Two Major LovesPosted by Paula Paine on April 29, 2014 in "Your OU" As a freshman in college, Janelle Bailey originally planned to major in music and vocal performance. Some advice from her father, Greg Bailey, and an inspiring teacher would eventually change that. Bailey first encountered Christian Studies professor Dr. Rich Menninger her first semester at Ottawa University while taking two of his classes. That is when the advice from her father sank in: “Take classes because you like them, whether it be the subject or the teacher,” he had told her.
After that, Janelle made the decision to take more classes from Dr. Menninger. “Doc is a gifted teacher and helps his students to think critically about their beliefs,” Bailey said. Around that same time, she also determined that there would likely be little progression in a vocal career while at college. Though she loves to use her gift and love for singing to glorify God, she felt that God wanted her focus to be somewhere else. Many college students in this position would be stuck. Bailey, however, decided to add Christian Studies and Ministry as a second major.
That decision complemented the extra-curricular activities that Bailey was already a part of. As the leader of SURGE, a campus drama ministry and outreach group, Bailey and other students get to share their faith throughout the community of Ottawa and beyond. “SURGE is such an awesome opportunity to serve with other believers, and the group is ingenious in their creativity as we write and perform skits together,” Bailey said. SURGE participates in rallies, helps lead worship at churches, attends various high school and middle school lock-ins, and is involved on campus by participating in Freshmen Orientation and Chapel services.
Bailey is also involved in a group called Captivating, which is a women’s Bible study open to all girls on campus.
“Janelle has a wonderful way of making people feel welcome and accepted,” said Campus Pastor Bud McCluney. “She exemplifies Christ in all that she does. I am glad she is here at OU and a part of the Campus Ministries program.”
As part of her music pursuit, Bailey is a member of the OU Choir, which went on tour to Italy in March. “This spring brought my first opportunity to travel abroad!” she said. “The trip to Italy was irreplaceable. I had seen pictures of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s ‘David,’ St. Peter’s, St. Marco’s, gondolas, and the waterways of Venice in textbooks or movies. I had sung countless pieces of music in Italian. But it wasn’t until this trip that these wonders became real to me, and most importantly, Italians – with their language, their food, their music, their likes and dislikes – became real to me.
“The experience gave me a furthering excitement at the idea of working with different languages. I can’t wait to go to India this summer and learn even more about the world we live in.”
Bailey will join approximately 10 other OU students on an extended study abroad trip to India this summer. (Learn more about that trip coordinated by student Cadence Ishmael here.)
Once her time at Ottawa University is up, Bailey may further her education in Christian studies by attending seminary and then combining her two loves and two degrees in some way. She is also considering working for Wycliffe Bible Translators, an organization that translates the Bible into secondary languages around the world and helps undeveloped countries establish a written language. “I love that ministry,” said Bailey. “I love lexical semantics, and I wouldn’t mind studying it in order to bring the Gospel to people across the globe.”
Ultimately, Bailey’s dream job is to be her best and use her God-given gifts and talents wherever God leads her.