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Happy New Year - Moving OBI Story

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

Starting off the new year we thought we would share some thoughts from a volunteer who has made a huge difference in the lives of many young women and men as well as the older ones.

We are committed to 2021 being the year of sharing life changing stories from our volunteers, team leaders, board members and more. These “real” stories change lives for the better – eternally. Every trip is different – Every project is different, and God does amazing miracles at every turn.

Here is one such story we believe will move you to understand the work and ministry of Olive Branch in new ways.

Meet Sarah Lawson

Here's is how Sarah’s story unfolds:

The first time I went to English Camp I was pushed into going by the leader of the team, and just before the trip, I panicked. I had the Bible curriculum for that year and wanted to do a good job with my lessons; but had never taught before and felt totally inadequate. And yet I went, mainly because it felt too awkward to back out.

My class was quiet and relatively unresponsive. I felt like the most boring teacher in the world -- even I was bored by my lessons. It was awful, because I knew the Bible gives us a vibrant and exciting picture of God’s heart that can be engaging and life changing in a way that nothing else can.

I prayed that God would work in the hearts of my students in spite of my fumbling attempts, longing for them to know Him. On the final night, the Ukrainian leaders shared the Gospel and my whole team ended up responding! I was floored. They’d been so quiet. Our Bible lessons had been so boring. And yet God had still somehow captured their hearts.

It was ultimately my experiences in that first camp that God used to set me on a new trajectory, getting involved in youth ministry -- a huge part of my life that I have loved over the ten years since then.

Written by Sarah Lawson; Olive Branch volunteer and difference maker

Sarah continues to be a vibrant and critical part of our English Camp and Ukraine outreach and stays in touch with many young adults in Ukraine and the US.

Sarah Lawson & Ukraine English Camp

We have many volunteers like Sarah who are passionate about their international friendships, service, and generosity that makes Olive Branch the organization we are today….changing lives all over the world. Taking the time to travel internationally is no simple feat. It takes a lot of preparation and commitment and often changes your perspective in ways you didn’t see coming.

Sarah and others like her are helping teens and adults hear the message of hope and grow spiritually and personally.

There is so much need in 2021 – Will you consider a special gift this month?


Nancy Jernigan

Finance Director / Board Member

P.S. If you shop at AmazonSmile – please consider designating Olive Branch International, Inc, Mission Viejo, CA Founded 1994; as your charity with AmazonSmile. There are a few Olive Branch charities on AmazonSmile, so look for Mission Viejo and Founded 1994.

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