By Katie Matkins
Olivia Miller, an Ole Miss senior, serves as an important member of the Oxford community through her involvement in various philanthropic organizations all backed behind her relationship with God. Her involvement with the community and strong faith has lead her down a path in life she never intended on following.
From the moment she stepped onto the University of Mississippi’s campus, she felt at home. Coming to school from as far away is Scottsdale, Arizona took extreme faith and courage. She knew she needed a support system. During her freshman year, Miller went through recruitment and joined the Tri Delta sorority. She took this opportunity to pass on the skills given to her by joining the recruitment team.
“It was really cool meeting all the girls coming through rush, even if they didn’t go Tri Delt. This led to a lot of different relationships and great connections, both in the community with alumni,” she said.
Still, Miller desired to be even more involved with the Oxford community outside of her sorority. She explored mission trips by becoming an active member of other organizations such as OleMissions, CURE and Love Packs. OleMissions and CURE both raise money for third world countries.
“I would say my first few years in college I was more involved in doing things in our community for a different community, and then as I got to be a junior and senior I started doing more things within our own community,” she said.
Miller went on Mission of Hope’s spring break mission trip to Haiti through OleMissions where she fell in love with serving others. She immediately became a leader on the trip through service projects such as planting trees, painting houses, and putting on vacation Bible school for children. On these outreach trips, Miller utilized her people skills by passing on her strong sense of faith and sharing the gospel with the Haitian people.
“It is a really special experience going and helping people but also seeing how being around them changes you,” she said. “How we grew closer together and closer to the Lord was probably my favorite part.”
Miller enjoyed the Haiti trips so much that this year she became a leader herself. She was beyond excited for her third service trip when disaster struck. Mission of Hope redirected all trips to Haiti until May due to political unrest. Miller ended up going on a redirected trip to the Turks and Caicos with four other women from her OleMissions team.
“While it was disappointing, it was a learning experience for me just seeing that God can use things we think are disappointing to take you somewhere else and grow you in your faith,” she said.
This life-altering situation created an unexpected path that Miller blindly followed. Thinking she would be in Washington D.C. with a high-paying job, a call from God changed all of that.
“I had a job lined up in Washington D.C. to move there after graduation. The Monday I got back from Turks and Caicos I turned that job down,” she said. After talking to a lot of the people who work with Mission of Hope, they kept saying ‘Why haven’t you interned?’ I was like, well, is this God trying to tell me something?”
Miller became a part of Come Together Oxford, a worship night held April 9 in the Pavilion for the entire Oxford community. The group brought Christina rock band Passion internationally-known pastor Louie Giglio to speak. The goal of Come Together was to bring people who don’t typically attend church, CRU, or RUF to come together and praise God in a way that had never been done before. To Miller, planning Come Together influenced her next life decisions in an impactful way.
“Come Together really blew us away. I just remember feeling how could I leave now when this just happened in Oxford for the first time?” she said. “A few days after Come Together, CRU, which is an on-campus ministry, offered me an internship to stay in Oxford which gave me an opportunity to do what I love with ministry.”
Katie Darnell, one of her sorority sisters who Miller met through recruitment, said she’s one of the most impactful people she’s ever met and that she strives to have that type of dedication.
“Olivia has greatly impacted me as a sorority sister. She always has a smile on her face and she inspires me to always have a good attitude,” Darnell said.
Miller said making God the center of her life has made such a difference and she hopes that she can minister to others her message.