Volleyball, women’s basketball teams partner with Samaritan’s Purse to gather donations for Operation Christmas Child


Jaylin Stapleton/ The Bison

Top: Teammates from both the volleyball and the women’s basketball teams partnered with Samaritan’s Purse last week to collect, pack and decorate boxes for Operation Christmas Child.


Jaylin Stapleton

Contributing Writer

Oklahoma Baptist University volleyball and women’s basketball teams partnered with Samaritan’s Purse and collected gift and donations from fans at their games Tuesday, Nov. 12 to donate to Operation Christmas Child.

The following morning, members of both teams helped pack the gifts in shoeboxes and decorated them to send to underprivileged girls.

Shawnee resident and Operation Christmas child volunteer Dora Row helped organize Girl’s Night, collect the donations and send the shoeboxes to girls across the world.

“I’ve been volunteering and helping with operation Christmas child for almost 25 years now,” Row said.

Row first began helping with Operation Christmas Child in 1995.

“I first started helping with operation Christmas child in remembrance of my son who passed away,” she said.

“I packed my first shoe- box in 1995 and have packed shoeboxes in memory of him ever since.”

Row was first introduced to the operation Christmas child project by a couple in Oklahoma City.

“There was a very influential couple in Oklahoma City and they were very dedicated to the ministry. They told me the benefits of children receiving their Christmas presents in these shoeboxes and how these gifts are the only Christmas presents they will receive,” Row said.

Row said she continues to pack boxes every year on her birthday with a group of friends, family and even sometimes strangers.

Instead of receiving birthday presents from friends and family, Row has a packing party she hosts at her house each year around her birthday.

“This year at my packing party, I think we packed over 1300 shoeboxes. We also packed over 500 soccer balls for older boys which I think they will really enjoy,” Row said.

Packing over 500 soccer balls for older boys this year was important to Row because older children don’t get as many boxes and sometimes aren’t as easy to pack gifts for as the younger children, she said.

“I think it is important to try and send as many boxes as we can to older children be- cause we can teach them and influence them more about Jesus,” Row said.

“They will learn and re- member more about Jesus through these boxes than the younger children.”

Girl’s Night is not the first event Row has helped organize at OBU.

“We have tried to collect different items at different sporting events at OBU. Once people learn how important and impactful these small gifts can be for children around the world, I think the donation numbers will increase even more,” Row said.

The volleyball and women’s basketball teams want- ed to help Row in her endeavors, and they helped pack and decorate the shoeboxes Wednesday morning.

“The girls on both teams took this on and did a great job helping us pack the shoeboxes,” Row said.

“All of them seemed excited and understood the importance of sending these gifts to children around the world.”

Members of both teams were excited to help make an impact on children.

“I really enjoyed packing the shoeboxes Wednesday morning and seeing all of the different donations our fans were willing to bring to our game Tuesday,” women’s basketball player and business major Kinsey Neiderer said.

Not only are many children impacted by Operation Christmas Child but the packing process also impacts the volunteers.

“Seeing all of the shoeboxes we packed for girls was very heartwarming,” she said.

“Knowing that the gift I packed might be the only Christmas present a little girl receives this year made me really think about how blessed I am to be surrounded by family and friends and celebrate Christmas every year,” Neiderer said.






OBU students commissioned for global service Nov. 15


Courtesy Photo/ Heather Hamilton

Students participating in trips gathered on the steps of the Raley Chapel stage during the service.

Press Release

OBU Marketing

OBU recently hosted its Global Outreach Commissioning service Friday, Nov. 15, in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium.

The University recognized students, faculty and staff who will be serving others across the world and throughout the United States during the month of January and over spring break, as well as students who will be studying abroad.

Bruce Perkins, associate vice president for enrollment management, delivered the message.


Perkins commended students who were planning to go, while also challenging students who aren’t going to consider going in the future.

“If you are going on a GO Trip [Global Outreach Trip], we are so proud of you,” he said.

“You are fulfilling our mission statement to engage a diverse world. However, students, I encourage everyone in this room who is or isn’t going on a trip to be in prayer and consider what God is calling you to do.”

Perkins told about a time when he was on a trip abroad and things did not go as planned, but instead of packing up and going home, his team listened to the Lord’s prompting and went a different way with their trip.

“If you aren’t going, pray for your fellow brothers and sisters,” he said.

“Pray that they will hear the Lord leading them while they are on their trip.”

Forty-nine students, faculty and staff will be traveling to nine different places around the world to serve in various ways.

These locations include Mexico, where students will lead a Vacation Bible School and engage local believers; the Amazon, where students will hike with local believers and sleep in hammocks; and Uganda, where students will equip local believers and engage in the culture.

