Through the years, mission work and evangelism have taken the Hobbes family all over the world – from Washington, D.C., to Oklahoma City … from Guatemala to California.
Today, sharing the Gospel remains a big part of the family tradition. Pancho, who spent 12 years as a missionary in Guatemala, is the mission minister at an inner-city congregation. His wife, Lera, helps with the women’s ministry there. And their four children regularly go on mission campaigns.
But now, when they spread the word about the Christian life, they also talk about the impact Oklahoma Christian has made on their family. And their passion has built a pipeline from northern California that has blessed their kids with a lot of friends and familiar faces on the OC campus.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard sending Ben and their oldest daughter, Miriam, off to college thousands of miles away.
“Losing our son and first daughter was rough. It was like a punch in the stomach,” Lera said. “But we were so excited because we always wanted them to get a Christian education. We believed in OC and we had friends in Oklahoma, so that took some of the angst out of it.”
Ben and Miriam just graduated from OC. Ben was a mass communication major who had an award-winning radio show and played varsity basketball at OC. Miriam was a nursing major whose interests were a perfect match with courses that send students to practice in Honduras.
“I appreciate the way OC combines exactly what I’m looking for – my love for missions and service and medical care,” Miriam said. “And I love that OC is welcoming to every continent. A lot of times, college students will stay in their shell, but we have a chance to really connect with the international students that OC brings in.”
Ben and Miriam were joined last year by their sister, Rachel, who also plans a career in medicine. The Hobbes’ youngest daughter, Rebecca, hits campus next year … along with several friends from her California bible camp.
“We know our kids will be making big decisions in this time of their lives,” Pancho said. “Good teaching is so important because we want them to be challenged and supported. OC has a healthy environment with caring faculty who are so helpful, and it’s a place where they’ll make friends that last forever.”
Besides the academic, spiritual and social support system his children have at OC, Pancho said the upgrades and growth on campus and in the Oklahoma City metro area also made an impact: “It showed that they weren’t resting on their laurels, but had a vision to grow for the future,” he said.
Of course, Pancho and Lera are playing a direct role in that growth by sending their four kids to Oklahoma Christian, and planting the seed in many other teens that have chosen OC. Though their commitment comes with financial sacrifices (OC hasn’t put them on the recruiting payroll just yet!), they believe the sacrifices are worth it. And they’ll share that belief with anyone who will listen.
“Your child’s faith is going to be challenged wherever they are,” Lera said. “We know OC isn’t perfect, but it gives our kids the last vestige of a concentrated Christian environment before they go out into the world – not as protection, but as preparation. OC’s a good place for them.”
By Wes McKinzie