This summer is about you guys – the movers & the shakers. Your wild ideas, beautiful stories and hopes of Something Bigger – that’s what this next few months is about. I’m happy to introduce you to some fellow Lark & Bloom readers who are doing big things. Today – Olivia Brubaker
Liz : Olivia, I stalk you on Instagram. I’m gonna just go ahead and admit it. Saw that you went on a trip to India. Do you travel a lot or is this a pretty new experience for you?
Olivia: I’ve traveled a good bit inside the US and I’ve taken a couple cruises overseas, but this trip was my first experience where I was able to actually live in another country for a while, learn the culture and spend time with people.
Liz: What did you do while you were there?
Olivia: In India we spent most of our time out in the community with people, making friends, learning about their beliefs and telling them what Jesus has done in our lives. We also went to a house church in a village and visited a place called Home of Hope, a place for dying and destitute beggars who have been rescued off the streets along with orphans.
Liz: I think I point out the obvious when I say most college students don’t do stuff like this with their summer breaks. What made you want to do it?
Olivia: I knew at a young age, even before I knew Jesus, that life was meant to be lived well. I was meant to be part of something greater. I watched several adults in my life wake up at the same time, do the same thing, go to the same office, walk through the same routine day after day.
Where was their purpose? Where was the hunger and the passion? I can remember thinking to myself that if I only had one life, if I only had one shot at this, there had to be more. I decided that I was made for something, though I had no clue what it was, and I vowed early on to never sign away my heart and destiny to a mundane life.
Once I met Jesus, I discovered where the burning thing in my heart were coming from. I was created for a purpose. I was created to do what those before me had never done and go where no one else had ever gone, and I was created to tell people about Jesus along the way. The world needs what Jesus offers: freedom and an open door to dive in to everything He has created and everything He is. So I chose to go to India from that place in my heart of deep thirst and hunger for adventure and greater things, but also to offer the world the same hunger, purpose and freedom I have been given.
Many people don’t know that they were created for things much bigger than themselves and that they have wonderful destinies made just for them to walk in.
One of my biggest passions is to find people rejected by the world and remind them that they have a beautiful and unique purpose. I was able to do that a lot in India.
Liz: What did India teach you about yourself?
Olivia: Most people I speak to who have traveled say they return home thinking, “Wow, I’m so blessed, those people had so little.” But I think if you walk into a secret house church hidden in a village of people risking being beaten and shunned by their families all to seek Jesus and you see lack, you are not seeing with the eyes of Jesus. After seeing the passionate and faith-filled hearts among the Christians in India, I was absolutely shaken by how much more they had than me.
How much more they were willing to sacrifice, and how much more of God they have experienced because of that. In America I have paid so much attention to celebrity pastors and huge churches, but in the kingdom of Heaven it is these overlooked people who will reap great reward- these people who run after Jesus and give everyhting they have to Him just for the sake of being with him. They are the real “world changers.” The real movers and shakers. I left wanting what they had, remind that there was so much more of God to discover.
Liz: What did India teach you about people in general?
Olivia: India taught me that every single person from every single nation wants the same thing: love, purpose, community, happiness, wholeness. I also learned that God is chasing after every single one of us, every single one, offering those things and more, despite all of the other places we search for them.
Liz: Never had the privilege of going to India yet, what was your favorite experience there?
Olivia: I think I can speak for most of the team when I say our favorite experiences were the village house church and our visit to Home of Hope. I also loved being invited into people’s homes and making friends in India.
Olivia Brubaker is a soon to be 19 year old attending Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. She is studying psychology and pre med. Passionate about restoring dignity, honor, destiny and health to the homeless and those in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. Approximately 250,000 homeless people live with untreated severe mental illness in the US (and growing). I believe that every living thing has a right to physical and mental health and my dream is to one day provide medical care to those who are overlooked. Twitter and Instagram: @livbrubaker