Students spend fall break serving, traveling

Oklahoma Christian and local Edmond congregations sent 18 vans of students, faculty and church members to Houston, TX during fall break to help with hurricane relief. Submitted photo.

Oklahoma Christian and local Edmond congregations sent 18 vans of students, faculty and church members to Houston, TX during fall break to help with hurricane relief. Submitted photo.

As students at Oklahoma Christian University finished their midterms and completed the first few months back to school, fall break seemed to come at “just the right time” for students, faculty and staff. From Houston to Chicago, the Oklahoma Christian community spent the break serving, traveling and spending time with family.

Dean of Students Neil Arter traveled to Houston along with multiple staff and students of Oklahoma Christian, the Memorial Road Church of Christ college ministry and the Edmond Church of Christ college ministry. Arter said the trip was eye-opening, because anyone could be in the same position as those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“Our experience in Houston this fall break has left me overwhelmed, but hopeful of the good I saw in others,” Arter said. “In a way, I think the most valuable support we offered was to try and lift up the workers that are in Houston everyday trying to help. The past two months have been tough for them as well. They seem really tired. Hopefully, we gave them a lift in their spirits.”

Arter said they experienced encouragement while surrounded by such a devastating situation.

“The distribution center at the West Houston Church of Christ is doing great work,” Arter said. “We worked on Friday to stock the center for their Saturday distribution. It was really encouraging to walk back in toward the end of the distribution and see so much of it gone, and in the hands of the people that need it.  The distribution center has some pretty good items, except for the canned apricots. We literally could not give those away.”

The Oklahoma Christian community is no stranger to Houston. Although faced with hard work, Arter said students took on the challenge with eager hearts and a willingness to serve.

“Over the years, a lot of OC students have served at the Impact Church of Christ in downtown Houston,” Arter said. “One of OC’s alums, Patrick Lemmons, is on staff with this ministry. On Friday afternoon, some of our group got to help re-roof the youth building at Impact, as well as help organize their distribution center. It was tough work, but it seemed like a natural fit for our students who already knew so much about the ministry.”

Although many Oklahoma Christian students were in Houston during fall break, several others took the opportunity to travel and spend time building relationships with family and friends.

Senior Allee Pipes traveled to Phoenix, AZ with senior Lydia Harlow for a short visit to see her family.

“This was a gift from my uncle as my senior trip, and since I’ve never been to Arizona before, I thought it’d be fun,” Pipes said. “My favorite part was definitely seeing the Grand Canyon. I had seen pictures before, but nothing compares to the real thing. It’s overwhelming how big it is and almost doesn’t seem real. It was very peaceful and was a great reminder of just how big our God is.”

Pipes said she sees fall break as an important time to “not think about school or stress.” She said senior year can be a tense time and these last few breaks tend to be ones for the record books.

“As a senior, I’m starting to view my time differently,” Pipes said. “I’ve always cherished my fall break trips. I haven’t gone to the same place twice, which makes for some really good memories. I think fall break is super important because it’s a good time to go places with friends. It’s a good, quick break right after midterms.”

Freshman Grace Goddard experienced her first fall break as a college student and said she enjoyed the quality time she was able to spend with her family.

“This fall break, I went to Chicago with my family,” Goddard said. “We drove all the way there and got to stop at different places such as the St. Louis Arch and Springfield, Illinois where Abraham Lincoln lived. One of my favorite parts of the trip was, while walking downtown on Michigan Avenue with my mom, we ran into the band LANY. I was really bummed I didn’t get to go to their show in Tulsa last month, so it was cool getting to meet them.”

Although her hometown is Edmond, OK Goddard said while in college, she rarely gets to experience quality time with her family, and this trip was time well-spent as they focused on their relationships.

“Chicago is a really cool city, so it was fun to get out of Oklahoma for a little bit,” Goddard said. “It was nice to set aside time to only be with loved ones this fall break. My family definitely made priceless memories together. Now that fall break is over, I feel energized to finish the semester strong.”

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