While students head to the beach or to the mountains, other Oklahoma Christian University students are devoting their spring break to serving others through mission work.
Traditionally, local churches provide students at Oklahoma Christian with spring break mission trip opportunities. This year is no different, as both Memorial Road Church of Christ and Edmond Church of Christ prepare for their respective trips.
Memorial Road Campus Minister Hudson Hutchinson said their group usually does mission work in San Antonio, TX, but decided to focus their efforts on local needs this year. He said the goal is to form relationships with people in the community and show them God’s love.
“This is the first time in seven years we haven’t gone to San Antonio to work with Habitat for Humanity,” Hutchinson said. “Jay and I both wanted to do something local because I think we always want to do missions somewhere else instead of where we’re at.”
After exploring opportunities, Hutchinson said they decided to partner with Capitol Hill Elementary School to repair their building. He said the team will repaint the cafeteria, patch holes in the walls and paint murals.
“This spring break we’re going to do a whole bunch of projects at Capitol Hill,” Hutchinson said. “The projects are intended to bring some love and life into that school that would hopefully in the future create a good relationship with the Capitol Hill Elementary and the Capitol Hill Church of Christ.”
Hutchinson said the Memorial Road mission team will spend three days working in the community followed by three days on a retreat in Colorado, to finish the week with rest.
“The trip is going to be a good trip of work and rest, which I think is needed for especially college students who have had a long semester so far,” Hutchinson said. “You need to rest, you need to take care of yourself, but at the same time we know we’re not called to just ourselves.”
Edmond Church of Christ Campus Minister Evan Burkett said their mission team is continuing their traditional spring break trip this year. He said the college ministry has worked both in Mexico, and most recently, McAllen, TX, over a span of 27 years.
“Edmond has taken a college spring break trip every year since 1990,” Burkett said. “We’ve done over 25 trips to Mexico, and this will be our fourth year to work in the Texas, border-town of McAllen.”
Burkett said they work with full-time missionaries to serve the communities in several different ways to benefit a large number of people.
“Every year, we serve members of the church, their families and their neighbors by painting houses, doing roof replacement and repairs, other small repair projects, providing care packages and doing a VBS under a tent in one of the neighborhoods,” Burkett said.
Burkett said this trip draws a large response from both college and high school students. He said students should seize the opportunity to grow, mature and build relationships while their schedule allows them to.
“This year we are taking a group of about 100 college students, high school students and their families,” Burkett said. “There’s probably not going to be another time in their lives where their schedule is as flexible and free as it is during college.”
Hutchinson said attending a spring break mission trip is the perfect opportunity to find an outlet within a college ministry. He said the friendships created can make a large group feel much smaller, making it easier to get involved.
“I think you need to go on at least one spring break trip,” Hutchinson said. “I’m not saying it’s going to change your life, but I do think it will change your church life. I think there is a correlation between people who go on spring break trips and people who are involved in campus ministries.”
Senior Brenna Buxton said she is returning this year to McAllen, TX, with the Edmond church, after previously attending the same trip her freshman year. She said she is most excited for relationships to form between participants and the communities they serve.
“There is something so special about relationships that come from serving our God and His people together,” Buxton said. “Whether we form those relationships and grow close with the people we are there to serve or the people we are serving with.”
Buxton said mission trips are the ideal way to spend spring break. She said it is not only fun, but also allows students to share Christ’s love through work, gifts and encouragement.
“I can’t think of a better way to spend break than serving God alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ,” Buxton said. “Most importantly, you get to make a positive difference in the lives of people and love them as Christ does, even if only for a short while.”