Read OCC's COVID-19 response.
The pandemic isn’t the first crisis OCC graduate Jocelyn Zauche has lived through. As a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner, Jocelyn deals every day with children battling cancer. But in a recent note, Jocelyn described the extra challenges she now faces in the Wichita hospital where she works:
Work has been at a different pace. Kids don’t take a break from cancer, and we are seeing many kids getting sick. On top of normal patient care, a lot of my time lately has been spent with terrified mommas…cautioning them that their child is in the 10% of children who have more trouble with COVID. But I’m also trying to share hope, and that’s led to many sweet moments at the bedside, prayers with families, and conversations about God.
God is opening doors for gospel conversations—and not just with patients and their families. Jocelyn’s co-workers have noticed something different about her:
One of my nurses asked how I was remaining so calm through all this. She asked if I felt nursing school or grad school prepared me for this the best. Without hesitation, I said, “Well, Bible college prepared me for this the best. I get to come to work knowing God is still in control, and my job is to just care for my next patient with love and compassion.” I learned from wonderful teachers what a disciplined life looks like, the importance of my early Bible reading appointment, a heart of compassion, an understanding of grace, and how to share that hope with others—all lessons I attribute to Ozark.
Keep reading to find out how you can train more gospel-centered leaders like Jocelyn…
This isn’t the first crisis Ozark Christian College has lived through, either. In my years as president, we’ve weathered the Great Recession of 2008 and the Joplin tornado of 2011, and after each, I can say three things are true.
So how is Ozark doing in the pandemic? I can say those same three things.
We’ve experienced a lot of change. We monitored the pandemic carefully, and in mid-March, we sent students home and moved all classes online (along with chapel and life groups) for the rest of the semester. Spring on-campus events were canceled, along with summer overnight events such as Creative Arts Academy and Ambassador Sports Camps.
Our finances were certainly affected. The portion of OCC’s reserve funds invested in the market saw large unrealized losses, and after giving $375,000 in room and board refunds, Ozark’s financial picture shifted significantly in a short time.
Our future finances will likely be affected, too. Spring and summer are prime recruiting seasons. But spring campus tours weren’t possible, and many summer camps and conferences where we recruit have been canceled. Many higher ed experts are planning for a 20% drop in enrollment. That’s one reason we’ll need your help. Keep reading to learn how…
In changing circumstances, God remains faithful. We’ve seen his providential hand guiding our team. We live by the beatitude, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall never be bent out of shape,” and Ozark’s team has been amazingly resilient. Our Online Department prepped our profs well for the move to distance learning, and in graduate exit interviews this month, many said, “You couldn’t have done it any better.”
We’ve seen God’s generous provision. One friend sent a $12,000 gift to purchase a larger Zoom license for our suddenly-all-online classes. Another donor sent a check for $150,000. What a blessing and encouragement our many partners are! We also recognize God’s fingerprints on the $250,000 in institutional aid we received through the congressional CARES Act.
Ozark is in our ninth year debt-free, so we’re blessed with enough financial margin to weather these storms. With the $150,000 gift and the $250,000 government aid, our $375,000 loss in room and board refunds was covered, and we should end the fiscal year on June 30 in the black. Praise the Lord!
But we do still need our friends. Ozark remains as mission-focused as ever. This month, we just sent another 149 graduates into the harvest field—preachers, youth ministers, church planters, Bible translators, missionaries—and we can’t wait to welcome new students this fall. But that mission faces two new challenges.
First, we’ve had to adjust our 2020-2021 budget down. Our recruiting team is working hard (and creatively) in new circumstances. But in light of potential enrollment drops, we’re making hard choices and budgeting $500,000 less than planned for next year.
Second, we’re planning for pandemic contingencies. Proverbs 27:12 says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions,” so while we’re committed to on-campus instruction this fall, we’re preparing for the possibility of moving online in case of a recurrence. That’s where we need your help. Would you consider partnering with us in these three preparation projects?
These three projects will prepare us for the new reality, but they total $41,000 in new expenses (as we’re reducing next year’s budget). Would you consider a generous gift today to prepare Ozark for next school year?
In difficult seasons, friends like you have come alongside us in amazingly generous ways, and I think I know why. You believe in our mission. You want to send kingdom workers like Jocelyn Zauche into the harvest field. By the way, here’s how she concluded her note:
Several of us at work have been going through Psalms. Last week while putting on our "space gear" (as we call it in the pediatric world) to go into another sick room, one of my colleagues asked what the psalm of the day was. It was Psalm 91, a beautiful reminder that, while we are putting on all this stuff to keep us safe, our security is already sure. Our protection has nothing to do with a scrub hat, mask, face shield, gloves, or footies. Our refuge is the Lord. So even though this semester is ending in a much different way for you, please know that your ministry at Ozark is so essential (and that is coming from an essential worker...haha). My career as a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner has been shaped because Ozark invested in my life.
Thank you for considering a gift to Ozark, and thanks for sending leaders like Jocelyn into the world with the good news of Jesus!
Yours in Christ,
President Matt Proctor
P.S. OCC has a birthday coming soon! On June 12, Ozark will celebrate our 78th birthday with "Ambassador Day." Watch Ozark's social media on Friday, June 12, for more!