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S

October 2015

The

Olsens

jim | suzy | kaia | espen

Every year we as a ministry focus on a concept that comes from our


mission, measures, values, or strategy we call it our milestone. The
name we gave to our milestone this year is Ascent. The idea behind
Ascent is to leverage what we already have at our disposal and to do
better with it. The areas that weve been focusing on are sustainability,
maximized efficiency, maximized impact, and empowerment. These
are incredibly broad topics, but within this milestone has been the
physical improvement of our property (see the Dining Hall article
below), providing tools and workshops to the local church here in
Ecuador, improving the planning and intentionality that goes into
creating our retreats, and gathering/making resources to create a website
in Spanish that provides videos, articles, and a variety of tools for camps or
ministries around Latin America to use in their ministry settings. God has been
gracious to us as a ministry and our desire is to be good stewards with what He has entrusted us. We used
this theme with our Adventure Camps this summer, focusing more on the imagery of the mountain and
the backpackers that you see pictured here. If we think of our lives in terms of climbing mountains with
Christ as our guide, we recognize that there are peaks and valleys, times of rest, and times where were
pushed to the edge. But regardless of where we are, Christ is guiding us and has blessed us with the life
were living. So the desire we have as a ministry is to fully take advantage of the life He has given us and
make the biggest impact we can with the tools we have at our disposal. That is Ascenso.
This past weekend we traveled down to the jungle. We spent
Young Life Ecuador
time connecting with two different ministries: one located in Ro
Negro, the other in Shell. The ministry in Shell is the first Young
Life chapter in Ecuador. In a newsletter we wrote about a year
ago we highlighted the director, Ivan, and how Young Life,
Ecuador came to be. Since then, Ivan has gotten married and
Young Life in Ecuador has been growing like crazy. From one
club meeting in Shell, there is now another chapter located in the
neighboring town, one in a town called Cuenca (several hours
away), and two located in Quito. With five different groups,
Ivans role has shifted quite a bit from being at the weekly club to
now traveling all around Ecuador to care for and oversee these
different groups that have started. We love partnering with Ivan
and Young Life, because they, too, value the outdoors and
adventure and use camps to connect with youth. They have used El Refugio as a go-to location for their Young
Life camps over the past several years. Another exciting connection we made while visiting with Ivan and his
wife, Rachel, was the 3-month internship that we offer to native Spanish speakers. He has a number of leaders
that would strongly benefit from a time away from their daily lives to be invested in, discipled, and given new/
different responsibilities. This internship we offer at El Refugio seems like it will be a perfect next step for
them to offer to these young adults. Please pray for Ivan, Rachel, and the ministry of Young Life here in
Ecuador and for us as we partner with them, support them, and seek to be a resource and encouragement.

T he

Din ing

H a l l

P ro j e c t

The picture to the left


shows the constr uction
zone that greets you as you
come up the driveway to El
Refugio. Just weeks ago
there was an outdoor
covered eating space in its
place and the building on
the left had a roof. If you
havent been receiving the
e-mails weve been sending
out, we are in the midst of the biggest building project El Refugio has
taken on in 10 years. Though the idea of eating outside sounds nice, the
reality is that were located in the mountains at 10,000 ft and the
evenings can get very cold up here. There are several months of the year
where things get very dry, dusty, and windy. That wind whips the dust
around and when eating outside, these conditions can kind of spoil the
dining experience. The outdoor space served us well for many years, but
in the history of this ministry, we knew it was time to create a new
dining hall not only for the eating experience, but to create a
comfortable gathering space in the evenings as well. When campfire
time is over, most of our guests just head back to their rooms. The
second floor/loft area as well as the main eating space will provide a
warm environment for people to gather, talk, play board games, and
visit. We anticipate a lot of meaningful conversations will take place in
this new building and were excited to see how it furthers our ministry.
Our hope is that the building will be completed by January 2016.

W h at s

N e w

W i th

O u r

Prayer Requests
For the Ascenso Campaign:
That we would see deep impact
and long-term fruit from the
initiatives we have started
For Young Life, Ecuador:
That many youth would be
drawn closer to Christ through
their club experiences and for
wisdom for all the leadership as
the ministry continues to grow
For the Dining Hall Project:
That the last of the funding
needed would come in quickly
and that we would be able to stay
within our deadline of having the
projected completed by Jan
2016also for all of the future
ministr y and life-changing
conversations that will happen
inside of the walls of this new
space.
Fo r o u r f a m i l y : T h a t we
would continue to find life-giving
rhythms in our daily lives at
home and as we serve together.
For Kaia and Espen: That
they would grow in their
understanding of who God is and
who they are in Christ. Also that
they would continue to develop
their ability to show love and
kindness toward one another.

F a m i l y

A lot can happen in a few months in the lives of little onesheres a quick update on what Kaia and Espen have
been up toKaia is 3.5 now and started school in September! We made the decision to send her to a preschool run
by a couple at our church. It is a 15 minute drive from our house and Kaia has been truly
loving it! It is a half-day program in the mornings, five days a weekall in Spanish. Her
teacher says she interacts with the other kids well and is so eager to learn. Usually when
she gets home she cant wait to tear open her workbook to see what her homework is for
the day. She almost always asks to complete whatever cutting or painting activity she has
before she eats lunch. Espen is 18 months old and finally decided to start walking about a
month ago. He was very mobile before so it hasnt been too difficult of a transition for us,
except now his clothes stay clean a little longer. Its fun to watch him follow his big sister
all around the house and now that Kaia is in school I have been able to enjoy a little more
1 on 1 time with him. He enjoys pulling apart puzzles, pushing his teddy bear around the
house in a toy stroller, and playing with all of Kaias toys while shes away at school.
To follow us or give online visit: www.olsensinecuador.com .

jimandsuzyolsen@hotmail.com .

Call us for FREE in Ecuador at 607.256.6894

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