catching up with Olivia

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Recently I asked one of last year's ESBS students (Olivia Keaton) to share some thoughts about her year at ESBS and how it's prepared her for what she's doing now.  Here are her thoughts:

"During my school year God formed a passion within me for studying the word of God which I had never known before. Prior to that year studying the Bible was something I would do very seldom and understand even less. I can clearly remember walking back to my room one afternoon, towards the beginning year, and stopping at the realization that I was actually excited to start studying again. Through my year at ESBS I was able to ground my faith in the Lord and in His word. I had been living off the words of others for my faith all my life, however, through ESBS I grew strong convictions which I knew were grounded in God’s heart and in God’s desires for me.

Since my ESBS I have begun working in Minnesota with a ministry called Timber Bay. Timber Bay is a relational ministry which works with “at-risk” youth. We come along side kids who have been rejected, abandoned, and abused by every influence around them and we show them the unconditional love of God. Timber Bay beautifully mirrors God’s relationship with us. We meet our lost, hopeless, kids where they are at. We build real relationships with our kids, not forcing them to change, but encouraging them, loving them through their shortcomings, and presenting Christ to them with hope. My year with ESBS has helped me in my ministry in so many ways. I would not have had the wisdom or the conviction to be able to express the Gospel to my kids before coming to this school. The more I become confident and convicted in the character of God the better I am able to live it in my ministry, and in every aspect of life. Through the gospel I have learned humility, endurance, hope in suffering, patience, and the true action of unconditional love. These are all things I had heard of, and even thought I lived out, but at school I saw SO clearly God, the holy, all powerful, creator of the universe, bestow these characteristics on mankind from the beginning, regardless of their rejection. This is now my mission.

My year at ESBS was one of the best things I’ve ever done, I will always look back on it in humble gratitude for what the Lord did in my life. But, as I said at the end of my school year, to stop there would only be fulfilling half the purpose. The time has come to move on and apply what I have learned and bless others as much as I can. This is what I am doing with Timber Bay. I continue to learn, and I continue to learn and live for the glory of God to the best of my ability."

Feel free to e-mail Olivia if you're interested in her ministry at Timber Bay, and how you can partner with her (oliviakeaton@timberbay. org ).  We are thankful to have been a part of her discipleship journey!