JAKE BURTON, 2008-2009/2009-2010 Scholarship Recipient
Jake Burton grew up in Atlanta, Ga., where faith always played an active role in his life. His parents offered him opportunities to be active in their congregation as well as provide him with a Christian education. At the age of 13, he decided to make a formal decision to follow Christ through baptism. He has always been thankful for the solid foundation of faith he has, but knew in recent years that it was only that—a foundation. He needed to grow on his own and mature in his faith. That realization brought many changes in his life.
When he became worried about a career choice, he took a semester off to work on the mission field as he weighed his options. He worked with Youth with a Mission, an international movement of Christians from many denominations dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world. They operate in 149 countries, serving more than 1,000 locations. Jake traveled to Perth, Australia, and attended three months of training where he learned how to make his faith his own before he shared it with others. He then headed to the mission field in South Africa where God changed his heart. As he worked with schools, orphanages and churches in Durban, South Africa, he realized he wanted to pursue a Bible degree with an emphasis in missions at Lipscomb.
Since returning from South Africa, Jake has been heavily involved with both homeless and college ministries. He does not know where God may lead him in the future, but knows that he is developing his ministry gifts both at Lipscomb and on the Nashville mission fields where he serves.
This is Jake's second consecutive year receiving the David E. Lavender Scholarship.
Jillian Cromie’s first mission trip to Cap-Haitian, Haiti, changed her life. The Caribbean island adventure brought more than sun and fun for her. It brought the reality check into her life that her parents, Tom and Pam Cromie of Johnson City, Tenn., had hoped for. At sixteen years old, Jillian was a typical teenage girl into hairstyles, clothes, dating and friends. Her parents asked her to go on a medical mission trip organized through her church. What she experienced in Cap-Haitian gave her a new perspective in life, drawing her out of her teenage world and into a struggling world many people face daily as they try to survive.
Jillian, who is majoring in psychology with a minor in Bible, has been back to Cap-Haitian twice since her original trip. She feels led to return to the same location as she develops relationships with the residents and missionaries in the region. She follows the progress of the children at the local children’s home, watching many physically heal with the help of the medical mission team she has traveled with.
Mission work now has an even more personal place in Jillian’s life. On a recent mission trip, she accepted the proposal of Lipscomb senior Hunter Kittrell. He planned a three-mile hike up a rugged mountain to the Citadel, a large fortress in the area. At the highest point on the hike, Hunter proposed with a bracelet, leaving the engagement ring at home to avoid losing it. Together, Jillian and Hunter hope to continue the mission work so important to both of them.
CHRIS AMARAL, 2006-2007 Scholarship Recipient
Chris Amaral was born and raised in West Greenwich, Rhode Island to Peter and Deb Amaral. He has an older sister, Courtney, and a twin sister, Caidy. He graduated from Exeter-West Greenwich High School in 2005 and left to begin at Lipscomb University in the fall of 2005.
When he was seven his parents started attending church and his whole family has been active in God’s mission since. Due to the interaction that he had with his family of believers at South County church of Christ and at Warwick church of Christ, Chris started going to Tidal River Christian Camp (TRCC) when he was eight years old and was baptized in the fall of 1999. Now he is nineteen years old and has gone every week in July since. Although he can no longer be a camper, he strives to be an example, friend, mentor, and brother for those that still are by serving the camp in any way needed.
While at camp Chris became friends with people who eventually opened his eyes to missions. In April of his freshman year of high school Chris went to Tijuana, Mexico with a team from local churches of Christ. Their missions were to build two homes in a colonia (poor regions of Tijuana), and to help a local orphanage. The mission trip was so pivotal in his life that Chris went back to Mexico twice throughout high school and did many local outreach efforts with the South County church of Christ. Ultimately, because of these mission trips in high school, Chris felt called to a life in missions and thus he currently attends Lipscomb University seeking a degree in Bible with a mission’s emphasis. Although he is unsure about where he is needed most in this world, he knows he is needed somewhere and is currently listening to God about where that may be. This year he and Hope Miller are the student coordinators of Mission UK and he has plans of working with the church in West Mains, Glasgow, Scotland in March.
RACHEL GRAY, 2005-2006 Scholarship Co-Recipient
Rachel Gray has been involved in mission efforts since she was fourteen years old. Her parents made sure that she and her siblings had an active youth group to participate in while growing up. Through youth activities such as Lads to Leaders, Rachel became increasingly interested in sharing the Gospel with people all over the world. She was able to go to Laramie, Wyo., White Plains, N.Y., and Blairsville, Ga. to work with members of small congregations in the areas, presenting Vacation Bible School programs and completing service projects for the communities. She has also been to the Village of Hope in Fetteh, Ghana, West Africa two years in a row and to Honduras, Central America, working in orphanages and with medical clinics, passing out food and developing relationships with members of local congregations. Rachel is pursuing a degree in biology at Lipscomb with goals of becoming a pharmacist. She plans to continue participating in mission efforts, using her pharmaceutical skills to enhance her abilities to help the people she meets along the way.
CASEY BETH JACOBS, 2005-2006 Scholarship Co-Recipient
For Casey Beth Jacobs, “missions” is not just a job or a one-time opportunity; it is a lifestyle; a lifestyle she has chosen to pursue after being actively involved with Lipscomb’s missions program. Casey considers her time at Lipscomb a blessing and has spent considerable time with people who have not and may never have an opportunity to learn about Christ’s desire for their lives in a setting such as Lipscomb. Casey has participated in mission trips to Brandon, England; Newport, Wales and the United Kingdom, conducting studies for high school-aged students and helping with Bible schools and Bible camps. She desires to return to the UK every time she can between now and her graduation in December 2006. Then, she plans to move there for an indefinite period of time. She hopes to spend the rest of her life working in vocational missions.