Olivia Hefner is eager to serve the Lord by participating in E-TEAM through IM. A member of Fairview Free Will Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Olivia is a junior at Broome High School. She is active in cross country, student government, Beta Club, and the debate team. An active honorary member of the Women Active for Christ Ministry at Fairview since she was a very young, she listened intently each month as the lives of our missionaries unfolded during meetings. Missionaries visiting Fairview stirred a passion in her heart as they shared burdens about the countries where they minister. Her interest in missions deepened further at summer camp, where she was exposed to E-TEAM.
The first place she served was St. Croix, Virgin Islands. She looked forward to the preliminary events at Welch College, preparing for the culture, and connecting with her teammates and others. Her faith never wavered when she thought about the cost of raising her funds.
On her last Sunday before leaving for Welch College, my husband and I noticed Ronald, her dad, crying after Sunday School. We were both concerned, knowing he had been hesitant to let Olivia fulfill her dream to serve with E-TEAM and travel so far away from home. We approached him, thinking we could comfort him in some way. We explained we understood his reluctance in letting his “little girl” go so far from home. He hadn’t visited St. Croix to make sure it was going to be a safe place for his daughter.
After we had said what we thought he needed to hear, he looked at my husband and I and, with big tears flowing down his cheeks, said, “You don’t understand; I’ve already lost her.” Tim and I glanced at each other; we really didn’t comprehend what he meant. He added, “I have already lost her to the mission field.” He explained that he knew she was burdened for the regions beyond, for people who need to hear the gospel. Tim and I finally understood his tears.
Olivia served on E-TEAM Brazil this year (second from left). Her enthusiasm has been contagious to our congregation and among the teens at Fairview. Another girl from our church saw Olivia’s passion. Raegan Price spent her first E-TEAM experience in Chicago. Olivia is proof “it only takes a spark to get a fire going.”
About the Writer: Pam Hackett is an alumnus of Welch College and the University of South Carolina Upstate. Pam was recognized in 2013 for more than 25 years of teaching by the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools. She has been the South Carolina WAC coordinator for ten years and a member of the WNAC board since 2009. Pam has served as mission study chairman for her local WAC ministry for 28 years. Her husband, Tim has pastored Fairview FWB Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, for 28 years.
Originally published in ONE Magazine.