After an 11-month global mission trip, OLu alum Taylor Hill '10 made it her personal mission to help high schoolers explore similar life-changing experiences.
By Georgia Harris '19
Taylor Hill, Missions Program Operations Specialist, is the lifeblood of the OLu Missions program. Her day-to-day dedication to her position touches the lives of many Orange Lutheran students.
However, her current standing in life is never where she expected to end up.
Upon graduating from OLu in 2010, Hill attended The University of Colorado, Boulder. Her plans were to work for a record label in Nashville, but her path shifted with the discovery of The World Race.
This 11-month mission trip to eleven countries enticed Hill and she felt called to go.
“I needed to go or else I'd live my whole life my way and not God’s way,” she said.
The trip proved to be monumental, or as Hill describes it, it was a “game changer.”
Returning to Orange in August of 2015, Hill “felt like God was really putting high schoolers on [her] heart.”
During a visit to OLu, Hill stumbled upon her old counselor, Ms. Lisa Ehret, who after hearing about Hill’s journey over the past year immediately brought her to the Missions Program staff. Curiosity struck Hill because as she remembers, Missions was solely a club during her time at OLu.
She discussed with the staff her experience with The World Race, and they implored her to volunteer as a chaperone for the upcoming trip to Appalachia. Hill’s immediately seized the opportunity, saying that the trip struck her as more enticing than her coffee shop job.
She attended the trip to Appalachia and began building unyielding relationships that led to her the discipleship of a few girls. Then, in the summer of 2016, Hill’s enrapturing impression allowed for her to be offered the position of Missions Operations Specialist.
The opportunity, she said, felt “totally right” even though she admitted, “I honestly would have never thought I would come back to my alma mater.”
Now, having experienced the effulgence of missions, Hill describes the program as “unique” because of the myriad ways God’s hand is able to touch a group comprised of solely teenagers. Watching the Missions class build their own “community” and observing the students “lead themselves and voice themselves” brings elation upon Hill.
Hill has witnessed this uniqueness play a role in developing the body of Christ. She says that each student offers their own gifts to serve both in school and abroad. On trips, Hill enjoys being able to see this “tangible… body be the body.”
“You can see someone through labor and going to town with building a house or ripping something apart, and then you can watch someone really go deep with the person who’s house is getting torn apart, while also watching someone come and bring in the random things they’ve brought for the house and just give.”
Today working deep in the Missions Program, Hill said, “One of my favorite parts is going through the ups and downs of the process, but ultimately, the intimacy with Jesus. When that clicks for the students and I can watch how alive they become, I think that’s one of my favorite parts of leading and guiding them there.”
Hill cherishes the moment when a student finally fathoms their relationship with Christ; when a student can say, “‘Oh my gosh, this makes me come alive. Knowing who Jesus is really changes my life. It’s not just a good moral code; getting to believe in Jesus is a game changer.”
Hill experienced her “game changer” through an unexpected adventure across the world and she has now brought her comprehensive insight to the students at OLu. She is able to share her boundless experience with the Orange Lutheran community through the Missions Program and aspires to stimulate within the students their own epiphanies to where they can grasp their relationship with Christ and find their own game changer.