A fresh chapter begins for ORU’s Missions and Outreach department with new Director Augustine Mendoza. Mendoza says the strong system already in place will remain established as the department is experiencing some changes with the departure of former director Bobby Parks. The department is launching an exciting year of mission trips and local outreaches focused around the theme “Where’s My Ground?” Students are encouraged to get involved with the program.
“The most practical way that they can jump in right away—and this can be from a freshman, all the way to a senior—is they can jump into outreaches that start Saturday,” Mendoza said. “Those are outreaches that happen all throughout the week usually after classes finish for the day, and there’ll be a schedule up here pretty soon.”
Signing up is the first step to being part of the missions and outreach family. Students who sign up for missions and outreaches are carefully placed on specific teams. The selected outreach is revealed during the fall semester, and then outreaches start to occur weekly at the organization where the student is placed.
“You come to a big team. It’s on a Tuesday night, and we build it up, talk about the vision for the year, and we do this mystery scavenger hunt to find out what team you’re a part of. It’s not just like, reading names off a list. It’s very fun, very new,” Mendoza said.
A similar event is held to reveal the missions teams for the year, continuing the theme as missionaries discover their destinations, leaders and team members. Students are promptly given information to begin preparations for their mission trip. The department provides stamps to students as they prepare fundraising letters, which will be mailed at a stamp party.
“We had someone send 200 letters last year, and we got stamps for all of them. We definitely help them send letters out because we have found that’s the most appropriate way for people to get funds,” Mendoza said. “They can work events like in the Mabee Center, and the money that they raise from that can go to their trips and then we just give them creative sheets and ideas, links to websites, different creative fundraiser that we’ve seen.”
The vision for this year’s missions and outreach encourages students to consider these questions: Where’s my ground? Students can become part of a diverse and purposeful community in choosing to take part in missions and outreach programs.