A place to call home: Testimony by Allison Hill, Class of 2014
Posted: May 13, 2014
The following is a reflection by Allison Hill ’14, who delivered this testimony during Olivet’s Baccalaureate service on Friday, May 9.
Four years ago this spring, like every 18-year-old, I was faced with the decision of where to spend the next season of my life. It’s kind of a big deal. For me, I didn’t need too much. I was only looking for a small, Christian school that felt kind of like a bigger school; where you didn’t know everyone, but could know a lot of people; class sizes small enough so I could have a personal relationship with the professor; not too close to home, but no more than four hours away; and with a good music program.
My parents were very involved in this decision-making process. In order to find this school that met my every desire, my dad Googled “small, Christian colleges within four hours of Quincy, Illinois.” And what do you know? Olivet Nazarene University popped up. So after an immediate interest, visiting the school twice and getting accepted, Olivet was going to be my home-away-from-home.
Now, four years later, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection over my time at Olivet. One way I’ve done that is through my Facebook page. And I want to share some of the posts I wrote within my first month as a freshman:
“Well, Olivet, I guess you are my new home.”
“How does everyone here already have best friends??? When did this all happen?”
“Officially the most stressful situation of my entire life: Laundry for the first time by myself!!!!!”
“I am craving a set schedule and routine ... but am somehow at peace and thrilled with the way God is working!”
I want to focus on the first and last posts I shared, this idea of Olivet’s being my “home.” “Honey, I’m home,” has been a common phrase when any of my roommates walks in.
So I decided to look up the definition of home: The place where one lives, especially as a member of a family or household. That’s it exactly. These last four years I have been a resident at Olivet, but I have also been a member of an incredible family.
Sitting right behind me is a group of 60 individuals in beautiful purple robes. Through them, God has blessed me with more than I can describe. For me, it was through this family that God showed me the power and importance of prayer; what it truly means to rest in Him; and how to live with an attitude of thankfulness, no matter the circumstances.
A key part of this family is our Orpheus “dad,” Dr. Jeff Bell. He keeps us together, seeking the same purpose of excellence so that we can share the gospel of Jesus most efficiently. Orpheus is only a glimpse of what makes Olivet home for me. And it’s truly because of the people I’ve lived life alongside, in and outside of choir, why I will miss this place so much.
Four years ago, I stepped out of my comfort zone and into a world that was new and unknown. Tomorrow, that step will repeat once again. Not just for me, but for everyone here in a cap and gown. Today, I can confidently say, just like I said on Facebook my freshman year, that I am somehow at peace and thrilled with the way God is working.
As seniors, we are approaching a season of change. Yet, really our time here has been full of change. Change is hard. Yet, through times of transition and uncertainty, I have found that only God can provide a peace which surpasses all understanding. I feel most at home when I have peace from the Lord.
So where will home be for each graduate? It will be different for each of us. But wherever we end up for this next season of life, be encouraged with what the Lord used to encourage me.
In John 14:19, Jesus said to his disciples: "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home within them."