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Mission Work Calls Out of the Classroom, Into Mexico

Quick Facts

 Powley has been an instructor in the Richard W. Riley College of Education for eight years.
 She and her husband, David, and their two children, Ethan and Emily, will travel to Mexico in January to begin mission work.


ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — Melanie Powley couldn’t help a restless feeling overcoming her in 2011.

“I loved teaching, but I really wanted to do some type of full-time ministry work,” said Powley, a senior instructor in Winthrop University‘s Richard W. Riley College of Education. “I felt like I could be doing more.”

After reading the book “Radical” by David Platt, Powley had a realization: “Wherever you are, is your full-time ministry,” she said. “I don’t know who I’ve impacted while I’m here.”

Powley will see how much more of an impact she can make in January 2017, when she and her family—husband David; son Ethan, 8; and daughter Emily, 2—expect to indefinitely move to Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico for mission work through ABWE, an independent Baptist missions organization.

The move represents a culmination of her family’s faith and past mission work. Powley grew up in Rock Hill and attended Calvary Baptist. She completed past mission work in Russia, Portugal, Spain and across the United States throughout high school. Meanwhile, her husband, David, has also always been involved in the church and mission work. His aunt is a full-time missionary in Senegal, and his dad worked as a church planter and church camp director growing up. David now serves as youth pastor at Westerly Hills Baptist Church, where Melanie’s father has been a pastor for 25 years. The couple focuses on student groups and leadership development.

Powley earned her Bachelor of Science degree in family and consumer sciences from Winthrop in 2001 and taught high school for two years before returning to complete her master’s. After teaching at the high-school level for a few more years, she left the classroom to stay at home with her son. But a former Winthrop professor came knocking, and Powley returned to the university—this time as an instructor—eight years ago.

David announced he felt called to mission work in Mexico, where they will focus on church planting and leadership development.

“I didn’t set out to do mission work,” Powley said. “The opportunity just kind of landed there. ... The ultimate goal is to spread the gospel.”

Powley does feel a mix of sadness and excitement at leaving Winthrop, a place she loves so much.

“This was my dream, and to know I got to live it…that is exciting,” she said. “At the same time, you’re grateful you got to do something like that. When I received Christ as my savior, I realized this is a life-long long journey with Christ. We just want to be obedient to what he calls us to do. This is the next step in our life.”

To learn more about Powley’s upcoming journey and to lend support, visit their blog. You can also follow along on their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

For more information, contact Nicole Chisari, communications coordinator, at 803/323-2236 or

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