POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — A group of College of the Ozarks students, faculty, and staff spent time serving others in Belize the week of Nov. 11-21, 2017.
This trip continues the College of the Ozarks investment in rural Belizean communities through medical, educational, and pastoral training initiatives. One group of students focused on community health, while the other focused on education.
The group consisted of the following C of O students, faculty, and staff:
- Eric Bolger, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College
- Andrew Bolger, campus minister
- Sheryl Haile, professor of psychology
- Kerry Moore, assistant professor of education
- Grace Rahmoeller, senior elementary education major
- Shelby Davenport, senior English education major
- Sadie Selby, junior psychology major
- Bethany Renyer, senior elementary education major
- Phillip Dunger, senior biology major
- Kinsey Vogt, senior nursing major
- Raine Prather, senior nursing major
- Logan Breer, junior accounting major
- Shane York, junior early childhood elementary education major
- Ridgley Harless, sophomore video production major
Over the course of the trip, the group led Bible lessons at Billy White Primary School as well as workshops teaching students and parents how to make affordable hygienic supplies such as toothpaste and hand soap. The group also continued the College’s pastoral initiative at Oasis of Blessing Church where faculty and students hosted mens and women’s conferences. During these conferences, the students facilitated small group discussions concerning identity, challenges to the Belizean’s faith, and the commonality of our God.
Bolger said this trip opened his eyes to the impact they have on the Belizean community.
“I realized while there that the Belizean women and men we work with in the rural villages have become family to us,” Bolger said. “Their willingness to support, encourage, and provide for their communities through the Gospel of Jesus truly inspires me and serves as a model for our community. It is truly amazing that within their communities the mute gain the ability to speak, Maya shaman come to faith in Jesus, and Christ is fervently worshipped. Following our Belizean partners’ lead, we will continue to follow Jesus, sharing who He is with all women and men.”
Davenport said the women’s conference was the most impactful time during this trip.
“We had women from the community come to a church service about how God created us to bear His image and flourish in Him. Hearing women from Belize talk about the same struggles I deal with helped me realize that we aren’t all that different,” Davenport said. “I was surprised by how joyful the people we visited were. They live without so many resources and belongings, but they have so much joy and trust in the Lord.”