SHAWNEE—Before JoziRose Mayfield ran track for OBU, she was busy covering ground through mission trips and volunteer work in high school. Through her church Mayfield, a freshman, was able to travel to Guatemala three years in a row over spring break.
“We would go over there, and it’s about a hundred of us, and we would be designated to different houses,” Mayfield said. “We would make concrete floors for them and other teams would repair the house; if say the roof wasn’t stable we would fix it up.”
If there were children in any of the homes Mayfield said the team would try to interact with them and provide coloring books or bubbles to play with. Although Mayfield said her Spanish was a bit rough, she enjoyed being able to hang out with some of the residents. When Mayfield looks back on her experience she said God’s hand was definitely involved.
“The first year I went I was actually on a waiting list, so I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to go,” she said.
The week before the team was supposed to leave, Mayfield said one of her friends was unable to go due to a condition that only allowed him to eat certain foods.
“They were thinking it would be too difficult for him to go and be placed in that environment and not be sure what lunch or dinner would be,” she said. “So he ended up dropping out.”
Mayfield was immediately put on the team and traveled to Guatemala for what she considered one of the best trips of her life.
“It was the greatest experience I’ve ever had,” she said. “I really clicked with the house that I was stationed at.”
At the house, Mayfield was paired with the residents to do some work building a concrete floor. Although their communication was limited, Mayfield said the connection inspired her to continue the trips.
“I thought if I can help change one house, then I want to come back and see how many houses we can do within a week,” she said.
Over time, the number of people on the team continued to grow she said, reaching the size of 150 this year.
“I couldn’t go but they took one hundred and fifty people,” she said. “I was like ‘wow this is amazing.’”
Although she couldn’t attend this year Mayfield said she hopes to go back this summer with a friend, who plans to be a traveling nurse and decided to do some training at a small hospital in Guatemala.
“They have a mini hospital on the property,” Mayfield said. “So I think I’m just going to tag along and help everyone out.”
When she wasn’t traveling in high school Mayfield said she was also actively doing volunteer work with her family.
“Every Thanksgiving my family and I would go to Booker T. Washington and we would just hand out food, like packets of Thanksgiving in a bag,” she said.
For Mayfield, helping people wasn’t about doing a good deed, she said, it was about making someone else happy.
“I’m a people pleaser, so it’s kind of nice just being able to actually please someone who just needs to smile that day,” she said. “So getting to play with a child who doesn’t have that much attention or something and getting to hang out with them and see how their day is changed.”
Since coming to OBU Mayfield hasn’t been able to do much mission work because of her life as an athlete, but said she wants to get involved in the future.
“Probably in the years ahead I’ll try getting involved more in the nursing home and helping them out,” she said.
In the meantime Mayfield will continue to jump hurdles, run laps and help make a difference as a member of the OBU track team.