Born and raised in the Iowa City area, Olivia Merriweather grew up under the leadership of Grace Community Church. Olivia remembers being introduced to the idea of cross-cultural ministry at a young age when a field worker came and spoke to her third grade Sunday School class. The seeds that were planted that day, along with those that came from various domestic and international short-term trips with the church, sprouted and grew putting overseas ministry on the map for her.
Olivia took Perspectives on the World Christian Movement between her high school graduation and the first year of college. Perspectives is a class which informs the mind and engages the heart to be global and missional, showing the class participant the Biblical mandate of missions and their role as a goer or a sender.
This class ruined me for the ordinary. I learned about God’s heart for the nations, about people groups and those who are unreached and the need for more laborers in the harvest. I knew at that point, as a 18-year-old who was finding her identity in things other than Christ, that the Lord was beckoning me to Himself, and the He had a greater story and purpose for my life.
This prompted Olivia to pursue higher education at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, where she studied theology and international ministry. It was also during her time there that Olivia was first introduced to her current country of service. Through an internship with her now sending organization, Olivia spent two months working alongside long-term workers in church planting work among influential nationals. Olivia left Iowa in January 2015 and began to serve as a long-term field staff member of Grace Community Church in Asia. She is continuing to minister to influential, middle-class individuals with the goal of seeing these unreached people come to know Jesus in a multiplying fashion leading to reproducible, indigenous churches planted.