Several mission trips in which all OCU students can participate are planned for March.
Students are able to pick from trips to New Orleans, other areas of Louisiana, or Dallas, as well as local mission efforts.
“Many of the trips are construction oriented,” said Charles Neff, vice president for university-church relations. “There are also opportunities for working with children, doing sports camp, Bible study camp, or Bible vacation camp.”
Mission trips are a good learning and cultural experiences, he said.
“It’s important for students to get involved in missions, because it opens participants up to a larger world and introduces them to people or places they may not have otherwise experienced,” Neff said. “It also helps to break down boundaries of race, economics, language and oftentimes religion.”
Several students took part in a mission trip to Belize during winter break, where they made close friends among team members and the locals, Neff said.
“It was my first time out of the country,” said Olivia Coil, religion junior. “The ability to be able to see how people live in a different culture and see how they experience God and how they worship was truly amazing.”
Madeline Boehlke, cell and molecular biology junior, also participated in the Belize trip.
“I wasn’t expecting the community to be how it was,” she said. “I was expecting it to be more isolated and poor, but it was great. The people we met were so nice, and I’m always just surprised at their generosity.”
OCU also has several local mission efforts planned throughout the year as well as an international trip planned for January.
The Wesley Center is taking part in a local mission trip the week of Spring Break. Students will stay on campus and there will be days to help different places and organizations throughout the city area.
“Mission trips are always nerve-wracking, and it’s good to be hesitant about going on them,” Coil said. “I would suggest to take the chance when you can because it’s a cheaper way to travel, and you can see the world. You also learn a lot about yourself when you’re helping others in a more meaningful way. ”
Neff said he keeps in contact with local churches and organizations to keep an up-to-date list of upcoming local and international service trips that students can participate in.
“There are always opportunities available,” Neff said. “I would encourage students who are interested to contact me or the Rev. Rodney Newman.”
Students interested in participating or looking for more information should contact Neff at firstname.lastname@example.org or Newman at email@example.com.