Three spots remain for the 2018 Summer Mission Experience in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The Rev. Dr. Charles Neff, vice president for university-church relations, will lead a group of students, faculty and staff to Alaska this summer to participate in the Joshua Community Project. The project works with Fairbanks Rescue Mission and Habitat for Humanity to build small, 20-foot by 24-foot cabins for people in need of inexpensive or transitional housing in the Fairbanks area.
Participants will work on cabin construction, completing partially finished cabins and starting new ones during the five weekdays of the trip. They will stay on inflatable beds in the United Methodist Church of Fairbanks. The church will provide sleeping bags, sheets, towels, pillows, showers, breakfast, and dinner. Lunch will be provided by the rescue mission.
Excursions outside of the work include trips to Denali National Park and sites around Fairbanks, like the Museum of the North, which showcases Alaska’s history, wildlife and art, and the Chena Indian Village, a replica of an ancient Alaska Native village.
Neff has led OCU mission experiences before, but this will be the first trip to Alaska.
“This project is part of the Alaska Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church, one of only three Native American-related missionary conferences within the U.S.,” Neff said. “There’s one in Oklahoma, one in the Kentucky/Tennessee area and then Alaska. I personally enjoy construction-related projects, and I’m excited to introduce students to Alaska, since it’s a state not very many people get to travel to.”
Rachael Bachhofer, nursing senior, has gone on two mission trips through OCU and said she would encourage anyone who wants to travel to look into the trip.
“Both times were absolutely wonderful, but I really enjoyed the nursing trip because I learned so much about community health that no class could ever teach me,” Bachhofer said. “If you’re like me and can’t just take off for a full semester to study abroad, it’s still a great way to go and experience another culture, even if it is just for a week.”
With the help of grants from the Oklahoma United Methodist Woolworth Foundation, students, faculty and staff can register for the trip for $1,000. The cost covers the excursions, as well as the about 24 hours of travel. Family members also may attend for $1,500.
Maristella Gullo, business senior, said students should take advantage of the opportunity.
“People should totally sign up,” Gullo said. “Every experience is an adventure when it comes to traveling somewhere.”
Eleven of the 14 slots have been taken so far. The last three spaces will be given to the first three people who sign up and pay a $250 deposit. If the slots do not fill, the trip will continue with the current participants.
Neff sent a form and waiver, along with a flyer about the trip, to the campus community in a Nov. 20 email.
To sign up for the experience, students can complete the form or email Neff at firstname.lastname@example.org.