Harding University at Tahkodah (HUT)
A Missionary Training Village
Nestled in the forest on the opposite side of the road from Harding camp Tahkodah is emerging one of the university more exotic campuses, a hands-on training ground for practical Christian service.
The facility is used each May as the location for the Development Ministries course Harding offers each spring during intersession. Labeled BMISS 388, this three credit hour course combines a modest amount of academic instruction together with a large amount of hands on experience in Development issues.
During the rest of the year, the village is available for one and two day visits by missions interested groups. Youth groups, missions committees and even adult Sunday School classes can find at HUT an experience with significant educational value for their members.
HUT contains a diverse worldwide sampling of housing representing the living conditions of many of the poor of the world. Mud huts typical of an African compound are situated a few hundred yards from the Latin American adobe brick house. Several hundred yards further in other directions is an Appalachian shack, an Asian stilt house, and a slum house, typical of many slums in urban areas of the developing world. In the center of these compounds is an economic center and community administration area.
A similar training ground near Perryville, AR called the Heifer Project has been used by Harding for several years for a two week course in global literacy. However, instructors of the course, Monte Cox and Jerry Myhan, seeing the great educational value of such a facility, began working for Harding to build its own demonstration village closer to home and one that could be better used for Christian training. The spacious forest area of camp Tahkodah, 40 miles from Searcy was chosen, and the project was begun in the year 2001.
Missionaries in the developing world are often faced with poverty and suffering unlike anything they have experienced in North America. But while they have been schooled in how to preach and teach, many are not prepared or equipped for the overwhelming problems and cultural realities of the foreign peoples to whom they go to serve. It is also true that many governments are increasingly reluctant to allow foreigners into their countries as simply religious workers. Such governments demand that missionaries also offer some practical help to their people before they will issue visas to work in their country.
The HUT training village provides an excellent environment for introducing students to how most people live in the developing world and the problems they face. Instruction goes way beyond the novelty of sleeping in a mud hut or a stilt house. Students also are directed through a variety of economic and cultural learning games that will teach them about the day to day realities of life around the world.
One of the unique emphasize of training in the village is on helping students understand the basic mechanisms of life for people in the developing world. Many students who have grown up in an high-tech society like America, have never learned how the basic systems of life really work. Food production, water procurement, sanitation, energy, transportation are all systems that we take for granted at home but which may not exist or function well in developing country situations. Students who spend time at the global village will be introduced to how these basic systems of life work and appropriate technology so that they not only can cope with conditions they might encounter, but also so that they might help others in Jesusâ€™ Name.
Such an education is valuable, not only for those studying missions at Harding but for anyone who wants a better understanding of the world outside the United States. Therefore HUT welcomes inquiries from interested churches, sister institutions and schools on how the campus might be useful for training their members.
For more information on bookings at HUT, contact Oneal Tankersley or call (501) 279-5138>