By Anna Brewster, Assistant Faith Editor
While many students will be working at part-time jobs, camps or internships this summer, some OBU students will be scattered across the globe on GO Trips.
Over 100 students and 7 faculty and staff from Bison Hill will be travelling to San Francisco, Utah, Armenia, Canada, Ecuador, England, Germany, Mexico, Nepal, Switzerland, Uganda and Zambia.
The trips vary in length from two to four weeks, and occur throughout the summer.
“Most of the participants are going for the first time,” Director of Global Mobilization Joy Turner said. “Although we do have several returnees, we have one student who has been every year during her time at OBU, which is pretty amazing.”
A lot of preparation is required before undertaking one of these trips.
Each student and mentor attended ten weeks of orientation with subjects including conflict resolution, health and fitness, culture shock, safety and security and spiritual preparation.
For freshman psychology pre-counseling major Charissa, the session dealing with team conflict was her favorite.
“It helped me think realistically about how a team functions overseas,” Charissa said.
Freshman cross-cultural ministry major Lauren most enjoyed the session regarding culture shock.
“I am currently in an Anthropology class, so I had already learned about the topic, but it is so awesome to see God connecting classes and sessions that also connect to His will for my life,” Lauren said.
“It is a good reminder that even amid culture shock which is almost guaranteed to occur, God has prepared my team and me to glorify Him.”
Besides the orientation sessions, GO Trippers have had to set aside time to pray, meet with their teams, live a healthier lifestyle, read the Bible, research their destinations and fundraise.
For Charissa, being disciplined to pray about the trip has been the most difficult thing, she said. Lauren echoed this, also saying that it is difficult to remain diligent in studying the Bible.
“Preparing has really taught me the importance of responsibility and time management,” Lauren said.
Sophomore accounting major Daniel has been praying about his trip and is having others pray for him.
“The added stress that I feel is a part of the spiritual warfare in preparation for this trip,” Daniel said.
Sometimes a trip away from home can be unnerving, especially if it is the first time for someone.
Neither Charissa nor Lauren have ever been outside of the United States.
“The airport….. I find the whole idea of flying absolutely terrifying,” Charissa said.
But for both Charissa and Lauren, the idea of seeing another culture is exciting.
“Since this is my first trip out of the country, I look forward to learning about a different culture and learning to share… with those of a different culture,” Lauren said.
Sometimes for families, the idea of their student going out of the country can bring about some anxiety, but it can also be beneficial.
“My family is very supportive and excited for me…” Lauren said.
“However, of course they are also worried because I will be so far from home. I think this will be a good experience not only for me to trust in God’s will, but for them to trust Him and start allowing me to serve overseas.”
Charissa, on the other hand, has been teased about a stowaway for her trip.
“My family is so excited, in fact my mom was so excited that when she found out where I was going she asked if she could fit inside my suitcase so she could come with me to see Switzerland,” Charissa said.
There will be many opportunities on the trips to use the skills each participant has for the glory of God.
“[I look forward to] using my Spanish,” Daniel said, as he will be going to Ecuador.
While there are any number of reasons someone may have for travelling to another country, Daniel, Charissa and Lauren are of the same mind for their reasoning: to serve God and be obedient to his will.
“I follow the idea of ‘go until God says no,’” Daniel said. “It is not that I felt a strong calling to go, but rather that it is what I should do as a Christian.”
“I want to spend my life serving God through local and Global Outreach…” Lauren said. “If I can be used by God to change the heart of one individual, that will be worth the trek.”
Even though these students have yet to embark on their trips, they recommend the GO Trip experience to other students.
“To any student who feels the call to go, but is too terrified by the whole process, I just want you to know that you need to just do it,” Charissa said. “Trust God with the whole thing. He is faithful.”
For Lauren, one piece of advice sticks out as most important.
“‘Do not have any expectations other than glorifying God,’” Lauren said. “That really changed my entire outlook. God has a plan so much better than anything we can imagine, so we must only trust Him and prepare our hearts to speak His truth!”
*Last names have been excluded for the safety and security of the students, mentors, and local workers of the cities and countries being visited.