Since 1989, OC Ministries has ministered to minds, bodies, and souls in Jamaica, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
The local nonprofit mission, which I co-founded and have continued to remain heavily involved with, began at Rosemount United Methodist Church—and it will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 6-8 p.m. at Rosemount UMC (14770 Canada Ave. W., Rosemount). All are invited to attend.
Over the years, OC Ministries—a Minnesota Conference Advance Special—has completed 52 projects in seven countries, also including Chile, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Uganda. The ministry was initially called “Operation Classroom,” and the “C” in “Classroom” expanded to also include Church, Clinic, Clean Water, Clear Vision, and Connection (student scholarships).
To date, more than $600,000 has been raised through this ministry, and more than 500 people have participated on OC Ministries work teams. OC Ministries formed partnerships with Feed My Starving Children, Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, and several other annual conferences. It spawned an independent health ministry in West Africa called Africa Uplifted and a musical ministry called World Beat Connection.
The 25th anniversary event will feature Rev. Athlone Harrison from Browns Town, Jamaica; Bishop John Yambasu from Sierra Leone; Bob Coolman from the Indiana Conference; and the Rosemount UMC contemporary praise band, along with leaders from our conference. The event and dinner are free, but donations will be collected in an effort to raise money for the formation of a new foundation that will be housed within the Minnesota Conference; the goal is $100,000.
Current efforts to respond to God’s call to heal a broken world include providing salary support for pastors and teachers in West Africa, delivering 60,000 meals per year to children in orphanages, planting avocados for a new self-sustaining agricultural school in Jamaica, sponsoring 150 students each year through scholarships in Sierra Leone, distributing 5,000 pairs of glasses in Browns Town, sewing coops, and the construction of schools in all three countries.
In the past, OC Ministries has dug wells, taught accounting principles to school administrators, sponsored trauma counseling in Liberia, delivered sports equipment, sent thousands of school and clinic supplies and Bibles, repurposed old United Methodist hymnals, and ministered to people in refugee camps and a girls reformatory, among other things.
God has done amazing things through this “movement” of the Minnesota Conference. I hope you will mark your calendar and come to the banquet. Come learn the history of OC Ministries, celebrate its current ministry, and be a part of its foundation for the future.
For more information, call me at (612) 230-6129. See you there!
Lyndy Zabel is director of missional impact for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church