Two College of the Ozarks mission teams served in Ecuador this summer as part of an ongoing relationship with communities there. The first team of students worked in the jungle town of Misahuallí to help Antioch Christian Academy develop a sustainable business selling guayusa tea leaves (a tea native to South America), June 5-16. The second mission team consisted of six nursing students who volunteered their time at Hospital Vozandes in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, June 17-28.

Business and agriculture team together

The business and agriculture students worked with Jungle Kids for Christ (JKC), a ministry that aims to break cycles of poverty and abuse in the jungle region of Ecuador, for their trip June 5-16. Specifically, C of O students partnered with Antioch Christian Academy, an extension of JKC, to develop a business selling guayusa tea leaves.

Lindon Newberry, assistant professor of business administration, designed one of his classes around creating and implementing the business plan for Antioch Christian Academy. This plan is what students carried out on their trip to Ecuador.

“When I was at the school in Ecuador, Roberto Davalos, director of JKC, explained that they were hoping to develop a market for guayusa to help provide a stream of revenue for the school,” said Newberry. “This gave me the idea to develop a class to help support the school and its desire to have a sustainable income stream. The end goal is to introduce the tea as a product in the United States.”

The business that Newberry and his students created is called Anteaoch, and they plan to go public this fall with a Kickstarter project.

“The platform that we created through Kickstarter will fund the purchase of a dryer for JKC, to dry the tea, and to purchase the first order of tea,” said Newberry. “All profit that is made by the company’s sales of the tea will return to JKC to help fund the needs of the school.”

While in Ecuador for the mission trip, students worked on local farms, captured footage for the Kickstarter, and spoke to older students at Antioch Christian Academy about how they can apply to College of the Ozarks. When the students weren’t working, they explored Quito, trekked through the Cavernas de Jumandy, the second largest cave system in Ecuador, and attended church in Misahuallí.

Student participants of the business and agriculture team include:

–Madison Bagg, senior psychology major from Kimberling City

–Josiah Johnson, senior business administration major from Bolingbrook, Illinois

–Mikaila Livingston, senior agriculture education major from Harrisonville, Missouri

–Nathaniel Moss, senior agribusiness major from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

–Kressa Phillips, senior Spanish and public relations double major from Branson

–Keaton Reich, senior engineering, mathematics, and biblical and theological studies triple major from Branson

–Dalton VanHorn, senior agriculture and business double major from Butler

Sponsors of the business and agriculture team include:

–Tammy Holder, D. Howard Doane chair of agriculture and associate professor of agriculture

–Mark Hubbard, professor of agriculture

–Lindon Newberry, assistant professor of business administration

–Curt Wilkinson, associate professor of communication arts

Nursing team focuses on medical needs

The nursing students spent most of their time in the city of Quito at the Hospital Vozandes during their trip, June 17-28. While there, they observed in surgical, ER, and post-surgical units.

During their time in Quito, students had the opportunity to stay with Ecuadorian families and experience the culture.

“The family with whom I stayed was so sweet and welcoming,” said Bethany Ashcraft, senior nursing major. “They kept repeating that their house was our house. It was just such a blessing for them to take us in and treat us like family.”

When students weren’t working at the hospital, they visited Camp Hope, an organization that focuses on helping children and adults with disabilities. 

They also worked with For His Children, a Christ-centered ministry which provides care to vulnerable children in Ecuador until they can be reunited with their birth family or adopted.

“I loved getting to see Camp Hope and the beautiful work that is being done there,” said Audrey Larsen, senior nursing major. “As we walked through, chatted with a few of them, and saw their beautiful smiles, God once again reminded me of the sanctity of life and how beautiful His children are to Him.”

Student participants of the nursing team include:

–Bethany Ashcraft, senior nursing major from Springfield, Missouri

–Jamie Chapman, senior nursing major from Cave City, Arkansas

–Haley Jeffries, senior nursing major from Rogers, Arkansas

–Audrey Larsen, senior nursing major from East Dundee, Illinois

–Casey Ridings, senior nursing major from Forsyth, Missouri

–Bethany White, senior nursing major from Springfield, Missouri 

Sponsors of the nursing team include:

–Janice Williams, the Don and Marie Garner nursing program director and professor of nursing

–Denise Tlustos, assistant professor of nursing

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