Mindy and Travis Stewart are missionaries who had plans to begin their work in Jinotega, Nicaragua this summer. However, due to struggles in the country, they were not able to begin their work there until September. After their trip, living at Baxter, interacting with the students, and studying Spanish for one month here, they wrote these words:
“As the crisis unfolded in Nicaragua over the summer Mindy & I had to reconsider our plans for the month of August. Knowing that it was still not safe to travel to Jinotega, we decided to explore our options for Spanish language schools. Several programs were recommended to us in Costa Rica, Guatamala and Panama and we struggled with the decision on which one to choose. We solicited input from Benny and he suggested we contact you [Steve Teel] about the classes at Baxter that other North Americans had been through in a similar situation. After our initial conversations, Mindy & I discussed & prayed about it and ultimately decided that Baxter was a door the Lord was opening for us.
Our thought process was something like this… We knew OF Baxter but we really didn’t know what you were about. Being new to Missions, we felt that in addition to learning Spanish we’d be exposed to the work you do in preparing students to take the Word all over Central and South America and the Caribbean. As it turns out, in our five weeks there we met & became friends with families and young men who we’ll likely be close to the rest of our lives.
The two hour/day classes with Blanca [a local Spanish tutor] were intense. She was patient with us over our four weeks of class but didn’t let us slack on our assignments. We became great friends, we learned a solid foundation of the language and by our last two days we were able to have basic conversations in Spanish. I appreciate your decision to have us live in the married student apartments as those families shared their lives with us, loved on us and laughed with us as we tried to conjugate verbs in every way but the right way.
Again, we feel confident that this was where the Lord wanted us to be and we’re grateful for the relationships we have from our time at Baxter.”
Mindy and Travis are two of many people who come to Baxter to find that it is not just a school, but it is a community. A home for the students who come to study, and a safe place for people who visit where they can build relationships and learn about the language and the culture through first-hand every day experiences. What they experienced was just another layer of Baxter and who we are as a Christian Institute- hospitality, culture, community, and students that change lives and love others in the name of Christ.