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Texas Baptists guest speakers bring wisdom to students at ETBU

September 25, 2020

Two Texas Baptists representatives Jane Wilson, Discipleship Specialist, and Gus Reyes, Director of the Christian Life Commission, visited the East Texas Baptist University campus in September. Wilson was the keynote speaker during chapel and special guest lecturer during the “Empowering Women” Student Leadership Luncheon on Wednesday, September 16, where she had the special opportunity to extend her conversation and personally encourage female students to embrace their spiritual leadership to positively impact people for God.

“The people who leave the most indelible fingerprints on our lives are the ones who intimately know Jesus,” Wilson shared. “The first characteristic is a person who leaves his or her fingerprints on others is a person who knows Christ intimately. They are different. It’s not that they know about the Bible or know about the Church, they know Christ.”

During the luncheon, Wilson encouraged those in attendance to be a Christ-like influence on the lives of everyone they encounter. She shared that several qualities, such as one’s character, humility, and convictions, enable a person to earn the right to influence others.

“After attending this luncheon, I will be more aware of my influence on those around me and know that I should shine Christ’s light to the strangers down the road and those near and dear to my heart,” freshman Hannah Hayes said. “Jane Wilson’s message was so profound because we often try to impress in worldly standards when we should be working hard to show others Godly standards.”

On Tuesday, September 22, East Texas Baptist hosted a special dinner led by Dr. Gus Reyes, the Director of the Texas Christian Life Commission, for Hispanic pastors from the East Texas region during Hispanic Heritage Month. In addition to speaking to ETBU students, Dr. Reyes desired to fellowship with local Hispanic pastors and foster a community of support as a featured chapel speaker for Thrive, ETBU’s Quality Enhancement Program centered on mentoring in a thriving community.

“Our God is a God that can overcome obstacles,” Reyes said to local pastors. “Don’t let obstacles get in the way of a vision or a dream. The Bible says to be ambassadors of Christ. What kind of ambassadors are we if we can’t strategize, if we can’t think, we can’t compete? Here, we get a handle on how to be ambassadors for Christ. God has given you a testimony and a message. I hope that you realize what it is, and that you leverage it and use it.”

ETBU also sponsored a Hispanic Student Leadership Luncheon on Wednesday afternoon, where Dr. Reyes empowered Hispanic students to be bold leaders for their community and to understand the differences their unique voices can make in the world.

“Dr. Reyes taught me that even though we are young, college students have a voice,” senior Andrea Rincon said. “He inspired me because he is Hispanic himself with a Ph.D., and that gives me hope and inspiration to further my education. My goal is to have a positive impact in my community and in Hispanic ministry.”

Throughout the Fall 2020 semester, ETBU is hosting a series of student luncheons, each open to varying groups of students that feature fellowship, a meal, and a challenging message from that day’s chapel speaker. The luncheons were established to foster increased opportunities for engagement, student leadership development, and multi-cultural understanding.

“ETBU supports student leaders in a variety of ways, this year we have implemented weekly luncheons with guest speakers like Mrs. Jane Wilson and Dr. Gus Reyes to encourage our students in their leadership empowerment and to broaden diverse perspectives on leadership in today’s culture,” Director of Residence Life Desirae Bradley said. “Mrs. Wilson challenged all of our ladies to look, act, and speak more like Christ. As Christians, we should strive to look and act like Jesus every day. Mrs. Wilson’s story challenged me to think of ways I can better reflect the character of Christ.”