Briana Kuykendall, Student, Reflects on Time at DBU

Briana Kuykendall
Photo by: Amanda Penwarden

As part of the ShareDBU campaign, we wanted to hear directly from one of our students. Senior Briana Kuykendall shares here some of the impactful memories that shaped her time at DBU.

During her younger years, Kuykendall lived in several countries around the world which cultivated a love for international cultures. Such a love led her to become involved in DBU International Life, specifically the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), where most of her time was spent.

“Through OLAS, I met Melanie Diez and Lemuel Lara,” she explained. “Melanie’s parents are missionaries in Republica Dominicana with a Ministry called Palabra de Vida. In Spring 2017, Palabra de Vida organized a team of about thirty doctors, pediatricians, dentists, and oral surgeons from the U.S. to visit Dominicana. Melanie, Lemuel, and I traveled there to help translate for the team. It was such a tremendous experience. Over the course of a week, the team saw 1,706 patients and witnessed 468 people decide to follow Christ. I thank DBU for the networking opportunities that made that trip possible.”

Encouraging students to see their immediate circle, school, and city as a mission field has been a focus of mine.

After a tumultuous first year of college, Kuykendall surrendered her life to the Lord and He completely transformed her life.

“I originally came to DBU out of obedience to the Lord and a desire to honor Him with my education. I will leave here knowing that DBU’s integration of faith and learning was of utmost value to my life. At DBU, I have gained a host of experiences that have been helpful to prepare me for the future as a Christian leader in the workplace and in society.”

Kuykendall also served as a Resident Assistant in the campus dorms which provided another outlet to incorporate her passion for missions into her work.

“I have tried to do my best to unite both of the ministries I am involved with on campus and to connect the girls on my halls with international organizations and friends. I painted a sign that hangs above my door frame in my dorm room that reads ‘You are now entering the mission field,’ just like the sign in the Global Missions building.”

Kuykendall consistently sought to remind her peers that a mission mentality should not solely be reserved for international missions.

“Encouraging students to see their immediate circle, school, and city as a mission field has been a focus of mine. There seems to exist a mentality of safety in sharing one’s faith with people in faraway countries and a huge fear of sharing one’s faith with those one knows personally or who are like them. I believe missions should not be like this. I believe our lives should speak volumes to those around us, and I believe we should take seriously the great commission and that it does not apply only to vocational missionaries or those in full-time ministry. Encouraging students to share their Christian faith with people in their circles, rather than just hide behind evangelism on mission trips while never sharing with people they know or immigrants living in their country, has been a focus of mine.”

After graduation, Kuykendall is getting married and plans to work at Northwestern Mutual as an Assistant Financial Representative. Her influence on campus has left an excellent standard for students who will come after her.

Written by Becca Redmon

Becca served as a student worker for the University Communications division at DBU.