Two students will also be travel- ing overseas in January and staying through the spring semester as part of OBU’s new global marketplace engagement major.

These students will travel abroad to study, work and experience ministry in another culture. Offered through the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry, this degree equips students with marketplace skills and ministry training.

The university also commissioned 46 students who are studying abroad in January.

These students will travel on two trips, one to Europe and one to Israel.

The European study trip will vis- it sights and learn about World War II, while the Israel trip is through the group Passages international.

Dr. Pat Taylor, OBU’s interim president, spoke at the end of the service, encouraging the students and praying over them.

He also challenged all students to consider going in the future, for the sake of their education, for the sake of ministry and for the sake of further developing a mature Christian worldview.

The commissioning service is part of OBU’s Global Outreach project, which sends Go Trips to various lo- cations each year. Students interested in participating in future Go Trips should contact director of global mobilization and professor of Christian ministry Dr. Joy Turner at joy.turner@okbu.





Christmas Chapel approaches Bison Hill, Dec. 4

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Courtesy Image / The Bison

Albert J. Geiger professor of finance Dr. Dan Reeder Emceed Christmas Chapel.

Vicki Coolidge

Assistant Arts Editor

It’s that time of year again. Christmas will soon be upon us, and you know what that means, Christmas Chapel is approaching.

Students, faculty, and alumni, all come together to celebrate this event together.

Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 10:00 a.m., the annual Christmas chapel will take place in Raley Chapel.

Singing and entertainment will be heard and seen at what many say is the best chapel of the year.

All the music groups on campus will perform. Christmas chapel will feature University Ringers, Bisonettes, Symphonic Winds, True Voice, Bison Glee Club, Bi- son Jazz Orchestra, University Chorale, and 519 Collective with the Gospel Choir.

“Most of the ensembles of the College of Fine Arts perform a Christmas work – some of these can be sacred, others might be secular. There is also an emcee (Dr. Dan Reeder) who interjects fun facts about student life during the Christmas sea- son,” Burton H. Patterson professor of music, and conductor of the Bisonettes, Dr. James Vernon said.

To be fully prepared for the performance, the groups start practicing early.

“We start Christmas music around mid-semester, so we spend a considerable amount of time and energy preparing for this and Hanging of the Green,” Vernon said.

One will hear many popular Christmas songs at chapel, but with a twist.

“We are singing an arrangement of “Sleigh Ride,” a favorite Christmas piece,” Vernon said.

All the classic Christmas songs and musical performances have been a tradition at OBU for many years.

In addition to the music performances, Christmas chapel includes a mixture of songs, videos, and comedic comments; all of which hope to leave audiences laughing, smiling, and getting into the Christmas Spirit.

” [Christmas Chapel] happened every year since I have been here (1990) and I know it went on years before that. Mr. Jim Brown emceed until his retirement in the mid-1990’s, when Dr. Reeder took over,” Vernon said.

Christmas chapel has been continued for several years with new people stepping up to lead the annual chapel service.

“This is my fifteenth year at OBU and I have been co- ordinating the musical side of Christmas Chapel for the last two or three years,” professor of church music Dr. Lee Hinson said.

Christmas chapel holds a special place in many OBU students and employees Christmas traditions and is one of the most highly at- tended campus events each year.

“[Christmas chapel] is a unique event and a very popular chapel. Potter Auditorium is generally full with students, prospective students and even some from the community. It is a time for humor, Christmas carols, and crazy video skits with maybe a little seriousness and worship thrown in,” Hinson said.

To stand out, interesting costumes are worn to show their Christmas spirit.

“The students who perform in Christmas Chapel wear all kind of things. One year a singer in the University Chorale poked a string of Christmas lights through a sweater and plugged them in when the Chorale sang,” Hinson said.

Showing their love for San- ta’s reindeers, many students channeled their inner animal and dressed up as one of the cute furry creatures.

“Reindeer antlers are also in abundance,” Hinson said.

Due to the exciting nature of it all, Christmas chapel is one of the most highlighted chapels all year. OBU values tradition, and the festive Christmas chapel tradition has been going on for many years.



How to help the homeless during cold weather seasons


Courtesy Photo/The Bison

Ariel thomas

Features Assistant

Think about home, wherever that might be. Most likely it has an air conditioner, a heater and a door with a lock. These are luxuries most people don’t think twice about.

Take a second though—imagine being homeless during this time of year.

While many think of winter as a time filled with fun and holidays, there are others who dread these cold months—for fear they may not make it through them.

