One of the core values of University of the Ozarks is “the service of all of creation,” and that driving principle was on full display during a recent mission trip to El Salvador by the student organization Rotaract.
Fernando Valenzuela has been on numerous mission trips in his young life, but nothing impacted him like the one he participated in with the student organization Alpha & Omega this summer in Guatemala.
Over Spring Break, members from the University of the Ozarks' Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) teamed up with students from other area universities to participate in Mission Arlington, a non-profit mission organization dedicated to community service in Arlington, Texas.
Alpha and Omega, a non-denominational Christian organization on campus, is famous for its major mission trips abroad every summer. However, the group also makes a positive impact every year a little closer to home.
Twenty-four members of the university's Alpha and Omega spent a week this past summer volunteering in Belize. The children and families they helped may have been in spiritual and material need, but it was the members of Alpha and Omega whose lives were changed.?
It was Ashley Teague's first trip out of the country, and she says it was like a trip to another decade. "Nicaragua is a beautiful place," she said, "but I was surprised to see donkeys and carts!"
Each summer, members of the university's Alpha & Omega organization travel to an impoverished community in another country, to spend a week volunteering in a place where help is badly needed.?But as the group's recent mini-mission trip demonstrated, one doesn't have to travel far, or even stay very long, to make a big impact in the lives of others.
Helping those in need can take you to some faraway places, but distance is not an obstacle to a group of Ozarks students who have gone for the past 14 years to help those in need hundreds of miles away.
The 2000 hit movie "Pay It Forward" popularized the concept of repaying generosity or altruism by having the person you've helped pass the favor along. Those familiar with the Walton Scholars Program, which brings students from Central America to three Arkansas universities, are familiar with how those students come here for their degrees and then return home to use what they've learned to help their own countries.
Clarksville, Ark. — "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." — James 2:15-17