By Jonathan Soder, Features Editor
Earlier this year, students living in Agee Residency Center were welcomed back to campus by newly laid wood-panel floors, a fresh coat of white paint and new furniture.
As a part of the building-wide renovations, the lobby also received a touchup.
Where the front desk used to be, now several couches huddle up.
With the movement of the desk from the south room to what was formerly resident director Kyle Opskar’s office, the lobby was also left with two bare walls.
One of those walls is now being used as a “mission wall” in the hopes of encouraging the men of Agee in missional endeavors.
“It’s a physical representation of the heart in Agee we want to have to help men participate in missions,” Ladner said.
The idea is that the mission wall will steep Agee residents in a culture that view missions as a normal part of life, not an intimidating and individual task.
“[First, it’s for] guys who are coming in who are thinking mission trips about all the guys who are going to mission trips,” Ladner said. “They can look at all the ones who have gone in years past or semesters previous to them and be like, ‘Oh cool. Look at all these guys who have gone. I’m not a pioneer in this… I can talk to these people if I want to about these trips.”
Ladner said that another reason he proposed putting up the mission wall is to encourage those who are going on mission trips with the assurance that other Agee residents care about their endeavor.
“It also helps us, almost, keep them accountable…” Ladner said. “It’s a way to not just talk about missions but actually remind ourselves and build that culture in Agee.”
The suggestion for the wall came back in mid-September, during GO Week.
Initially, Opskar said that he wasn’t sure what the wall should look like.
Then, director of global mobilization Dr. Joy Turner found out about the initiative and offered the GO wall, which was formerly in Montgomery Hall outside of the spiritual life office, for Opskar and Ladner to utilize.
Now, the two large pallet-walls sit in the Agee lobby, awaiting photos from GO trips to come to be hung, pinned or otherwise attached
Ladner said that the prominence and noticeability of the pallets is an important aspect of having a mission wall to keep Agee residents accountable to the communal heart for missions. Also, it’s a way to build a legacy.
“This makes a statement,” Opskar said. “This, you walk into the lobby and you see it, so it’s going to grab your attention, especially once we start putting photos on it and stories. The hope is that guys will read those and the Lord will guide and direct people to go.”
The missional heart of Agee which Ladner and Opskar hope to bolster is a recent development Opskar said.
“It’s something that’s been developing over the last couple years,” Opskar said. “I know I have a heart for missions, and over the past couple years we’ve had a lot of guys who have been m[issionary] k[ids], or they themselves just have a heart for the nations, on staff and in the building. That’s provided a lot of opportunity to just springboard off those guys and their hearts and their desire for the gospel to be made known.”
In regard to the blank walls in the lobby, Opskar said there was little consideration for using them for anything else. Once the TV was hung, no other proposition came up to rival what both Opskar and Ladner said is an important addition to Agee’s lobby décor.
For Agee residents going on GO trips, an email from Opskar can be expected. However, for those participating in missions through an organization other than GO, he said that the only criteria to get on this board is to go on a mission trip.
“The goal isn’t to limit who’s up there or to be selective on who’s up there,” Opskar said. “The goal of it is, we just want guys to see that guys are going. So, whether that’s through OBU, whether that’s through something, whether that’s through their church, if you’re going, man, let’s get it out there.”