Hannah West, senior communication studies major at OBU, and student intern in the Marketing and Communications Office, sat down recently with Dr. Joy Turner to discuss the importance of GO Trips at OBU. West has served on multiple trips herself and is passionate about global service. This story kicks off a series of stories about various GO Trips in 2019, all researched and written by West. Watch for more to come over the ensuing days and weeks.
OBU’s mission statement guides the University to, “Transform lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ.” Because of this, OBU’s Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach is committed to send students to serve around the world, engaging diverse people groups through service and compassion.
Dr. Joy Turner is the director of global mobilization at OBU. She is responsible for organizing Global Outreach Trips (GO Trips) and sending students. Turner believes in GO Trips because she knows that students gain much from experiencing a short-term trip and from meeting the needs of people around the world.
“Global Outreach Trips are so important to OBU,” she said. “As Christians, we are all called to go, and both the University and the staff at the Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach are committed to equipping students and faculty to answer that calling. Through GO Trips, students are able to gain a global perspective and understand how desperately the world needs to hear the name of Jesus.”
Turner has served in her role at OBU since 2011. She graduated from OBU with a bachelor’s degree in religion, then earned both her Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She served with the North American Missions Board as the international ministries director with Oahu Baptist Network in Oahu, Hawaii, from 1992-2011.
Turner has extensive training in witnessing and evangelism through the Southern Baptist Convention and has taught English as a second language for many. She is married to Roger with one son, Travis.
Thousands of OBU students have travelled throughout the world over the years on GO Trips. This summer alone, OBU sent nearly 200 students, faculty and staff to various places around the world. Summer trips included locations such as Colombia, Ecuador, England, India, Hawaii, Israel, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Uganda. These trips help students develop a global perspective and recognize the needs of others all around the world.
Turner knows how important GO Trips are and how much they impact students when they return.
“These trips impact the students more than they expect,” she said. “The power of the Good News is revealed through short-term trips. Students who go are often more committed to encourage others to go. Many students who have gone on trips decide to go long-term after they graduate from OBU.”
Turner believes that most students have a desire to go on these trips, yet, some just might be afraid.
“Students are afraid of going for many reasons,” she said. “Some are afraid for financial reasons and some may feel like they can’t hear the Lord. However, it is very important for students to be in the Word and spending time in prayer. Students need to be obedient and trust the Lord because He will provide for their trip.”
For more information about Global Outreach at OBU, visit www.okbu.edu/global-outreach.
With its campus located in Shawnee, OBU offers 10 bachelor’s degrees with 88 fields of study and five master’s degree programs. The Christian liberal arts university has an overall enrollment of 1,868, with students from 37 states and 40 other countries. OBU has been rated as one of the top 10 regional colleges in the West by U.S. News and World Report for 28 consecutive years and Oklahoma’s highest rated regional college in the U.S. News rankings for 25 consecutive years. OBU is one of three universities in Oklahoma and the only private Oklahoma university listed on Great Value College’s rankings of 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest. The Wall Street Journal ranks OBU second in the nation for student engagement among all U.S. colleges and universities. Forbes.com consistently ranks OBU as a top university in Oklahoma and the Princeton Review has named OBU one of the best colleges and universities in the western United States for 15 consecutive years.