Faith, love fuel global travel by alum

by SARA MARSHALL//Editor-in-Chief

[Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing project in conjuction with the South Plains College Alumni Association. The project highlights former SPC students and their achievements.]

With love in her heart and faith in her soul, Mollie McMeans is working on changing the world.

Growing up in the little town of Gail, population 231, McMeans lived the true smalltown life.

“Life was slow and sweet,” McMeans said. “I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. So I grew up with a real sense of community.”

This sense of community eventually inspired her to pursue an education at South Plains College in the Fall of 2014.

“It was the best option for me, for multiple reasons,” McMeans said. “The class sizes were small, it’s affordable, and the professors were great.”

While attending SPC, McMeans achieved many honors. She made the Dean’s List, and also received a Christian Leadership award alongside her best friends that she had made while at SPC. During the Fall 214 semester, she participated in the SPC Miss Caprock Scholarship Pageant and won the prestigious title.

“SPC does such an amazing job at setting students up for success,” McMeans said. “So the accomplishments I achieved here can all be accredited to the professors and staff.”

By the end of the Spring semester in 2015, McMeans had transferred to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, where she is currently studying Speech-Language and Hearing sciences.

“I hope to become a Speech Pathologist and work with children,” she said. “I love people, and speech pathology enables you to work with all types of people from different walks of life. So I love the freedom in that.”

When not attending college during the summer months, McMeans participates in faith-based mission trips around the world.

During the summer of 2015, she traveled to Central Asia to teach English to college students.

“We spent most of our days hanging out with them playing soccer and taught the classes at night,” McMeans said. “The poverty level there is a lot higher than the U.S. So we saw a lot of things that changed our perspectives.”

This past summer, McMeans gave up a month of her summer to travel to the Middle East. While there, she was faced with a vastly different culture than her own. She was given a strict dress code consisting of covering her ankles and elbows, as well as wearing a head covering in some parts of the country. She found the people she encountered to be the best part of the trip.

“The Middle East trip was intense,” McMeans said. “The people there are amazing and so sweet. We got invited into peoples’ homes often. We spent the entire time building friendships and hanging out with Muslim women. The culture was so hospitable, and I love them so much.”

Despite the illegality of Christianity in the Middle East, McMeans shared her religion happily and willingly. She could not name any of the countries she had been to due to security reasons. Many of those she met during her trip did not know she was there on a mission trip.

“I think that Jesus said it best when He said that there is no greater love than laying down our life for others, just as He did for us,” she said. “The hope of the Gospel is worth being shared at any cost. It’s estimated that 2 billion people have never been exposed to the story of Jesus, and if telling them and loving them means going to places that are unstable, it’s worth it. I’m from one of the least populated counties in Texas, and never in a million years did I think I’d go to the Middle East and become best friends with a group of Muslim women. But I’m so thankful it happened.”

When asked what others who might be interested in going on a mission trip should expect, she advises future missionaries to expect the unexpected.

“Nothing ever goes as planned,” McMeans said. “Being in countries with different languages and cultures is confusing, and honestly you just have to go with the flow and make the most of your time.”

Whether it’s through continued mission trips or helping children develop their speech, McMeans plans to continue to use her heart and faith to make the world a better place, one decision at a time.

“The Lord is so sweet, and we often forget that His purpose for us is to love,” McMeans said. “In John 15:12-13, Jesus says, ‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ We are each loved so tenderly and fiercely; tenderly in that our Creator sent his son Jesus as a sacrifice to cover our mistakes, fiercely in the way that Jesus defeated death, and that, as believers in Jesus, we defeat death in his name. I spent so long caring about only political, social, or personal issues, when my sole purpose is to love like Jesus does. That’s what being a Christian is about.”

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