According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, Oklahoma has an estimated 3,871 homeless people living here, and “[o] f this total, 327 were family house- holds, 313 were veterans 313 were unaccompanied young adults and 908 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.

How should Christians respond to this?

The Bible gives a good example in Matthew 25:34-40: “Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”


When Jesus lived on the earth, he focused on serving the poor, the crippled, the blind, the sick – all those who needed Him. So, for those who claim to be a follower of Christ, the goal should be to further that mission.

Here are two easy ways to help the homeless right here in Shawnee.

Volunteering at Family Promise is one way to help the homeless in the Shawnee area.

According to their website, fam- ilypromiseshawnee.org, their mis- sion is to: “Help families in need achieve self-sufficiency through volunteer-based mentorship. We strive to alleviate the trauma of homeless- ness and assist families in securing a stable home. Our mission is accomplished by providing a caring, dignified environment of overnight hospitality in church facilities, and by providing supportive services to help families become self-sufficient.”

On their website, there is more in- formation about donations needed and volunteer opportunities.

Another great way to help homeless people in the Shawnee are is to volunteer at the Salvation Army.

According to their website, salva-tionarmyusa.org, their mission statement is: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

There are several ways to get involved with the salvation army. Donating money, clothes or time as a volunteer are all things they need.

Most importantly—whether volunteering at one of these places or not—be kind to these people. Show them the love of Christ—treat them as Jesus would have treated them. Donate winter clothes or buy a homeless person a meal.

Just don’t let this upcoming holiday season pass by without blessing someone who really needs it.




Oval Christmas Tree Lighting to have music, food


Courtesy Photo/ The Bison

The Oval Christmas Tree Lighting has been an OBU Christmas tradition for decades. The event will include singing, music, fire pits, food, and contests.

Josiah Jones

News Editor

Christmas season is just around the corner.

One of many ways OBU will celebrate the holiday is the Oval Christmas Tree Lighting.

This year’s lighting will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 7 pm following Deck the Halls in WMU, which is at 5:30,” director of student ministry Clay Phillips said, who is coordinating the event.

The Christmas Tree Lighting is a longstanding OBU tradition.

“The Oval Christmas Tree Lighting is an event that started decades ago when a tree near Montgomery Hall (formerly located on the West side of the oval, north of WMU) was lit each year to mark the start of the Christmas season,” Phillips said.

“Today we carry on the tradition by dedicating the first Tuesday evening after Thanksgiving break to come together to light a tree on the oval.”

The lighting will be more of a party than a show.

“We will have fire pits, music, and refreshments including smores and hot chocolate. In the past, we have done a Tackiest Sweater contest, but this year we’re doing a gingerbread house building contest,” Phillips said.

“We will have teams of 3-4 students compete to build the best gingerbread house over a period of 15-20 minutes. We will have prizes for the top teams. So, be sure to bring friends and be ready to build to win!”

Phillips suggested attending the lighting is a good way to reduce stress during the week before Finals.

“The Lighting of the Oval is always a great time to take a break from work and school to celebrate the Christmas season and have fun with friends,” he said.



OBU finals week, graduation, moving out all approaching

exams courtesy OBU.jpg

Courtesy Photo/ OBU

Students in Tulsa Auditorium take notes to prepare for final exams.

Josiah Jones

News Editor

Final examinations beginMonday,Dec.9 at OBU, and for those graduating at the end of this fall semester, Commencement will happen that Friday, Dec. 13.

Finals schedule

According to OBU’s website, final examinations take place in four time slots Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday: 8:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.,10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., 1:00-3:00 p.m. and 3:15-5:15 p.m.

To avoid scheduling conflicts, classes are as- signed final exam times based on the time they meet. Students can find the entire schedule at okbu.edu.

Monday Dec. 9

English Composition, Western Civ, and Honors English all have their final at 8:00 a.m. Classes which meet from 3:30-4:45 Tuesdays and Thursdays are assigned to the 10:15 a.m. final exam time slot. Classes which meet from 12:30-1:45 Tuesdays and Thursdays are assigned to the 1:00 p.m. final exam time slot. Class- es which meet from 8:00-9:15 Tuesdays and Thursdays are assigned to the 3:15 p.m. final exam time slot.

Tuesday Dec.10

Classes that meet 11:00-11:50 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays have their final at 8:00 a.m. Class- es which meet from 12:00-12:50 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are assigned to the 10:15 a.m. final exam time slot. Classes which meet from 11:00- 12:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays are as- signed to the 1:00 p.m. final exam time slot. Classes which meet from 8:00-8:50 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are as- signed to the 3:15 p.m. final exam time slot.

