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Jim, Suzy, & Kaia

After spending close to eight months in Costa Rica, we have finally arrived in Ecuador! Though we are incredibly excited to finally be in the country God has called us to, during our time in language school it became very clear to us that we were right where God

ON TO ECUADOR!

Olsen
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December: Our rst month in Ecuador- as well as our rst Christmas abroad!

wanted us. The experiences and opportunities we had in Costa Rica were immense, and God caused a lot of internal growth in us as well as a very measurable ability to now speak spanish well. As we finish this year, we praise the Lord for our time spent in Costa Rica; for the language weve learned, the relationships we formed, the ministries we got involved with, and the lives that were impacted in the name of Christ. We hope you get a glimpse of that through this letter.

Jims FARO Route


One of the most dening things about my time in Costa Rica were the relationships I formed with about eight men who live or work in the community surrounding the language school. The FARO program is designed to push you outside the walls of the school and regularly apply the language and grammar youre learning within the walls of the school. To reinforce what were hearing and learning, we were required to write two reports in spanish on each of our conversations every week. I would meet these men on two occasions each week, and after catching up and visiting I would intentionally discuss a specic topic with them, ranging from food to Costa Rican holidays, to the Catholic Church of Latin America, to the truth of the Gospel. These men became my friends. It was a joy to get an intimate look into their lives, to learn of their experiences with the church, to laugh with them, and to speak

1. That we would get over our colds and lingering sicknesses 2. That God would lead us to the right home by the end of January
Jim with Carlos, one of the men from his weekly FARO route.
words of encouragement, plant seeds, and help soften some of their difcult experiences theyve had with the church. In mid-November I had an opportunity to really apply what I had been learning. I was asked to preach in spanish at the church wed been attending. Two of the men who I talked with regularly attended the church-- one of whom was a very new believer. Though I was a bit nervous, I received great feedback after preaching and God was faithful to provide me with the words needed while stretching me to very tangibly apply what Id been learning.

Please Pray For Us!

3. Continued growth in our ability to speak and converse in spanish

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The kids from Roblealto at the Christmas event.

The

Christmas Season in Costa Rica!


Empleada Christmas Party Local Gift Loc al G i f tGiving Giving

Roblealto R o b l e a l t o

Roblealto is the name of an orphanage ministry here in Costa Rica. They care for kids who dont have parents, in the traditional sense of an orphanage, but they also offer much more. Many healthy, functional families have chosen to have homes on the Roblealto property and rather than bunking in a room lled with other orphans , they live with the families,. There is a school on the grounds, as well as a day program for children who are currently in bad home situations. Kids with disciplinary problems, abuse, or emotional issues will often come and live at Roblealto for periods of time to grow, heal, and be ministered to. We had the pleasure of organizing and being involved with a huge Christmas party for all of the children who are associated with Roblealto. We bought presents for each child, provided games, did face-painting, read the story of Christs birth, and Suzy helped prepare hundreds of Christmas cookies so each child could have a sweet Christmas treat. It was an incredible event to show the love of Christ to these young boys and girls.

One of the volunteer opportunities I (Suzy) was able to participate in during this last trimester was to serve as the Student Coordinator for empleadas. The empleadas are a group of women that work as maids in many of the students homes. Many of them are from Nicaragua and left to escape economic poverty. They truly are a blessing to the families they work for and are able to help students through the many difcult language and cultural transitions. In addition to coordinating a weekly bible study (in Spanish) for the empleadas, I planned the annual empleada appreciation event. This is a special party that the empleadas look forward to every year and it is a unique opportunity for the students to express our gratitude for the important role that they play in our families and how they, too, are an integral part of Gods plan to help us as we study spanish to reach the nations. This years event was a Christmas-themed coffee hour complete with carols, typical American holiday treats, a christmas craft, and a meaningful time of prayer for each of these ladies. Many of the empleadas commented on how much they enjoyed themselves. Although we did not employ an empleada, I was able to get to know many of these women well and I praise God for the new friendships and the lessons Ive learned from them.

During our time in Costa Rica, we attended a small neighborhood church that meets in a community center a few blocks from our house. The congregation warmly received us and we made many new friends at this church; we will truly miss our Costa Rican church family. During our last Sunday we were able to share a few words of thanks with the congregation and they presented us with a few gifts by which to remember them. In addition to this, the church participated in a gift-giving program with a local organization that works in a very poor neighborhood not too far from where we have been living. During our last Sunday two representatives shared information of the signicance that these gifts play in their ministry. This organization was started and is now run solely by Costa Ricans. We were honored to be part of a congregation that values reaching out to others in their own area, even though many of the people that attend our church do not have much money themselves. It was a great reminder that God is already working in the places we go to and that others share our desire to come alongside the local church to encourage and participate in the ministry that God is already leading and directing. The photo above is of the congregation with all of the gifts given to the organization, which were distributed at the Christmas parties in the poor neighborhoods they serve in.

To follow us or give online visit: www.olsensinecuador.com .

jimandsuzyolsen@hotmail.com .

Call us for FREE in Ecuador at 607.256.6894