The Olsens left the US in April of 2012. After spending 8 months in Costa Rica learning and improving their Spanish, they arrived in Ecuador in December of 2012. The Olsens are missionaries with One Collective and serve with one of their teams based in Quito, Ecuador called Youth World. The Youth World team has a number of different ministries and the Olsens serve at Hacienda El Refugio, a training and retreat center about a 40 minute drive north of Quito in the town of Calacalí. Below are some short bios about each member of the family.

Jim was born in Wisconsin and moved to Huntington Station, New York on Long Island at the age of 5. He lived there until 9th grade. In 1999 his family moved to the small town of Fergus Falls in Minnesota. After completing high school, Jim stayed in MN for college, attending Concordia College in Moorhead. It was there he and Suzy first met. Being the son of a Pastor, Jim's family moved around quite a bit, resulting in the blessing of being able to call many places "home."

Jim was blessed to accept Christ as his Savior from a very young age. From his youth he has had a passion for art, culture, and people. He remembers that his passion for missions was cultivated early on as a child when his mother would share stories with the Sunday School children about different missionaries around the world. Throughout his teenage and adult years, Jim's passion for the Lord and international missions has continued to grow, as well as his love for people, discipleship, and the outdoors.

Suzy was born and raised in Fargo, ND and is the youngest of four children. As a child, she loved watching the history channel and learning about different cultures and places around the world. She grew up actively attending and participating in a Catholic church with her family. Suzy doesn't remember a specific moment in time when she accepted Christ as her Savior, but her faith has always been deeply important to her. While attending Sunday School as a first grader, she remembers feeling like she had this special treasure stored inside of her that she couldn't wait to share with others.

Throughout her adolescent and teen years, soccer and outdoor adventure played a huge role in her life; much of which can be attributed to her dad, since these were his two greatest passions as well. At age 15, she became actively involved in a youth group at a friends' church where she had her first short term mission experience. Throughout the next three years Suzy's passion for missions and connecting with God through nature and outdoor experiences continued to grow.

We met at Concordia College during our freshman year. Introduced by a mutual friend, we were blessed to have a solid foundation of friendship and began dating in 2005. We spent the next year apart as Suzy was in Ecuador for an eight month internship through International Teams with Youth World (January - July) and Jim spent a semester abroad in Tanzania (July - December).

Six months after being re-united we were engaged and got married on December 22nd of 2006. Throughout our marriage we have both had a strong desire to serve in ministry together and intentionally spent three years while living in Ithaca, NY discerning our gifts, skills, and what type of ministry the Lord would be calling us to as a couple, long-term. We love serving at El Refugio, this ministry that God led us to and the fact that it fits our passions for international missions and outdoor ministry.

Kaia Ruth Olsen was born February 3rd, 2012 at 3:49 am in Elgin, Illinois. When Kaia was 3 months old we moved to Costa Rica to attend language school, so although she is our only child born in the US, she has lived the majority of her life in Latin America. Kaia loves creating art, making up her own songs and dances, and playing with her siblings. Her best friend is 'Lambie,' a stuffed animal lamb that was given to her by a family from our support team. 

Kaia is always up for having books read to her, and recently has gotten quite good at reading books herself and to others. She loves using her imagination and enjoys both creating storylines with her toys indoors or running around outside with friends or on her own. Kaia started attending the Calacalí elementary school in the fall of 2017 and has transitioned beautifully. She's has several close Ecuadorian school friends and excels academically. We're absolutely thrilled that Kaia is growing up here in Ecuador and look forward to the day when her Spanish-speaking abilities pass ours!

On April 30th, 2014 we welcomed Espen Adam Olsen into the world at 8:05pm in Cumbayá, Ecuador. Espen was our first child born in Ecuador and therefore was the first in our family to have dual citizenship! Espen is a boy, through and through. He loves cars, super heroes, Star Wars, and building things. He's often running around the house, crashing into things, and making sound effects along with whatever he's playing. Espen can be quite social and enjoys playing with anyone willing to play with him. He has an inquisitive and adventurous spirit and while he enjoys exploring, he also likes slowing down to simply snuggle or read books. He likes being goofy with anyone that will engage with him in his silliness. He is a joy and you can't help but smile when he laughs or smiles at you. Espen is extremely sweet, cuddly, silly, and fun. He's a very loving older brother who, while always wanting to play with his big sister, is often caught running around playing with his baby sisters. Espen started attending the Calacalí elementary school in the fall of 2019 and has enjoyed making new friends and going to school.

Eloise (Ella) Hope Olsen is our third child. She, too, was born in Cumbayá, on November 30th, 2016. Ella is a spunky, creative little girl who brings a great deal of joy into our home. Ella loves dancing and singing and practicing speaking Spanish around the house. Ella is quite taken with her little sister, Ava, and enjoys playing and giggling with her. The two are practically inseperable and are often confused as twins. Ella also loves her older brother and sister and likes to play with them as often as they'll let her. Whether she's running around outside at El Refugio or pushing her toy stroller around the house, Ella's creativity and energy are always apparent. Ella's favorite song to sing is 'Let It Go' from Frozen, and is currently in a 'Barbie' phase. Ella started attending a Spanish-speaking Ecuadorian pre-school in the fall of 2019 and has enjoyed going to school. Our little red-head is quite the sweetheart.

Ava Maebel was born on January 20th in Quito, Ecuador. She is still only a few months old, but is very smiley and easy-going like our other kids have been as babies. Ava sleeps and eats well for the time being and has been a wonderful addition to our family. We're still learning how to best balance our lives and time between our four children, especially with the two little babies, but we're overjoyed to have such wonderful children and are filled with love for all of them.