Wednesday Dec. 11

Classes that meet from 1:00-1:50 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays have their final at 8:00a.m.Class- es which meet from 2:00-3:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays are assigned to the 10:15 a.m. final exam time slot. Classes which meet from 9:30-10:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays are assigned to the 1:00 p.m. final exam time slot. Classes which meet from 2:00- 2:50 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are assigned to the 3:15 p.m. final exam time slot.

Thursday Dec. 12

Classes that meet from 3:00-3:50 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays have their final at 8:00 a.m, and classes which meet from 9:00-9:50 a.m Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are as- signed to the 10:15 a.m. final exam time slot.

Life After College 

Professor of psychology and faculty advisor Dr. Canaan Crane offered some advice to students graduating this December.

“Take time to connect with the faculty in your area,” said Crane. “Many of them have connections and good guidance as you pre- pare to launch into career, graduate school or just life after college. I had great mentors who took time to give me advice that was critical to making the next steps successful.”

Crane advocated for finding joy and thank- fulness during what is often a difficult period of change for graduating students.

“I’d also encourage students to celebrate the closing of this chapter of their life,” Crane said. “Not that it’s an easy transition as there will always be grief and sadness but research shows that people who express gratitude have more positive experiences in life.”

Commencement Ceremonies

Commencement will begin 2 p.m. in Potter Auditorium, Friday, Dec. 13.

According to Interim President Pat Taylor, Dr. Heath Thomas, who will become OBU’s 16th president next semester, will deliver the commencement address.

The university will not confer any honorary doctorates or recognize any faculty this commencement, unlike Spring commencements.

“[Commencement] is a time when we all celebrate the accomplishment of our primary objective – graduating students,” Taylor said. “It is a time when we celebrate with student’s families. I’ve always said that Commencement day is my favorite day of the year.”






Swim & Dive honors Freas’ memory by training, succeeding

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Shay Morgan

Assistant Sports Editor

OBU’s men’s and women’s swim teams lost their be- loved head coach Sam Freas at the end of their 2018-2019 season; while they mourned his loss, they trained in his honor.

The Bison’s season kicked off against Rose State and many Arkansas competitors, against which they prevailed.

Their trip to the 52nd annual Hendrix Classic meet resulted in the women’s team taking first, and the men’s finishing in a close second.

They have done a lot of work in order to achieve these goals since the start of the semester.

“Our team currently does two practices a day except for Wednesday evening and Friday morning,” sophomore computer science major Jevonn Cobin said.

“In the mornings our team is split up into three groups. The distance group, the middle-distance group and the sprinters.”

The team divides them- selves into these “mini- teams” during training to get a distance-specific workout individuated for their skills/ needs (i.e. working to build more endurance or faster muscle reaction).

Their coaches tailor their workouts accordingly.

Since the loss of Freas, the swim team has alternately experienced both times of mourning and dedication to honor their former coach through hard work.

Not only do they want to have a season that would make Freas proud, they want to honor his loss with their success.

The swimmers honor and respect their new coaches, crediting them for meeting these challenges and focus- ing on producing a solid team who performs well.

“Our head coach, Matt Hood, and assistant coach, Josh Hansen, have been extremely helpful in taking a team still mourning the loss of Sam Freas, one of the greatest swim coaches to have ever lived,” senior natural science major Daniel Brown said.

The team believes their close-knit bond is what helped them to get through this difficult time and stay motivated. They rely on one another to support the team.

“During the meets you can feel the sup- port from the team. If someone is swimming, they cheer for you and encourage you,” sophomore marketing major Rosa Escalante said.

Not only do they swim for one another, they hope to beat their greatest rival as a team: overcoming the sense of loss in order to celebrate Freas’ impact.

“Team goals are clear and simple: beat the odds of losing our greatest and most valuable assets, Sam and Rosemary Freas,” said Brown.

The players strive to illustrate how Freas’ coaching and teachings lives on in his swimmers, and how his legacy will endure.

The team has established many goals in performance and consistency they hope to fulfill by the end of their conference season in February; they are training with those goals in mind.

“I am really pushing to maintain our position in conference and have a solid presence at nationals,” head coach Matthew Hood said.

“It is going to be tough with the team’s transition, but we can make it happen.”

This team focuses on the bond between teammates both in and out of the pool; they have learned to rely on one another.

“They have been very supportive to one another with different classes that they have and some of the life difficulties that have come up along the way,” Hood said.

This weekend both the men and women placed fourth in the Drury Invitational, collecting 12 top-five finishes at the meet, including 10 on the women’s side.

Come see these swimmers in action at their next home meet Jan. 11, 2020 in Shawnee and send your support to them on their Missouri Invitational they will be attending Nov. 20.