Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

OCU- Students spend winter break on international missions


Trey Trousedale reads “The Giving Tree” to village children against the backdrop of the Belizean rainforest.
Winter break lasts three weeks for Oklahoma City University students and, since 2014, a distinctive purpose has emerged for those days: OCU’s winter break mission trip.
During the most recent break, over two dozen students, faculty, and staff members spent a week serving in mission in the village of Camalote, Belize.
OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing sent 12 students, under the guidance of professors Pam Boeck and Janice James. The nursing team staged free health fairs, volunteered at a pregnancy clinic, met with local healthcare professionals, toured hospitals and clinics, and performed house calls.
Charles Neff, vice-president for OCU’s University-Church Relations, along with Kelsey Ricks of the Oklahoma Conference’s Project Transformation staff, led a team of 11 students and one staff member in construction work and a literacy effort. The team worked mornings building shutters for a primary school and spent afternoons leading a literacy camp for children ages 3 to 11. The camp attracted 60-70 village children each day.
For several team members, this was a return trip. Leaders James and Ricks and nursing student Rachael Bachhofer had made previous trips as participants.
Rev. Dr. Neff said, “Belize has been a great destination for OCU students. It is a developing country with a lot of need, it is only five hours away (by plane), and they speak English. This creates low barriers for participation and allows students to receive a full immersion experience — no translators needed.”
Generous grants from the Woodworth Estate helped keep costs low for participants, he said.
OCU plans to return to Belize next January and continue the work in Camalote, which is just outside the capital city of Belmopan.

Left:Members of the construction team assemble new shutters for St. Jude Primary School in Camalote Village.

Right:OCU student nurses cuddle an infant.

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