(*this was recreation of Olive’s story for a Compassion Sunday campaign. The subjects are actors and not the actual people.)

Olive’s story with Compassion begins in rural Northern Uganda during the height of the LRA’s reign of terror.

The LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) was a terrorist organization that was responsible for ransacking and burning villages and abducting, mutilating, and killing thousands of civilians in Uganda. Olive’s village where she lived with her grandparents sadly became one of those villages. They began attacking the villages at night, looking for children to abduct to become child soldiers. Olive would have to flee every night into the forest to escape the LRA.

Olive and her grandparents fled from the LRA from village to village for years. Her grandparents were rich in their faith and instrumental in Olive’s spiritual journey. Her grandfather would sit with her and help her memorize scripture throughout the day.

Olive’s grandparents decided to send her to Kampala where Olive’s mom had been living. They thought it would be safer for her and would give her more opportunities.

In Kampala, Olive’s mom enrolled her in the local Compassion center to make sure Olive had medical care, education, spiritual care and a safe environment. Here, Olive flourished.

Olive soon became sponsored through the Compassion program. She received letters full of hope, love and encouragement from her sponsors.

Olive stayed in the Compassion program where she learned how to sew and became a talented volleyball player. She had mentors that encouraged her in her studies and gave her a hope for the future.

When Olive was a junior in high school, she became very ill with tuberculosis. Most in Uganda could not afford the care needed with TB and would ultimately die from the disease, however, thanks to the generosity of her sponsors, Olive made a complete recovery.

Olive ended up getting a volleyball scholarship to South Carolina State University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She then went on to earn a Master’s Degree at the University of Georgia in 2007. Truly a life restored and released from poverty in Jesus’ name.