Originally from Hawaii, Olinda was raised in a Christian home with both her mother and father in ministry. Growing up she was frequently recognized as “the Pastor’s daughter” and so to separate herself from that identity, Olinda moved her life to California to peruse school in 1972.
During her time in the golden state, Olinda found herself moving further and further away from the Lord. After 5 years had gone by, she received word that her father had passed away in Hawaii. It was that year that she returned to the Lord and then fully committed herself to ministry and missionary work as she wanted to share God’s work through her own testimony.
Olinda’s first individual missionary trip, separate from her identity of being ‘the pastor’s daughter’, took her to Japan. “I loved it because it was me,” she expressed, “I was able to share my life, my relationship with Christ and share with other people about what Christ did in my life—and so it became more personal as opposed to doing something because I was told to.”
After spending 3 months in Japan and really enjoying her experience there Olinda returned home. It was following her own trip and sharing how much she enjoyed her experience that Olinda’s mother now expressed an interest in missionary work overseas. When her father was alive, both Olinda’s parents spent their time pastoring—and following her father’s death, her mother now had more time on her hands and felt missionary work overseas was now possible.
Shortly after identifying this interest, Olinda’s mom became involved with Youth with a Mission, a missionary organization that ministers to young adults. She ended up becoming very involved with the organization taking many trips to Japan to help them where she could—friendship evangelism was where she flourished.
“She got to know a lot of Japanese people, she got to know Japanese pastors—she got to speak at their church which was unusual for a woman to do that”, Olinda shared, “and she ministered to the women there… she developed very close relationships with them.”
Olinda’s mother made the trip from Hawaii to Japan year after year creating more friendships and ministering to communities. She did this for almost fifteen years while growing older in age until she got to a point where she wanted to settle down and relocate from Hawaii to be closer to her children in Idaho and California. Even after growing older and relocating, in her time away from Japan she remained in contact with her friends there and while she was no longer able to travel across the world—the friends she made in Japan made the trip to the United States to visit with her.
Olinda and her sister found themselves housing several different Japanese families during the time their mother lived with them. Through this they were able to get to know these families and to also partake in the friendship evangelism with the people that their mother had met and grown to close with.
“It was such a blessing for my mother to be able to do that,” Olinda reflects, “that she had a focus after my father died, to go over to Japan and just share her life of Christ with them.”
At the age of 80, Olinda’s mother transferred from living with her sister in Idaho to living with Olinda in California as her mother became sick with Alzheimer’s. “Even with her Alzheimer’s, she loved the Lord.” Olinda says, “Nothing, not even her disease, stopped her from constantly sharing Christ with us.”
“Her life was Christ. Even in her Alzheimer’s and with her memory loss, she never forgot who Jesus was.”
Olinda’s mother passed away at the age of 89 leaving her legacy of friendship evangelism behind with her children.
During the time her mother fell ill, Olinda and her family needed a church that was closer to home— to be accessible to her mother at all times. In 2016 this brought them to Shepherd Church and since their first weekend here, Olinda and her family have not missed a sermon.
Olinda and her husband loved the idea of the 30 Cities initiative when pastor Dudley Rutherford introduced it back in January of this year. “We had always thought that Shepherd Church was sensitive and understanding to the fact that sharing the gospel was not only needed here in our city and community but also worldwide,” she shares. It was when they looked up the locations for mission trips and saw Japan, that they rejoiced and prayed over the opportunity to go.
Olinda and her husband have taken several medical missionary trips with their former Church, Church on the Way, however, Olinda’s trip to Japan with Shepherd Church’s 30 Cities Ministry will be her first mission trip with Shepherd Church and the first time Olinda will be returning to Japan since her mother has passed.
When Olinda was last in Japan in 1979, she prayed to the Lord asking if He would allow her to go back to Japan in her future, that she would really love to. From that point on she left it in the hands of the Lord, never thinking that she would have another opportunity to go.
“I’m very blessed.” Olinda shares, “I’m just really pleased, I think it’s a blessing for the church as well as the people in the church that we are also reaching out to people globally.” When she made the decision to go to Japan, it was without question that she reached out to several individuals there.
Olinda traveled to Japan in June 2018 with Shepherd Church and the 30 Cities Ministries. Following the trip with Shepherd, Olinda individually traveled to meet up with her siblings who joined her in reuniting with some of the individuals who were ministered by and friends with their mother.
“My hope is that the Lord just uses me to touch the peoples’ lives that I will be meeting there and that they will be open to learning more about Jesus.” Olinda confessed, “Regarding the 30 cities ministry, I hope to see that this is just the start of how the Lord can use this 30 cities introduction to global—international ministries, whether it is here in the U.S or worldwide, that people will catch the fire and will really be open to giving, praying and be to even going.”