Joel (’05) and Amy (Means, ’04) Olson

This month for Alumni Pin Day we bring you the story of Joel (’05) and Amy (Means, ’04) Olson who are following God’s call on their life.

THE SEEDS OF THE CALL

When Amy and Joel first started dating, one of the things they shared was a desire to do overseas missions, but they felt a distinct call to plant in BC for a while. Until last year.

Amy currently works as a nurse at Surrey Memorial Hospital Pediatric Emergency, having graduated from Trinity Western University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She recently completed her Advanced Practice in Pediatrics from BCIT. “I have one month left in my job before I take a leave of absence to move with my family to Rwanda,” she says. “In Rwanda I will be volunteering at a medical clinic, as well as partnering with a project to help train pediatric nurses in the country.” It was a year ago that they started to see the possibility of working with The Wellspring Foundation. They took a two-week trip last August with a team from their church to scout it out. In the fall, they began the process of discussing their role with Wellspring, and by December had been accepted to work with them for two years.

Amy explains just how her education at TWU shaped the way she does her job: “From the beginning, I was taught how to incorporate my faith into medicine,” she says. “Science can sometimes seem so separate from faith, but TWU helps you bring the two together.”

THE ALUMNI WAY: FOLLOW CHRIST

This choice has done several things to the Olson family, “the biggest of which is it has pulled us out of our comfort zone and grown our faith,” Amy says. “Living in BC, you start to get a bit ‘comfortable’ with your life:  we have reliable jobs, we bought a house, we have a minivan, our kids are in a great school, we have a great church community and friends. We are living the typical suburban ‘comfortable’ lifestyle.”

Deciding to move to Rwanda has changed all that. The Olsons are going as fully supported missionaries and therefore have to raise their own salary. They are changing continents, moving to a new house in Rwanda, selling their vehicles, purging and selling a lot of their personal belongings and packing up the rest. “These decisions have stretched us to practice our faith and belief in God in new ways,” Amy says. “We have to rely on Him and trust Him for our daily needs and provisions.

The move has also opened the door for them to model for their children what it means to follow Jesus. “Because of their emotions and the impact this move has on them, we have been reading Scripture with them, pray with them, and teach them about trusting God and following His will.  There is no greater way to teach your child about following Jesus than to actually follow Jesus.”

“STAN”

This is something they get to model for more than their children. Amy tells the story: “We have a nonbeliever friend whom we will call Stan. When we first met Stan, he called himself an atheist. We had him over for dinner a few months ago to talk about our work in Rwanda, and we asked him where he was at with his belief in God (we had done a Bible study of sorts with him a few years back and knew he was searching.) Stan said he was at the point where he wasn’t sure if he believed in God or Jesus. He shared that he saw a lot of Christians who were not living any differently than anyone else, who got caught up in materialism and owning bigger and better things, and the like. Stan has read the words of Jesus, and he told us that what we are doing is what Jesus taught people to do and he wants to be a part of that. We feel humbled that God is using our lives to show our friend Stan what a Christian life us supposed to look like. For this reason, I believe we are truly living like Jesus taught us to live.”

Amy and Joel have been married for 11 years. They have three children: Grace (8), Josiah (6) and Isaac (3). If you’d like more information, sign up for the Olsons’ enewsletter by emailing Amy at amyolson@teachbeyond.org or visit their support page.