By Heather Mead
Missions in Action added four new mission trips this year Los Angeles, Papua New Guinea, Indianapolis and a combined trip to Australia and New Zealand.
One of the first trips is to Indianapolis during spring break. The team will serve at Shepherd Community, an inner-city ministry.
“They will do inner-city work with the youth, preschoolers to high schoolers,” said Jennifer McClellan, Missions in Action Director. This includes helping the younger children in the classroom and the older students in an afterschool program.
The group will also help with grounds-keeping and outreach in nearby communities to minister to the “urban poor,” McClellan said.
The Los Angeles trip will also take place during spring break, but is strictly for men.
The trip’s focus is to help form the participants into men of God.
“We need to encourage our men to be men, lead lives of integrity and to stand up for who they are,” said Jorge Bonilla, group leader and Olivet retention coordinator.
The men will work either in the inner city of Los Angeles or in a smaller community.
“They’ll be at Joshua Tree National Park,” McClellan said. “There’s a small city nearby where they’ll do community outreach and construction.”
The team’s focus is also on individual spiritual growth.
“We will connect with God through nature [by] climbing, camping and repelling,” Bonilla said.
The two-week trip to Papua New Guinea and the six-week trip to Australia and New Zealand will both begin in May.
Nursing majors are encouraged to participate in the Papua New Guinea trip.
“[The nursing majors] will go with Dr. Mike Pyle and do work in the hospital there,” McClellan said. “The other students who aren’t nursing majors will do any work needed.”
This work may include construction or working with the youth.
The Australia and New Zealand trip is one of three MIA Ambassador trips, which means it will be longer and more demanding than other missions.
The goal of the trip is to build the church by drawing people in and providing encouragement to the existing leaders and members.
“We may be helping to build and strengthen the relationship between the Nazarene youth and youth in the community,” said Samantha Allen, group leader and resident director of McClain Hall.
Though each trip has a different goal, they were all deliberately chosen for this year.
For instance, Olivet received invitations to send students to Australia and Papua New Guinea. The University has also developed a relationship with the ministry of Shepherd Community in Indianapolis.
“If it is the right time and place [to go on a mission trip], the money is not the question,” said McClellan. “Everything will fall into place.”
To get involved, students may fill out an application for the country they are interested in on MIA’s website at programs.olivet.edu/mia. Students will be notified in two weeks whether or not they are accepted.
McClellan hopes that Olivet students will grow while on these mission trips.
“I want their minds and hearts to be expanded,” she said. “[I want them] to be global Christians, whether they go and serve or stay here and serve.”