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Ghana: Round Three

6 Jun

For all of 2016, I’ve gone back and forth on the decision to go to Ghana during our year in Mexico. But through many conversations with mentors and family at home and here in Mexico, I feel confident in my decision to go to Ghana!  I’ve made a commitment to ministry, missions and relationships. 

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Every year before I head to Ghana I usually post about my heart and my goals. This year looks so much different for me. I’ve thought about Ghana constantly but I was always quick to remind myself to focus on the here and now in Mexico City. For example, I packed for this trip to Ghana in December 2016 before I left for Mexico so I wouldn’t have to worry about it when I got home in June.  Honestly, I am nervous about the culture shock I will experience (even though I’ve been to Ghana several times…) because it will be a quick transition from from Mexican culture – home – Ghanaian culture – home – Mexican culture. But God is in control. I set my necklace below to Ghana and Mexico time zones so I can be praying for both countries!

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As our trip to Ghana gets closer and closer our team is doing a lot to prepare:
-collecting supplies like washcloths, toothbrushes and clothes
-preparing for school and church visits and VBS
-packing suitcases!
-eating a traditional African meal with Fidelis
-so many little details!

Since I can’t be with the team I am preparing by:
-taking ASL classes through italki.com with a teacher, Danielle 
-preparing my talk… I am speaking about the dangers of social media & sex trafficking to young women
-flying to Houston to get my visa

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I have been reflecting on a few questions all year:
why did i want to return? especially while being in Mexico?
why did i save my money? collect items throughout the year?
why is this important to me?
why has Ghana constantly been on my mind these last 4 years?
what is my goal while there?

 My goals:

  • communicate well in sign language with my deaf friends and students
  • reconnect with old friends and make new friends
  • trust God in every moment
  • be mindful of every moment, even if we are sitting and waiting…
  • instead of waiting for golden opportunities, find the gold in the opportunities at hand
  • speak clearly to the young girls
  • Safe and speedy travel
  • God is evident in all our interactions and conversations
  • God will move in amazing ways. 

To read about our past trips: https://laurenolson.wordpress.com/travels/ghana/

WAYS TO HELP:

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the summary

16 May

I am finally home for a few months from non-stop traveling. My brain and heart are struggling to keep up with me to get back into the swing of work and school… oh and I am so missing Asian time and relaxed routines haha. I want to share a bunch of photos from my trip and the highlights. I am leaving out a lot of detail on purpose to protect friends abroad but I would love to tell you all about it over a mocha.

India: the country I have been dreaming about since I was little. I cried the first day as we rode in the car to the guesthouse where we stayed. India was chaotic and colorful just like I had envisioned. I was beyond excited. We got to explore the neighborhood, get to know the team there and hang out with the locals. My last day in India I got henna on my hands, which is a traditional practice (you can google if you’d like). Although I was non-stop traveling in SE Asia every time I looked at my hands I had a constant gentle reminder to pray about India, the future, God’s beautiful and perfect plan.

Vietnam: wowza – it was beyond beautiful. Lush and green. I’d love to go back!

Cambodia: it had been over three years since I had studied abroad there. Last time I left anger and full of despair. This time I left with hope! A lot has changed and grown as generations are growing up, buildings are finished, body of Christ is growing, children are being protected and loved.

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Thailand: being kissed by an elephant ❤ and Margaret being my tour guide

Colorado: being “home” with my college roommate and her family to sleep off our jetlag and enjoy the luxurious American life

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Minnesota: a constant college reunion helping two of my dearest friends prepare for their wedding and marriage!

California: my graduation from my Master’s in Social work program was a great excuse to visit with Ryan’s family

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see ya later alligator

9 Mar

Early in this morning Ryan and I left home to head abroad to explore a new country for ten days! Our hope is to get to know the people living there, fall in love, and make plans to move there later in the year.

We’d love your prayers so we created specific prayer requests for each day of our trip. Click here to check them out ❤

At dad’s clinic there is information to our other fundraiser “Slam Dunk” or you can click this link to check it out because March Madness is closer than you think

I am an overachiever so we’ve been all packed and ready to go for a few days now. I spent my last day in the US cranking out homework so I don’t have to worry about that on our trip. After our ten day trip, Ryan will be returning home to hold down the fort and work. I will be flying directly to SE Asia to explore with my friend M. We will be visiting friends, seeing all the tourist attractions, and then going home to MN for a wedding of our dear dear dear friends.

We are thankful for these last few months: downsizing, spending time with family, friends & students, our jobs, my school & internship etc.

PS happy birthday Karibeth and Tore – we love you.

and the spamming begins!

24 Feb

I apologize now… 🙂

Ryan and I are going abroad in two weeks to get to know the team and country for 10 days! Lord willing we will be returning later in the year to stay long-term! We just found out a few weeks ago about this “vision trip”. Its been a whirlwind of quick fundraising, buying tickets, packing, telling our bosses, cranking out homework, etc. We are SO excited but we need your prayer!

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Pray for: our flights – our team – our health – wifi for Lauren’s school – discernment. Thank you – yall mean the world to us ❤

We created two quick fundraisers:

One buck prayer card

March madness bracket competition

download

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Some of our support system!


Hints of where we are going….:

32 days

18 Feb

In 32 days I get to go back to SE Asia with my bosom buddy.

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Last time I was in Cambodia was three years ago. It was a roller coaster trip of new culture, fun adventures, devastating experiences, all in all it wrecked my heart. Honestly because of the trip, my heart is numb and guarded. I never processed what I saw, who I hugged, what I heard. I never let tears fall. I never truly reached out to God.

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Anthony Bourdain // Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt. #sotrue

 

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I am excited to go back, but am terrified of what my reaction may be.

If you are bored you can re-read my experiences in Cambodia from three years ago: https://laurenolson.wordpress.com/travels/cambodia/

 

 

Ms. Lanren Ol Son

26 Jan

Right now, Ryan and I are packing and downsizing getting ready to move into a smaller space to knock out our debt. Packing forces walks down memory lane…

 

Four years ago Margaret and I read through the hunger games. Three years ago I spent the month of January in Cambodia and experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. Two years ago I spent time in Guatemala healing my heart. January is such a depressing month: dark and cold. But there are moments of joy like this certificate I found from Life University, Cambodia.

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downsizing

19 Jan

We’ve entered into a crazy season in our marriage. Ryan works 40 hours a week and in his free time, woodworks like crazy to maintain Etsy orders. I am working 40 hours a week, taking five classes and spending 15 hours a week at my internship. This week we are moving into a studio apartment. The end goal is for me to graduate with my MSW this summer, pay off college debt and save money so we can GO!

SO we are saying goodbye to firsts: first car, first home, first dog, first cat…
We’re so excited to see how God is going to use this season in our life! By March we should know where we are going and with what mission organization. We are in a 10 week interview process with two organizations!!
We hope you don’t mind if we spam you with all of our goals. We’re going to try to be unique and creative as we pursue prayer partners as well as raising support.
There’s a lot of unknowns in our life right now, but we’re going to put all of our trust in God because we know that he has a plan for the next couple years.
All of the proceeds from our Etsy shop, garages sales and more will be going directly to being missionaries.
We would love for you to be a part of our journey through prayer!
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