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January 2, 2008

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

UT Tyler Senior Spends Summer Overseas on Mission Trip

Holley in Nigeria

With her passion of Christian mission work, Shannon Holley, Milford senior at The University of Texas at Tyler, packed her bags and spent three months in a country in Africa. 

The human resource management major, along with other Texas university students, traveled to Bowen University in Nigeria last summer, where they led Bible studies, attended church services and worked with the college students at the private Baptist university.

She was selected to participate through Go Now Missions, an organization of the Baptist General Convention of Texas that prepares and encourages college students through college ministries and church groups for Christian mission work.

“I had no idea where I wanted to go,” said Holley. “But I asked God to challenge me. Ever since I became a Christian, I have had this strong desire to just go out and tell people about my faith. I knew I wanted to go to a place that would challenge me in every way. I didn’t want to go to a place where I could speak Texan and get away with it,” she said with a laugh. “I listed three places, and I ended up going to Nigeria.”

Holley in Nigerian church
Holley mainly worked with female freshmen.

“I really loved talking to the girls,” Holley said. “They would teach us songs in Aruba. We’d go to the cafeteria and hang out with them. We’d just sit and talk and eat rice. I would talk to them about whatever is happening in their lives, boyfriends, just general girl stuff.”

According to Holley, the country’s culture was very different than what she was used to.

“They are not time-orientated at all,” she said, for an example. “Someone would say, ‘Let’s meet at 1 p.m.’ They wouldn’t show up until 4 p.m.”  

Holley said experiences such as teaching and leading Bible study classes there will forever remain with her. She was glad to be able to encourage other students in their Christian faith as well.

“It lifted me up and showed me that I could do those things – things that before I went, I was terrified to do,” she said.  

Holley, who expects to graduate in May, is involved with the UT Tyler Baptist Student Ministry. She also is a recipient of the East Texas Human Resources Development Association scholarship.

For information about Go Now Missions, visit www.gonowmissions.com.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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