Nils & AndreaÂ Olson came to Japan in January of 1978 andÂ began their life as missionaries, working and preparing for four years in Kurume City under the mentorship of former Bethel Temple missionaries George & Mary Beth Frazier before stepping out and moving to the city of Godâ€™s leading . . . Munakata . . . thirty-four years ago in September 1982.
They celebrated the past 38 years last month on November 13th in a combined â€œretirement-and-passing-the-batonâ€ day of worship, food, fun and fellowship. Passing the baton of pastoral leadership to James & Tracy Xavier has been a work in progress since they arrived in January 2010 after being sent out from the River of Life Fellowship in Kent, WA by Pastors Jack & Joyce Holt. The Xavier’sÂ have proved themselves, studied the language, captured the hearts of the congregants and put roots of intention to remain in Japan until The Day.
Nils & Andrea relate they regret none of the past 38 years. Those years were filled with Godâ€™s Presence, signs, wonders and miracles. They look forward to what God has for them in the months and years ahead as they re-fire and are boosted like a rocket closer to the Second Coming of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Nils & Andrea have included here a link titled â€œRetire and Refireâ€ of their lives from their high school graduation, marriage at Bethel Temple, ordination, arrival in Japan, four years in Kurume and 34 years in Munakata.
Passing The Baton at MBCC by Riz Crescini, professional photographer and member of Munakata Bethel Christian Center, is 6:47-minute slideshow presentation of the entire day of celebration.
One can also view the actual pastoral leadership exchange and passing of the baton here in this 1hour-32-minute video. The baton exchange portion is toward the latter end of the video. It is mainly in Japanese and may sound muffled, but guest speakers Jack Holt, pastor of the River of Life Fellowship in Kent, along with Gary Barnes, BFIâ€™s retired pastor from the Little Chapel in Cordova, Alaska (now residing in Arizona) speak in English with an interpreter. Nils asked his interpreter from 38 years ago, Hidekuni INADOMI, to translate his parting message for the Japanese present.
The following Sunday, November 20th, speaking about the Kingdom of God, BFI representative Jeff Earlywine, who pastors Bible Fellowship in Federal Way, ministered in the morning service at MBCC. As he ministered, the Holy Spirit revealed several needs through His gift of the word of knowledge. Among those called out by this gift was
â¤ a young man who was to be given powerful and influential favor of the Lord.
â¤ a young couple who have been married five years and wanting a child. The wife had been told by a gynecologist when they were married that her fallopian tubes were blocked and that she could not have a baby. The Lord spoke through a prophetic vision to the couple that children were seen at the feet of their feet. The wife revealed the next evening that she had seen a dream two days before holding a baby in her arms. She awoke suddenly thinking she was pregnant and went to see a local gynecologist. Upon examining, the doctor told the wife that one fallopian tube was open enough for passage. â€œThis,â€ she exclaimed, â€œis a miracle.â€
â¤another couple, of whom the wife had been apprehensive for all the years of their marriage about buying a house, had just the day before been talking together about finding a larger house, or even buying property to build a house for their family and business needs, was called out by a word of wisdom to â€œdream bigger dreams.â€ The very next day, they met with Nilsâ€™ calligrapher friend who has been planning to sell his house. He was in the very process of moving from his huge house in Munakata to the city. With their three children, the couple went through the house, which included a huge enough studio for the husband’s business. They decided they would buy the house and called the owner. This young family will be in their house of their â€œdreamsâ€ by next spring.
â¤Pastor Jeff also called the elders-deacons forward and prayed for them. As he was praying a word of knowledge revealed two or three felt very hot hands, at which time sick people were called forward where the elders-deacons prayed for them. Among the healings were extreme leg-back pain and abdominal disorder.
Nils & Andrea are so thankful that BFI sent Jeff & Cheryl to represent them at this very important time of transition as they turn over the work to the Xaviers. The baton has been passed. James & Tracy will now build on the foundation that has been laid. They have grabbed the baton and begun running. Letâ€™s cheer them on to the end!
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith . . . Hebrews 12:1
After taking a break for a few months, and before getting involved in further ministry, the Olsons have decided to remain living in Munakata, Japan to stand by and, if needed, be a support to the Xavier’s as they take over the leadership of MBCC. In the next few months they plan on visiting various churches they have longed to visit but have not been able to because of pastoring responsibilities.
â¤Nils & Andreaâ€™s son and daughter-in-law, Mark & Megumi, along with their son, Lucas have also been a great incentive for them to remain in Japan. Lucas is the first grandchild with whom they will be able to spend ample time being a part of his growing up.
â¤Another beneficial reason for remaining in Japan is the Japanese National Health Insurance Program which pays 70% of all total bills. Upon Nilsâ€™ turning 70 in another year and a half, the insurance program will pay 80%. This kind of insurance coverage would be not be so easily available if they were to return and live in the United States. It is extremely beneficial for coverage of his Type 1 Diabetes.
â¤Nils will continue performing weddings to supplement their income, plus MBCC will continue to pay the Olsonâ€™s monthly rent and give them a small stipend. Nils said he may begin pottery lessonsÂ and wants to begin learning how to barbecue. Andrea, on the other hand, will build relationships with women in their neighborhood, take up quilting and continue her beading and flower arrangement classes. Andrea said, â€œWe will continue to wait on God for His directions into the next phase of ministry. In the meantime, we simply need to rest in our spirit, soul and body. As we pray and wait on God and continue to build relationships within the community and encourage Jim and Tracy, we have an excitement for the future. There is still so much to do in Japan in reaching the Japanese for the Lord.â€
Bethel Fellowship Internationalâ€™s spiritual and financial support of Nils & Andrea and their family over the past 38 years has been tremendous. They would like to thank,Â Â
â¤Bible Fellowship, Federal Way,
â¤Bethel Chapel, Mountlake Terrace,
â¤Bethel Family Fellowship,Â Bonney Lake and the
â¤Little Chapel in Cordova, Alaska
â¤AND the many friends of BFI
. . . for standing by their missionaries all these years, and ask that they would continue that support in the next phase of ministry for Nils & Andrea Olson.