Meet OlyviaOlyvia grew up in The Salvation Army, but it wasn’t until she endured a traumatic experience that she learned the redemptive power of Jesus.
Growing up as the child of Salvation Army officers (pastors), kettles, Angel Tree, camp and other programs were a way of life for Olyvia. “I was ‘voluntold’ for everything,” she laughs. At around 13 years old, Olyvia felt the Lord calling her to ministry. Later, she realized she hadn’t understood that; during her freshman year at Asbury University, Olyvia realized what He was leading her to was a full life of ministry with every aspect of it being devoted to following Him.
Olyvia thrived at Asbury. The first two years were everything she wanted and more. However, before the start of her junior year, Olyvia encountered a horrible situation that challenged her faith in a way that it had never been challenged before. While dealing with that trauma, her prayers seemed to be unanswered, at least not in the way that she wanted. She was angry at God and wanted nothing to do with Him. She wanted to ignore Him entirely, which isn’t easy under normal circumstances, but impossible for a Bible and theology major. Olyvia started the semester wanting to leave Asbury and return home but met with her mentor before making that decision. During that meeting, her mentor sensed her struggle and offered to pray with her. In the moment her mentor prayed for release, the Holy Spirit moved in her heart, and she felt peace and joy. The Lord reassured her that she was not forgotten or abandoned by Him.
Olyvia began to pick up her relationship with God that she had abandoned by worshipping and journaling again. She was led to Isaiah 43:1-2, particularly, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). These verses became so powerful to her that she had a portion tattooed as a reminder of the redemption that comes through Christ. She was also introduced to “He Has Time” by Common Hymnal. The lyrics resonated with her as they speak of Jesus running after the broken, redeeming what was taken. These reminders that speak the redemption of Jesus have been a healing balm to her broken heart.
Today, Olyvia is an active member of The Salvation Army Student Fellowship at Asbury as she continues toward finalizing her degree.