Sharing the Blessing: How One Couple Is Providing College Ministry for Generations
By Bonnie Shaw
For John and Bernadette (Bernie) Haschke, a paraphrase of Luke 12:48 is meaningful: We have been greatly blessed and desire that others be blessed by coming to faith in Jesus Christ. With this in mind, the Haschkes set up an endowment fund through the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) to support the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University.
Supporting BSM was an easy decision for the Haschkes, and they have had many connections with student ministry over the years. Both had seen the impact that college ministry could have on students during their own time in college. Bernie served as a summer missionary to California when she was a student at Georgetown University, and John realized the importance of outreach while he was a student at Tech and S.L. Harris was the director of the then Baptist Student Union (BSU). John saw the need for students to interact and minister to people with whom they would not normally come in contact. During his time as a professor, John was the faculty advisor for the University of Michigan's BSU.
John and Bernie became involved with the student ministry at A&M after moving to College Station eight years ago. A relationship with the BSM developed as they came to know the director, Joel Bratcher, who teaches their Sunday School at FBC College Station. They saw the desire of Joel's heart to involve A&M students in leading foreign students to Christ and preparing them to return as missionaries to their home countries. After Bernie and John were involved with the program to build a new BSM at Tech, they learned that a similar effort was being led by Director Jeff Kennon.
Serving a Foreign Mission Field
The Haschkes loved that BSMs were able to spread the Word to students from many different countries without leaving their college campuses.
"When you're at a place like A&M or Tech, you have people from around the world coming to you. If they come to faith in Christ, then they are prepared to go back as Christians and share their faith. For us, that was one of the positive effects we saw and wanted to support," John says.
Bernie agrees, adding, "This is really a foreign mission field."
Both universities have a variety of events designed to minister physically and spiritually to international students. A particularly meaningful Aggie BSM event for the Haschkes is the annual furniture giveaway day, where local churches partner with the BSM to give away free furniture and home supplies to international students trying to furnish their new homes. Contact information obtained at the giveaway is used for follow-up visits by BSM students and for invitations to Bible studies, free lunches and social events. The BSMs also give away Bibles in international students' native languages, a unique ministry that allows students to fully experience the Gospel.
A Gift That Keeps Giving
The couple were first connected with TBMF when they were contacted by John Halton, senior adviser for TBMF, about supporting the Tech BSM building program. College ministry was something that had been on their hearts for some time and they decided to work with Halton and TBMF to establish an endowment fund for the A&M and Tech BSMs.
"The Haschkes," Halton notes, "are making annual gifts to build their endowment to a certain level but are also doing something else very creative. Along with gifts to the endowment, they make additional gifts each year that each BSM can use now as if the endowment was fully funded and producing annual distributions."
This means that even though the Haschke endowment is not fully funded, the BSMs are already reaping the benefits as if it was complete. The Haschkes are also planning to provide additional funds to the endowment.
Halton says, "The Haschkes are combining four interesting ideas: First, they are building one endowment to support two BSMs; second, they are doing it over several years; third, they are making additional gifts that can be used annually as if the full distributions were being made from the endowment; and fourth, they are considering funding the endowment through their wills."
Among other things, the money the Haschkes provided allows the BSMs to purchase more Bibles in various languages. A Bible was given to a Japanese foreign exchange student, Ericka, who later gave her life to Christ. Even though she has returned to Japan, BSM students remain in contact with her and encourage her in her faith.
There are many stories like Ericka's coming out of the Aggie and Tech BSMs thanks to the Bibles that have been provided. The BSMs estimate that they reach students from between 20-30 countries each semester. To the Haschkes, this international gateway to the world was an important part of why they felt led to support the BSMs.
"When we saw the opportunities and the work being done at A&M and Tech, we realized they needed both prayer and financial support," John explains.
Blessings and Honor
In order to best meet the BSMs' needs, John and Bernie have not given specific instructions on how the endowment is to be used. Funds are simply marked for mission activity, with the specific use left to the discretion of each BSM director. Bernie explained that, in this way, the fund could continue being useful as the needs and ministries of the BSMs change. The funds could pay for resources, support Campus Missionary Interns or anything else that would further the mission of BSM.
For the Haschkes, being involved in this ministry is a natural response to the blessings that the Lord has given them. They are blessed by a legacy of continuing support for BSM ministries.
"God has really blessed us over the years, more than we could ever imagine," John says. "If we could even give back half of the blessings we've been given, that would be an honor. So, it's an honor to be a part of this."
For more information on giving through an endowment, please contact Bill Arnold at email@example.com or 214-828-5173.