opportunity for students from these colleges to participate in LETU's short-term language and cultural programs. 

I hope that we can recruit many more Indian students to LETU. We have more than 70 families from India living in the Longview area. Many of our local families from South Asia have expressed desire to interact and provide support for these international students while they study at LeTourneau University.  

These relationships offer us a unique opportunity to recruit and support more students from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. We currently have a number of students from this area of the globe, and we look forward to seeing more of them choose to study at LETU.

Women's Christian College was founded as a joint venture of 12 missionary societies from the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S.A. "to provide a complete, meaningful and relevant education to women so that they are intellectually well-trained, morally upright, socially aware and spiritually inspired." 

WCC is ranked 10th in India among the best colleges in the Arts and Science category by the Ministry for Human Resource Development. The school offers a wide range of metacognitive and need-based programs at the undergraduate, postgraduate and research levels to women from national and regional communities and varied socio-economic backgrounds.

Stella Maris College was founded as an autonomous merit-based women's institution affiliated with the University of Madras. Stella Maris College prides itself on over than 60 years of service to the cause of higher education of women and social development. It is committed to serving economically and socially marginalized sections of Indian society and provides university education in a Christian atmosphere. Their vision is to build a vibrant and inclusive learning community in a culture of excellence sustained by a sound value system that promotes responsible citizenship and effects social change. 

Suma says WCC had already heard of LeTourneau University, since one of their board members came from another university with a strong aeronautical science program. They knew about our standard of academic excellence in all areas, our conservative campus and our style of experiential learning. She said WCC had 100 students sign up for just five available spots in our exchange program for next semester, once WCC emailed its student population about our new partnership!

Stella Maris College has already invited one of our computer science faculty to be a keynote speaker in their computer science symposium in February.

I'm reminded weekly that an LETU education is of value around the world. What a joy to be part of what our God is doing around the globe.   

In India is Suma Jayakar with Dr. Sr. Jasintha Quadras of Stella Maris College.

In India with Suma Jayakar (center) is Dr. Lilian I Jasper, left, and Paul P. Appasamy, right, both of Women's Christian College.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Join Me in Lifting Up LeTourneau UPD

The death of a campus police officer at Texas Tech Monday made it truly a sad day for all Texas universities. See story here.

It is the kind of tragedy that could happen anywhere, and one that should make us all grateful for our own LeTourneau University Police Department (UPD). 

Over the past few years, we have moved from a campus security department to a fully staffed LeTourneau University Police Department with an armed, state-licensed peace officer on duty 24/7/365, even on holidays and breaks.

Our two full-time and seven part-time peace officers are assisted by a host of student guards who support them as additional eyes and ears on campus and who are trained to assist in patrolling campus and fulfilling other duties like locking and unlocking buildings, issuing warnings and citations.

All of our officers and guards take pride in providing safety to our campus community, and all are under the leadership of Chief of Police Michael Schultz.

The Longview Centurion Club earlier this year honored two members of our LETU police department at their 26th annual Giants of Law Enforcement Banquet. Cliff Ingersoll was named LeTourneau University Police Department Officer of the Year and student guard Olivia Stine was named the LeTourneau University Police Department Civilian of the Year.

Cliff, a full-time officer, serves as executive officer for the department and Olivia serves as customer service representative and lead student guard and trainer. Both display the highest levels of service, professionalism, and integrity to our campus community and this department.

Chief Schultz led chapel recently and talked to students about personal safety, putting out a call for students who may be interested in replacing several of the guards who will soon be graduating.

The Texas Tech tragedy challenged me to pray for our campus police. While LETU is blessed with a safe campus, we ask our LETU police to be ready for any emergency. I want to encourage us all to be praying constantly for our officers and guards, and to thank them for their service.

Our officers are: Chief Michael Schultz, Cliff Ingersoll, Kevin Blakeley, Danny Brasher, Delora Coles, Missidime Davis, Greg Mandreger, Steve Newton, and Juan Roberson. Our guards are Karl Almquist, Samuel Bean, Dillon Hartsfield, Keni Legesse, Brad Martin, Olivia Stine and Paul Stine. Will you lift them up in prayer today?

PIctured, from left, standing beside the LETU's newest police cruiser are LETU President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford, executive officer Cliff Ingersoll and LETU Police Chief Michael Schultz.


Friday, October 6, 2017

"If there is anything praiseworthy..."

The tragic news from Las Vegas reached me in Pennsylvania where I was enjoying an opportunity to reconnect with our many LETU friends--and making some new friends for the university.

I have observed two very different reactions to the tragedy. Some react with anger and disgust, lamenting the evil in this world. Others reacted with thanksgiving, amazed at the heroes that emerged from the shooting. Of course, both reactions are legitimate and understandable.

The ancient wisdom of our faith leads us to a helpful response in Philippians 4:8, which reads, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things."

Friends saved the lives of friends. Strangers put themselves in danger to carry the wounded to care. First responders rushed in with courage. Indeed, much noble behavior was witnessed in Las Vegas.

When we focus on the good, our gaze is lifted upward. We find assurance that God is present, His unfailing love blessing us even in tragedy.

And God blessed us with another impressive Career Fair today. Recruiters from over 70 exhibitors came to the Solheim Center to talk to students about co-op and internship opportunities while they are still in college and employment opportunities after graduation. 

The Career Fair gives our students a great opportunity to meet professionals working in their field of study, to ask questions, and to connect with alumni who are recruiting for their companies.