OBUs mission states the university transforms lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ. For three teams of OBU students, January Term offered the opportunity to live out OBU's mission firsthand with trips to the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.
The international mission trips were sponsored through OBU's Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach. The trips ranged from 10 days to more than three weeks, with the first group leaving Dec. 31 and the last group returning Jan. 29.
The Middle East trip was led by Nursing Department faculty members Gerry Milligan and Wanda Robinson, both associate nursing professors. In South Asia, students worked with OBU's adopted people group, the Kai. The team was led by Josh King, a senior from Oklahoma City; Tram Nguyen, a sophomore from Bentonville, Ark.; and Dale Griffin, OBU dean of spiritual life. The Kenya team was led by Laura Wesevich, a sophomore from Bartlesville, Okla. and the OBU global outreach coordinator (the name is omitted for security purposes).
"We have stated goals of continuing to be the premier missions-sending university in the country and would like to see students fulfill the biblical calling of living holistic, mission-minded lives in whatever vocational role they end up in," the global outreach coordinator said.
The global outreach coordinator said OBU offers the outreach trips to allow students an educational experience in which their worldview is challenged, forcing them to understand the calling of Jesus Christ on every believer's life through actual experiences.
"Students should go (on the trips) so they can meet a strategic need and take what they are learning while students at OBU and apply it with a global perspective, while synthesizing those classroom experiences with true faith," the global outreach coordinator said.
Nursing students applied this concept on their trip to the Middle East. The School of Nursing offers a cross cultural health/nursing ministry course to students during J-term. While participants treated the psychical needs of the people, they also focused on their spiritual needs.
"Partnering with the GO program allowed us to keep a vision for spiritual service and growth in addition to the rigorous academic nature of the course," Robinson said. "The trip embodied the mission of OBU and why I am here, to 'transform lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ'."
The trip to the Middle East resulted in invitations for OBU nursing students to work in three different hospitals as well as opportunities for other students to engage in social work in the area, Robinson said.
Students on the trip to South Asia also engaged a diverse world firsthand. King met a pastor on the trip, and he heard the pastor's testimony of salvation. The pastor told him that Jesus came to him in a vision and caused him to turn his life over to Christ.
"More than anything, this trip has taught me that God is at work, even when we are not," King said. "As a senior at OBU, I feel it is my responsibility to encourage younger students to see the huge story of God."
For more information about how to become involved in future trips, contact the global outreach coordinator at 878-2372 or visit the Global Outreach Center in Montgomery Hall on the OBU campus.