Helping a neighbor: Transforming lives through a vision

ON A MISSION: Claudia Roram, an adult camper of Sylvan Hills United Methodist, with youth campers representing from Texarkana, Bentonville, Rogers and Little Rock all a part of the Ozark Mission Project replaced rotted wood on the front deck at the home of Joyce Hogan, located at 307 Church Street, in Malvern on Thursday, July 11, 2019.
Gretchen Ritchey
Staff Writer

You may have noticed a few homes in the area getting some needed updates, new wheelchair ramps or a mowed yard. This is all thanks to the Ozark Mission Project.
Seeking to help their neighbors is what the Ozark Mission Project is about. Ozark Mission Project is a Christ-led mission that offers a diverse cultural experience that equips youth to make a global difference.
Ozark Mission Project is a 501(c)(3) non profit mission with Arkansas Area United Methodist Church. It was organized for ministry to help persons in need in response to Jesus Christ’s call to servanthood.
Currently the group is being housed at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Malvern.
Malvern Police Officer Hayden Bolding began working with the Ozark Mission Project 12 years ago as a youth camper when he was a teenager. Bolding said after high school he became a driver with the mission and later while in college became a staff member. Bolding said the projects are done by typically five people, an adult and four youth.
Having the Ozark Mission Project in Malvern has been in the making for two years. Bolding is hoping that the camps will alternate between Benton and Malvern in the coming years.
This week there were nine groups of campers working on 14 different projects that vary from four days to one day. These projects include painting the exterior of a home, installing wheelchair ramps, mowing the yard, painting the interior of a home and installing handrails.
In Arkansas there are currently 12 camps lasting one-week each.
Ozark Mission Project sends youth groups to church/camp sites throughout Arkansas. At these camps, youth groups engage in the community by serving individuals and families, also known as neighbors, who are in need of minor construction and yard work.
During the day the youth hold devotionals and social outings. Ozark Mission Project strives to meet social and emotional needs by spending a portion of its youth’s time visiting and sharing lunch with the neighbor. Ozark Mission Project states it makes no demand of race, age, income or religion in the selection of its neighbors.
Ozark Mission Project began in 1986 by four friends in the Methodist Church with only one camp and 35 participants. Today the mission has 12 camps each summer with more than 1,000 youth and young adults participating.
The mission is based in Little Rock and relies on donations
For more information about Ozark Mission Project visit