I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jerry and Deanna Olson through friendship with their daughters, Danae and Aubrey, and in 2010 I spent two months serving with them in Bolivia. Despite changes in their mission field, the types of ministry on the field, and their daughters growing up and going to college, the Olsons have been faithful to their calling in missions and continue to serve the Lord with joy. The Olsons are missionaries in transition; they have left the mission field of Bolivia and are soon to serve in Puerto Rico. I asked them a few questions about this transition time, and this is what they had to say.
Transition times can be quite difficult as change is involved. You leave one place and for some time don’t know where the next place will be. In a real sense you are grieving because you have said goodbye to a place and people that were home, community, ministry and family to you for 16 years. It was very hard to reduce that many years of material goods to just 8 suitcases upon leaving. That process helps you prioritize the things that are worth keeping. Then, when you get here you ask yourself, “Why did I keep this?” It has been great to spend time with our families this past year. We realized recently that we had not spent Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas with both my parents (DeAnna’s) for 20 years. Those times are special. A church here in Grand Haven (MI) Fellowship Bible has allowed us to stay in their “parsonage” house and has been so gracious and kind to us while on home assignment. Jerry and I have had opportunities to teach English to both migrant workers and international students in an adult education program this past year. We will be attending some missions conferences this winter season here in Michigan.We lived in Bolivia for 16 years. What a beautiful country and people, so diverse in culture and topography. We had the pleasure of varied ministry oppportunities from leadership development, church planting and strengthening to discipleship, teaching Christian education and English, youth and adult mentoring. What an honor to have been able to be in Bolivia and to have shared our lives with such precious people.Next stop will be Puerto Rico. We have been reassigned and Jerry has been given a short-term assignment of Camp Director of a Christian camp, “Camp Caribe.” His role will include development, marketing strategies, and incorporation of Puerto Rican leadership into the camp ministry. DeAnna will look for opportunities to teach English and be a team player in the camp ministry. Lord willing, Jerry will go to Puerto Rico the end of March after mission conferences and DeAnna will go in April.
Please pray for the Olson family as they continue to serve the Lord in this transition time. Praise be to God that though everything on this earth may change, He is the constant and unchanging One. I know that I have learned a lot from the Olsons, and I hope their example of faith amidst transition is an encouragement to you, too!