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 she has lived the majority of her life in Latin America. Kaia loves to play, make up her own songs and dances, and her best friend is 'Lambie,' a s stuffed animal lamb that was given to her by a family from our support team. Kaia can be a bit shy at first, but once she feels comfortable she is quite outgoing and will often break out into song.

Kaia is always up for reading books and is currently enjoying the Fancy Nancy series, Winnie the Pooh, Berenstain Bears, and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Kaia 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 a spanish-speaking Ecuadorian pre-school in the fall of 2015 and has transitioned beautifully. She's always excited to do her homework as soon as she gets home! 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 is our first child born in Ecuador and therefore the first in our family to have dual citizenship! Espen is a boy, through and through. He loves trucks, tractors, and any other big vehicles. He loves running around the house, crashing into things, and wrestling. Currently his favorite show is 'Octonauts,' which he lovingly refers to as 'Octs!' Espen is very social and usually very generous with his smiles. He has an inquisitive and adventurous personality and in addition to enjoying exploring, he likes meeting new people and exploring his surroundings. He has a love for animals and 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 our child of the extremes. He's extremely sweet, cuddly, silly, and fun-- or extremely upset, stubborn, and explosive. In spite of his flaws, he's a very loving brother who always wants to play with his big sister, and can even be caught giving his baby sister a kiss on the cheek from time to time.

Eloise (Ella) Hope Olsen is our third child. She, too, was born in Cumbayá on November 30th, 2016. Ella is less than a year old but brings joy into our home with her big, open-mouth smiles and sweet, relaxed personality. We're still learning how to best balance our lives and time between our three little ones, but we're overjoyed to have such wonderful children and are filled with love for all of them.