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Jim, Suzy, & Kaia

The summer season at El Refugio...

Since the last newsletter we have entered in to one of the busiest times of year at El Refugio. Nine months of the year we offer half, full-day, and overnight retreats to Ecuadorian school, church, and business groups. It is rare to have a weekday or weekend when something is not going on at the property. During the summer months we continue with our full retreat schedule and also host a variety of short-term mission teams from the U.S. and Canada. This is our first summer and admittedly we keep waiting for things to slow down and for us to be able to get back in to our normal routine. Weve quickly come to realize that theres no normal during these months. We have been incredibly busy since May preparing for the five short-term work teams that will serve at El Refugio by the end of the summer as well as the other twelve Youth World short-term mission teams that will spend an afternoon with us in order to process all that theyve experienced during their time in Ecuador. Even though we have had a full family schedule, it has been an incredible privilege to facilitate and engage in the experiences that these short-term mission teams are having here in Ecuador. We have seen God working in the hearts of individuals from Ecuador, Canada, and the U.S. in powerful ways and it will be an honor to see how this transformation will continue to bear fruit in their communities.

Olsen

CC U U A A D D O O R R Ju l y 2 0 1 3

shoeless ( descalzo )
When we arrived at El Refugio in December we joined a conversation the staff had been having for a few months about re-dening the vision and values of the ministry. As a team it has been our desire that we incarnate our values, actively participate in implementing them in our daily lives, and provide others with the tools and space to engage in them as well. Retreat in nature has been an integral part of the ministry at Hacienda El Refugio since it began in 1999. In order to equip ourselves to live out this value we have launched a campaign called shoeless or (in Spanish) descalzo. While there are countless examples in Scripture of the powerful transformation that occurs while spending time in nature with God, shoeless refers to the event when Moses is standing before the burning bush and is commanded to take off his shoes because he is on holy ground (Exodus 3:5). Moses is in the wilderness and he has a holy encounter with God. This is exactly what we hope every participant will experience during their time at El Refugio; whether its a half-day retreat with a school group, a full-day of programming with a church or business, or with a short-term mission team visiting from Canada or the U.S... we believe God can speak

in powerful ways when we take the time to engage with Him. Our passion and purpose as a ministry is to invite individuals to take time to be shoeless with God. We want to create a space in which individuals can retreat to nature and have a personal encounter with their Creator. Some of the ways we are implementing the campaign for our staff include two 20 minute solo times per week, one halfday solo time per month, and one week-long sabbatical per year... built into the work week. Additionally, Jim has been creating guided solo time activities to use with all of the short-term teams and Ecuadorian retreat groups that spend time at El Refugio. Most of us do not have ample experience spending extended solo time with God and we want to provide tools and resources to help individuals engage with God for an extended period of time. Do you want to get shoeless? Contact us to join the campaign!

Prayer Requests
1. In August El Refugio will host a week-long summer camp for youth ages 12-17. Please pray that many youth would attend, their hearts would be moved for Christ, and that each participant would have a personal encounter with God that will bear fruit in their homes and communities. 2. For continued growth and health in the local church that we attend; we are increasingly getting more involved by leading worship and desire to deepen relationships within the congregation and surrounding community.

3. For strength and fruit as we take part in hosting three more short-term work teams this summer.

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I think the month of April can be summed up in one word: community. Jim and I both really value community (especially within the body of Christ) and after moving to a new place it can take awhile to really achieve the depth of community that we crave.

MAY

JUNE

To say we hit the ground running after the Quito Quest training ended would be an under-statement. A few days after we returned home, we led worship at our church in Calacal for the rst time. After attending the church for six months we were asked to get involved with the worship ministry because the current worship leader would So, we decided to actively pursue a sense of need to step down. We have agreed to lead community throughout April and hosted worship 1-2 times per month and have been several pizza and movie nights at our house with the El Refugio staff and interns. We also In May we said goodbye to the Alturas blessed and encouraged by this opportunity to invited different neighbors and team members interns. Alturas is a 10 week service-oriented share our gifts in this way. over for dinner and visited the other Youth internship for young adults throughout Latin El Refugio also has four interns from the World ministries in order to personally America that are interested in nding out U.S. this summer and Suzy has been in charge connect at a deeper level. more about service and ministry within a of scheduling for all of them and Jim has been camp setting while also investigating what meeting weekly with one of the guys for a Towards the end of the month we had the God may be calling them to in the future. We time of formal discipleship. The interns are opportunity to join Paul and Beth at the beach had interns from Ecuador, Uruguay, growing a lot and have been a huge help with with their family and one of their pastors from Colombia, Honduras, and Peru in this group the short-term work teams. their church in Pennsylvania. Sharing that Although not directly involved in the program family time was really special for us and it formally, we really enjoyed getting to know Jim completed the new El Refugio was such a joy to watch all of our kids playing these young men and women and all that God promotional video just before one of our together in the sand. We also had friends from was teaching them during their internship. To biggest work teams (51 people) returned to the language school visit us for a weekend and we say goodbye we hosted a party for them and U.S. The team is from a church in Geneva, IL are glad to announce that they are now joining the El Refugio team at our house. Everyone and is one of El Refugios longest partners. We the El Refugio team! John is going to be the cooked and brought a typical food from their put on a VBS and 168 local kids attended! It is Director of Ministry Programs. He, his wife home country to share. It was a delicious and a healthy partnership and we thoroughly Emily, and daughter Samantha will be moving meaningful way to wrap up their time here enjoyed spending time with this team.... Kaia to Calacal in August; a great addition to the and we ended with a time of prayer and started walking this month, too! local community efforts we hope to continue. sharing. At the end of the month we were invited to participate in Quito Quest training. Quito Quest is the branch of Youth World that hosts short-term mission teams throughout the year. Jim and I coordinate all of the teams that come to El Refugio, so it made sense for us to join the training. It was run like a 10 day mission experience and Kaia was a champ through it all. We stayed in hostels, traveled to the jungle, and most importantly saw rst-hand Jim also spent much of this month creating t- how God is working through incredible shirt designs, developing future logo Ecuadorian leaders who have a heart to be packages, and editing a new El Refugio used by Him to reach their fellow brothers promotional video. and sisters.
To follow us or give online visit: www.olsensinecuador.com . jimandsuzyolsen@hotmail.com .

We have also continued our involvement with the Quito Quest staff. We hosted a debrief lunch for them after their rst round of teams returned to the U.S. and led worship twice a day during their ve day mid-summer retreat.

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