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jim | suzy | kaia | espen

Involvement in our local

church has marked 2015
for us. Our little church
of 40 people has had a
long and at times painful
history. They have lacked
vision and leadership for
many years now and after
we returned from
furlough, it was clear that
necessar y or we would
soon be facing some very difficult times. Being that elections
had been held recently to name leaders, I decided a logical step
would be to get all of them in the same room and start meeting
regularly. Acting as a facilitator for the group, it quickly became
clear to everyone that there was a whole lot to talk about that
hadn't been discussed for years. As time passed, I was elected as
Vice President, weve continued to meet as a leadership team,
and recently we've begun a vision process at El Refugio led by
Paul, our director. Ive begun meeting with the youth that help
lead worship to provide some teaching and direction, we
organized a church work day, and on December 5th were
inviting all of the church over to our house for a time of
fellowship. Weve been encouraged to see investment in the
church slowly starting to grow and are very excited to see all
that God does through this church vision process at El Refugio.
P l e a s e ke e p o u r
church in your
prayers that we
would see unity and
continued growth
as we invest in the
congregation. And
pray that wed look
outward & spread
Christs love to our

The Local Church

Year In Review
Januar y - We returned home after
spending 3 months traveling in the US
and settled back in as best we could
while living in a construction zone and
applying for our residency visa.
February - Kaias Golden Birthday: she
turned 3 on February 3rd!
March - Suzy turned 30 and we planned
an outdoor Easter service at El Refugio.
April - We put on our first annual mud
race, Todo Lodo, at El Refugio and
Espen turned 1!
May - Our residency visa applications
were approved and they finished
construction on our house!
June - We visited the US for Jims
sisters wedding and also got our car
back after a year of not having it!
July - We hosted short-term teams at El
Refugio & celebrated July 4 th with a
BBQ & outdoor movie night in our yard.
August - Spent an awesome 10 days
with a mission team from our church in
Fargo, ND and Kaia started pre-school!
September - Visited Oyacachi in the
aftermath of a landslide, Espen started
walking, and we broke ground on the
new El Refugio Dining Hall project.
October - Visited ministry sites in Ro
Negro and Shell and put on a fall
festival for missionary kids.
November - Jim joined our church in
attending a vision and mission planning
workshop and Suzys mom and brother
visited for Thanksgiving!

Its an interesting thing living out of a suitcase for three

months neither fully living life alongside friends and family
that you are visiting nor being a part of what is happening in
Ecuador. When we returned from our first home ministry assignment (HMA) in January we were able to process
what it was like to live in that in-between. After awhile we found our rhythm again. We were excited to be back in
our home, but also experienced afresh the sacrifice of living so far away from loved ones in the US. As we plugged
back in to ministry and life, God has continued to show His goodness and faithfulness to us. 2015 has come with
blessings and also many challenges for us. Through it we have learned a lot about patience, waiting, and Gods
timing in new ways that we havent before. We are grateful for the life He has called us to in Ecuador and pray that
you would personally experience His tremendous peace and love this Christmas season! Heres a brief tidbit on
whats been happening with each of us

O l s e n F a m i l y h a p p e n ing s

Kaia turned three and it has been so fun to watch her grow in her curiosity and independence
over these months. She started attending an all-Spanish preschool in August and she has done
so well there. Shes made a few good friends that her teacher says are inseparable from her and
she is always very eager to complete her painting or coloring assignments each day. Her
favorite things lately are anything Frozen, Monday night movie nights, watching Saturday
morning cartoons with Daddy, and singing and dancing around the house (both in English and
Spanish thanks to her time at school).
Espen is our goofy little minion. He is a little boy of many extremes and gets energized by
spending time outside of the house and with others (just like his Mommy!). After he started
walking in September its been a constant game of cat and mouse trying to find the household
items that he tucks away - it took us two months to find a set of keys that a friend had lost
in the housewe are pretty sure it was Espen being sneaky! His favorite things are pizza with
anything on it, playing and watching shows with Kaia, interacting with animals, and going
down slides. In fact, if he finds any type of material with a slight slope he will sit down and try
to slide down it even if its a concrete slab!
This year we both have worn many different hats: Jim as the Communications Director at El
Refugio, the Vice-President at our church, and serving on the Youth World Executive Team.
Hes also discovered a new love for designing websites (check out, and in addition to two others still in the
works)! Suzy is the Short-Term Teams Coordinator at El Refugio, head chef at the Casa de
los Olsen, and Mother/Wife Extraordinaire at home. Together we lead worship at our church,
mentor English and Spanish speaking young adults, plan events, and act as liaisons to our
ministry partners in the jungle. We are thankful for the opportunities we have to serve
together and on December 22nd we will celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary! We have lived in three different
countries and experienced many adventures and look forward to many more!

Pray for our church in Calacal: for unity among the leadership and
forward growth as we move through the church vision
Prayer Requests
For the Dining Hall Project: Were in the midst of a huge building
project at El Refugio. Our hope is to have the new space useable by the end of January.
For our family: That we would continue to find balance in our daily lives: at home, at El Refugio, in
ministry, 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.
For the ministry of El Refugio: That God would continue to use it (and us) to impact lives deeply
through His creation and the conversations we are provided with as we host and interact with groups.
To follow us or give online visit: . .

Call us for FREE in Ecuador at 607.256.6894