Ozark Mission Project celebrates 30 years, commissions summer staff

Worshippers extend a hand toward the summer 2016 college staff members of Ozark Mission Project during the commissioning litany at the May 31 worship service. AUM PHOTOS BY AMY FORBUS

Worshippers extend a hand toward the summer 2016 college staff members of Ozark Mission Project during the commissioning litany at the May 31 worship service.
AUM PHOTOS BY AMY FORBUS

By Amy Forbus
Editor

Ozark Mission Project (OMP) on May 31 celebrated its 30th year of ministry with a worship service commissioning the members of its summer 2016 college staff. Bishop Gary Mueller and the Rev. Kathleen McMurray led the service, held at Pulaski Heights UMC Little Rock.

The college staff, together with OMP’s year-round staff members, are making a dozen camps happen over the course of June and July. Youth and adults from around the state, and some from out of state, come together to serve neighbors and live the organization’s mission, “transforming lives through worship, fellowship and hands-on mission.”

Most tasks involve helping neighbors who, for financial or physical reasons, need assistance with home maintenance. Campers may build porches and wheelchair ramps, paint houses or perform yard maintenance, all while building relationships that seek to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of those they serve.

A number of OMP college staffers have gone on to discern a call to ministry. For example, this year, three of the persons ordained or commissioned at the Arkansas Annual Conference once served as OMP college staffers.

Members of the OMP summer 2016 college staff face the congregation for the hymn “Here I Am, Lord” near the close of the May 31 commissioning service.

Members of the OMP summer 2016 college staff face the congregation for the hymn “Here I Am, Lord” near the close of the May 31 commissioning service.

“This is not just a summer job. This is about being in ministry and making a difference for Jesus Christ,” Bishop Mueller told the staffers during his May 31 sermon.

“You are part of God’s cosmic purpose,” he said. “You are helping God’s vision, God’s future, become a reality.”

To learn more about this ministry, visit the OMP website, www.ozarkmissionproject.org.