SHAWNEE—Members of the Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) men’s and women’s cross country teams recently completed a mission trip, in partnership with Marlow, First to Mindo, Ecuador.
“I was so proud of the girls that had the opportunity to go and serve in Ecuador,” OBU women’s cross country head coach Matt Kennedy said. “It was an incredible experience for the two seniors and two freshmen who went.”

Serving out their mission on the western slopes of the Andes, Sydney Lawrence, Kaylee Large Crowson, Berkley Price, Michaela Phipps and Nathan Crowson, as well as Coach Kennedy and representatives from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Northern Oklahoma College in Enid, served on the 10-man mission team.

From June 23 to July 1, the mission team served local children each morning by hosting a soccer camp. During the afternoons, they continued to supervise the kids at the local sports complex. Throughout the trip, the team got to share their testimonies and stories, linking their experiences as student-athletes at OBU to their relationships with Christ.

“One thing that I think I learned from this trip is the importance and power of intentionality,” said Kaylee Crowson, a senior. “Being intentional about sharing the blessing of Jesus Christ, the love that He gives and just being intentional about expressing that love to others. I think that is one of my biggest takeaways (from this trip).”

While a large portion of their time was devoted to witnessing and ministering to the children of Mindo, the mission team also took time to visit the homes of the pastors for the local Baptist church.

“My time in Ecuador helped me see the reality of how important the Gospel is for people all over the world, especially myself,” Nathan Crowson explained. “It helped me see each person as someone created and loved by God, and in need of His grace.”

“We typically have a very close, family type atmosphere on our team,” Kennedy said. “This experience will only strengthen our team’s bond.”