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Merry CHRISTMAS!

D O R December 2013

from the Olsen family


! What a year it has been! By the time you read this, we will have lived in Ecuador for a full year. When I think of how to sum up all that has happened over the course of this year, I would simply say weve been learning: taking part, observing, supporting, and at times leading and jumping in fully! ! Stepping back, I see our involvement in things here on 5 basic levels: Youth World, El Refugio group and ministry involvement, El Refugio general work, church involvement, and community involvement. Ill try to sum all of that up. We lead worship on a regular basis at Youth World gatherings as well as in our local Ecuadorian church. We plan for and host groups year-round: both from the US and (primarily) Ecuador. Jim designs, promotes, prints, and creates communication tools to build awareness of what we do and offer through El Refugio. Suzy plans, preps for, and coordinates all the processes for new team members to serve here in Ecuador. We spend time intentionally being a part of our community (Calacal) to build connections, relationships (and God permitting) transformed lives. All of that... and we try to soak up every moment we can with our little girl, Kaia!

Happenings in the Olsen Home


The start of the Christmas season has been so fun for us this year! Kaia is almost two and is old enough to enjoy the twinkling lights around the house, the Christmas music playing on the computer, and the joy of experiencing traditions of the season. As a child, Suzys family always did Advent Shoes (every Saturday night of Advent they put their shoes out by the replace and on Sunday they found little gifts wrapped inside). We dont have a replace, but we set Kaias shoes out under the Christmas tree for the rst time and on Sunday morning she was so excited to open the little wrapped package found inside. We look forward to establishing other traditions and sharing with her the signicance of the season as she continues to grow. Already she is walking around the house with her cloth nativity set, showing us and repeating the words Baby Jesus while taking him in and out of a cloth manger. 2013 has been a year full of many blessings and challenges for us. We are so thankful to have family and friends supporting us from afar. Heres our year in a nutshell: January: Found our new home February: Kaia turned 1 year old March: Suzy turned 28 April: 1st family beach trip" May: Kaias 1st trip to the jungle June: Kaia started walking & got home internet"" " July: We hosted several mission teams August: Jims parents and younger sister visited us Sept: We found out were expecting! October : Jim turned 29 and Suzys mom visited us November: Our 1st Thanksgiving in Ecuador and"we learned were having a boy! December : Several Christmas parties & Jims sister & husband visit

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S t e w a r t s A d v e n t u r e C a mp E x p er i e n c e
A great deal of the work that Suzy and I do is at an outdoor retreat center here in Calacal, Ecuador which is called Hacienda El Refugio. Its not really like a traditional camp in the US, though there certainly are some similarities. One major difference is that most of our retreats are customized to the needs of Ecuadorian groups and on average last a couple of days, over a weekend, or occur a few afternoons throughout the week. The one exception to this is that each August we do hold what we call Adventure Camp which is a weeklong traditional overnight camp experience aimed at Ecuadorian youth from 12 - 16 years old.

P r a y e r R e q u e s t s
Pray for Stewart and all of the others who have come to accept Christ as their Savior this year. Please pray for Suzy and our little boy; for safety and good health throughout the pregnancy and delivery. Pray for Kaia as she becomes a big sister Pray for our family; that we would continue to grow in love and service to others throughout 2014 Pray for growth in the church we attend in Calacal; that it would be a key to reaching people in our town.

Stewart (on the left) sharing with other campers during Adventure Camp

This past August we learned that Stewart, a boy from Spain, was coming to visit his relatives here in Calacal. We have become good friends with the family he was coming to visit through time spent around town and through church connections. We were walking with Stewarts uncle one day in a park in the center of town and he asked us to pray for Stewart and his mother. The small church we attend in Calacal had raised funds to provide scholarships for youth to attend the Adventure Camp at El Refugio. Enough funds were available that Stewart was going to be able to attend. His uncle informed me that Stewart and his parents were not believers and that he and the rest of his family had been praying for them for years. He knew what a great opportunity this was for Stewart to go to camp. The week of Adventure Camp came and it was a huge blessing for all of us at El Refugio. Although the highlight was the fact that after a session one night Stewart made the decision to give his life to Christ. That Sunday he came to our church and stood in front of the congregation thanking everyone for enabling him to go to Adventure Camp. He explained amidst all of the crazy, fun stuff that he experienced throughout the week, the greatest part was coming to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
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