Vienna natives J.T. and Anna Spivy spent several weeks last June leading and participating in a Honduras mission trip designed to emphasize serving the impoverished and providing relief to those who suffer from the effects of poverty, disaster, and insufficient medical care.
Together the Spivy siblings, and two dozen other OVU students and members of area churches, traveled to Honduras to help build and repair homes, distribute food and clothing, and lead Vacation Bible Schools.
J.T. Spivy, a senior majoring in English and education, made his seventh visit to Honduras as a student missionary in 2010. His younger sister, Anna Spivy, a college freshman majoring in education, visited Honduras four times. She organized and led the mission team this summer.
The Spivy's cling to the words of Jesus found in Matthew 25:40 where he says, "?Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me."
"We were the hands and feet of Jesus while we were there and worked to bring the gospel message to each person we met," Anna Spivy said. "Our immediate family and our OVU family believe you should put into practice your beliefs and therefore we try to live every day as it is a mission field, wherever we may be," said J.T. Spivy.
"J.T. and Anna Spivy are exceptional in their personal service," said Dr. Jim Bullock, vice president for academic affairs. "They are not alone though. Students are usually drawn to OVU because of its close-knit, family community. But they soon learn 'community' is defined in the broadest terms. We encourage students to get off campus, to get out of the bubble."
OVU has developed an academic strategic plan that not only integrates higher learning and biblical faith, but encourages a student's connectedness with the global community, noted Bullock. To that end, students must complete a project in one of five areas: academic engagement, career cultivation, servant leadership, global connection and cultural enrichment prior to graduation.
The University routinely offers unique study-abroad and short-term mission trips that are organized over Christmas or spring breaks and the summer months to destinations such as Romania, England, Ghana, China, Myanmar, Honduras, and other countries.
"The mission trip to Honduras is a wonderful and humbling example of many of our students living out their faith and serving others," Bullock said. When asked if they will go back next summer, the Spivy siblings replied that they have a shared dream to one day serve in Honduras by opening a bilingual school for underprivileged children.
"Your quality of life improves almost exponentially when you are bilingual in Honduras," said J.T. Spivy "If you are able to speak both English and Spanish?you have the ability to go further in life. My hope is that within five to six years I'll be able to open a school to teach English and improve children's lives."
"We have developed so many close friends in Honduras and have a real heart for the people? that I see myself following J.T.'s footsteps and hope to help him in the future," said Anna Spivy.
To learn more about Ohio Valley University student mission and study-abroad trips, contact OVU at (304) 865-6000 or visit www.ovu.edu.