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photos courtesy of Sara Tysver | visit

December 2014



J i m , S u z y, K a i a & E s p e n

As I write this, Im sitting under a blanket, watching

snow lightly cover the ground in Eau Claire, WI. We
arrived in the US on October 2nd and Eau Claire now
makes the ninth city weve stayed in over the past eight
weeks. It feels appropriate to be in this setting while
writing a Christmas letter, yet very strange at the same
time. It feels Christmasy and wintery, but Im not
writing it in my own home. Home has become more and more of an abstract concept over the
past three years, but when I say home now, I use it in reference to Ecuador.!

!I hope all of you reading this know that we left the US in April of 2012, and after attending

language school in Costa Rica, weve been living in Calacal, Ecuador since December of 2012. In
some ways the fact that weve been living in Ecuador for two years seems surprising. On one
hand, it feels like we just arrived, and on the other hand I cant believe it has only been two
years! We really love the life that were living in Ecuador and feel like God has led us to a place
where our interests, passions, talents, and skills are all being used in a variety of ways. In short,
were loving the work were doing through International Teams at El Refugio.!

!The past year has been filled with quite a variety of things. Work and ministry has kept us busy
with things ranging from hosting Ecuadorian retreat groups, traveling to the jungle and other
towns around the country connecting with ministry partners, creating brochures, taking and
editing photos and videos, building websites, preparing for and hosting short-term teams from
the US, leading worship at our local church and in other various settings, mentoring interns
from the US and Latin America, providing art lessons in the park, coordinating intern schedules,
hosting people in our home oh, and we had a baby!!

!That would certainly be the biggest piece of news in our

family life-- we welcomed our son, Espen Adam Olsen, into

the world at 8:05pm on April 30th, 2014. Hes now over
seven months old and is rolling over, sitting on his own,
beginning to eat solid food, and is constantly jumping and
kicking his legs. Espen is a pretty easy-going guy, is very
social, and is always smiling. Hes not been as textbook of
a sleeper as Kaia was, but its easy to forgive him when he
flashes that infectious smile of his. Hes been a wonderful
addition to our family and is always filling us with joy.!

!Kaia is a very creative little girl. Shell be three on February 3rd and like most other girls under
the age of ten, Kaia has fallen deeply in love with the music from (and anything else related to)
the movie Frozen. She loves to sing her own renditions of songs, twirl around, and is always
excited to wear skirts and tutus. Kaia also loves to read and is currently loving Clifford, The
Berenstain Bears, and Fancy Nancy books.!

!Suzy and I will be celebrating eight years of marriage on the 22nd of this month and are enjoying

being parents in the happy times and difficult times. We love where God has us in this stage
of life and continually give thanks for His provision and goodness to us as a couple and a family.

S um mer

F a m i l y

Gather ing

One really memorable thing that took place this past year was the
opportunity to come back to the US for ten days in July. We met up
with all of Suzys family in Eau Claire. Her brother and his family
came in from Sweden, her other brother (living in Vancouver) also
made the trek, and her mom came up from Florida. The days were
jam-packed with water parks, a Twins/Yankees game in Minneapolis,
camping, and many nights filled with games and laughter. !


P r a y e r
R e q u e s t s
Pray for our famil y a s we
transition back to Ecuador. We
fly back on December 29th.!

! Pr a y f o r w i s d o m a s w e
continue to work to
strengthen relationships with
El Refugios ministry partners
throughout Ecuador and with
our friends and neighbors in

! Pray that we would see and

be a part of growth and
renewed direction in our local
church in Ecuador!

! Pray for favor and a smooth

process as we apply for our

Ecuadorian residency visas
upon our return in January!

It was a joy to see Kaia getting to know her cousins and for
everyone to meet Espen for the first time as well. The ten days were
quite busy and though there were many people all under one roof, it
was a worthwhile, memorable time introducing our children to
places, people, and experiences that are near and dear to our hearts.
We cherish these times when were all together, knowing that they
dont happen very often, nor do we know the exact time when
theyll next occur. Until then, we smile remembering the baseball
game on the 4th of July, sandcastles built in the sand at Whitewater
State Park, and many times playing with cousins at various parks.
And then theres furlough! This has been our first extended chunk
of time back in the states in over two years. Weve basically been
on a three month road trip, originating in New York and ending
in Washington state. It has been a mix of joyous memories,
countless hellos and goodbyes, time with family, connecting with
churches, and many (many) cups of coffee. Weve enjoyed the
time to reflect and share about the past two years in Ecuador.
God has been using the ministr y of El Refugio to impact
individuals and groups of people and were so honored to be a
part of that work He is doing. We wish it would have been
possible to see every one of you reading this letter face to face.
We are so grateful for those we were able to see and are just as
grateful for those we didnt; knowing how you care for us, have
supported us, and continue to pray for us and what were doing in
Ecuador means so much. Thank you! You are all in our thoughts
and prayers. Have a Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!
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Call us for FREE in Ecuador at 607.256.6894